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Old 1st December 2005   #3
Join Date: July 2005
Posts: 1,784
Default Re: "A desire for the comfort of fullness"

Originally Posted by MelanieW
Why not produce magazines that celebrate "wantonness, lustfulness, sex, food, motherhood" - which are, as the film says, "All that is best in life"?

A magazine that celebrated precisely those aspects of life already existed, not so long ago, and it was called Mode. It made no concessions to the "aesthetics of guilt" that dominate modern society, but instead revelled in the voluptuous beauty of La dolce vita ("the sweet life"), featuring regular columns with titles such as, "The Pleasure Zone."

Mode was encouraging its readers to adore their "delicious curves," and to "live life deliciously," long before these terms became the slogans of a contemporary ad campaign.

And the current obsession with self-inflicted physical torture contradicts all timeless notions of femininity. It is no accident that in many historical depictions of Venus, the goddess of beauty, she is presented reclining on a sofa, lounging, languishing most sensually, attended by votaries eager to serve her every whim. Her languor is an essential aspect of her beauty.

In an 1894 literary essay titled "A Defence of Cosmetics" (which is, at least on one level, precisely what the title suggests), the English fin-de-siècle author Max Beerbohm writes:

[Women] are butterflies who must not flit, if they love their bloom. Now, setting aside the point of view of passion, from which very many obvious things might be said, (and probably have been by the minor poets,) it is, from an intellectual point of view, quite necessary that women should repose. Hers is the resupine sex. On her couch she is a goddess . . .

The world in which we live moves faster and faster, and imposes pressures on women of every sort--a fact that is only compounded by the efforts of the mass media to coerce women into willingly subjecting themselves to the physical ordeal of pointless exercise regimens.

That makes the traditional association of feminine beauty with relaxation and sensual indolence a blessed relief, and a refreshing escape from the unrelieved tensions of contemporary life.

Jordan (size 14/16, Wilhelmina) in full Odalisque mode, modelling for Evans UK, Fall/Winter 2005:

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