This article makes explicit the true, anti-aristocratic, levelling origins of the modern androgynous ideal, a base motivation on the part of its proponents which the readers of this site have always implicitly apprehended.
Aesthetic values do not operate in a vacuum, nor do they arise spontaneously. They being with a world-view; in fact, they are a visible, concrete expression of a world view.
There is limitless irony in the nonsensical claim that the first underweight models were "easier to identify with than the hauteur of the aristocratic and considerably more statuesque fashion icons that preceded them." Not for the general public. Only for the marginal cabal of alien, rootless "progressives" who took over the culture, most notably in the later 1960s--right at the time that the androgynous standard emerged.
These new, anti-traditional elites instituted an unfeminine look for women with which they,
the urban cabal, could relate, with their warped, degenerate tastes, and one which fit in with their political agenda.
But as for the general public, they have always enjoyed similar tastes to those of the aristocracy. The history of Western culture testifies to this. Shakespeare's plays and Mozart's operas were enjoyed by the nobility and the peasantry alike. It is only the alien taste of the rootless, "progressive" elite that is an aberration and appeals to no one but the small cadre of individuals who comprise this narrow class.
It is very telling that the original justification for the anorexic standard was a claim that it was devised to give the public something to "identify with," but then, as the alien elite consolidated power over the media, the justification for this emaciated standard morphed seamlessly into entirely the opposite rationale, becoming vaunted as a supposedly "aspirational" ideal. This doublethink-like move reveals an eternal truth about self-styled revolutionaries and throne-topplers: they never actually wanted to represent the people. They just wanted to be the new power-brokers, displacing the old.
But what's worse than the crass nature of this cultural power grab is the fact that, as noted above, at least the tastes of the former aristocracy matched those of the public. Aristocratic tastes actually were
relatable to the general populace. Both the common people and the aristocracy were united in their appreciation of the timeless ideal of full-figured beauty. Only the rootless urban elites resented it, given their innate resentment of all beauty; and the aesthetic that they imposed, in all of its self-conscious, unfeminine ugliness, appeals to no one but themselves.
Spengler famously calls the nobility a "higher peasantry," pointing out that both are "plant-like and instinctive, deep-rooted in the ancestral land, propagating themselves in the family tree, breeding and bred." In contrast to this, the rootless, "progressive" clique, which he dubs the "city," is alien to everyone but itself:
By way of protest against the ancient symbols of the soil-bound life, the city opposes to the aristocracy of birth the notion of an aristocracy of money and an aristocracy of intellect—the one not very explicit as a claim, but all the more effective as a fact; the other a truth, but nothing more than that and, as a spectacle for the eye, not very convincing. (The Decline of the West, Vol. II)
How telling that Spengler should specifically cite the failure of the "spectacle for the eye" that the city elite produce, for that is exactly what fashion is. By their very own, alienated nature, the modern arbiters of taste are incapable to creating a cultural standard that appeals to anyone except themselves, one which they only keep in place by a cultural hegemony, a monopoly on visual production. And given that this toxic, anorexic standard inflicts eating disorders and negatively impacts the lives of the majority of women, it needs to be dispensed with, and a more natural, harmonious vision put in its place.
To restore the timeless ideal of plus-size beauty, one would ideally first restore the aristocracy itself, but, failing that, one must at the very least restore an appreciation for the very idea of nobility, for aristocratic values and everything they represented: opulence, abundance, and natural, essential human identity.
Lillian Russell as "The Grand Duchess" (1896), exhibiting a soft, sensual fleshiness that all classes, high and low, could relate to, and admire.
- Lillian Russell Galleries