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Old 7th January 2011   #1
Emily
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Default Heritage vs. the rootless media

One of the more interesting threads that appeared on the forum late last year was this discussion about the conflict between the rootless, alien media and traditional culture. The post noted how the media pushes a utilitarian, androgynous, skinny image of "modern" women that is antithetical to the fleshy, feminine ideal that abounds in the heritage of so many of the world's cultures -- especially Western civilization, although this is often denied.

I recently came across a pair of articles that include the Arabian cultures in this conflict, describing how the nations of the Near East have a historic preference for plus-size beauty which is being undermined by Hollywoodism:

http://www.gulfweeklyworldwide.com/...1&Article=23816

The pertinent text:

Quote:
Television is literally shaping the way women in Bahrain think they should look, according to new research, writes Basma Mohammed.

It is changing their perception of beauty, with most now thinking 'skinny' is best, as opposed to the traditional Arab taste for a fuller figure, according to the Bahrain Centre for Studies and Research (BCSR).

Eighty-seven per cent of women surveyed in Bahrain said they trimmed down to match the Hollywood image of beauty portrayed on television. Sixty-seven per cent said they were also influenced by women's magazines and 59 per cent by the internet.

All these influences are changing the way Bahraini and other Arab women define themselves and beauty, says BCSR studies assistant general-secretary Dr Abdulrahman Musaigar.

'It is the media that is pressuring our women to see beauty as being skinny,' he said.

Five years ago, a similar survey revealed that women thought a fuller figure was beautiful, but they were now swinging away from the traditional perception, said Dr Musaigar.

Another article from an Arabian source draws a similar conclusion:

http://www.thenational.ae/news/uae-...rise-in-dieting

The facts:

Quote:
Not so long ago, there was little pressure on Emirati women to be thin; indeed, a fuller figure was seen in a wholly positive light. That, however, is changing rapidly, according to a study that found most young UAE women were dieting and as many as a third were underweight. And women put the blame squarely on the shoulders of skinny celebrities such as Victoria Beckham and Heidi Klum.

The UAE study was carried out by Sarah Trainer [who] said student responses were "very similar to what you hear from American teenagers". The Emirati women said the way the American media featured celebrities such as Beckham and Klum influenced how they perceived their own bodies...

"Their girlfriends and men like them to be slim," Ms Trainer said. "All of them blame this on the Western media."

There it is again -- the reference to the "Western media." As last year's forum post indicated, this emaciated standard is the opposite of traditional Western ideals of beauty, which are full-figured. Hollywood and Madison Avenue may geographically be located in "the West" (i.e., in America), but their artificial, underweight standards are actually anti-Western.

Yet the myth that skinniness is "Western" persists. I note a passage in this article about an Indian designer:

http://www.dailypioneer.com/299710/...ool-happen.html

He observes:

Quote:
Indian women can carry themselves off better if they understand what kind of silhouettes go with their body type. The Caucasian look doesn’t sit easily on them because their bone structure and genetics do not permit it. Just look at our temple sculpture or murals at Ajanta-Ellora, they all depict beautifully curvaceous women, who are comfortable with their bodies and yet are immaculately turned out, down to the coiffure and jewellery around their waists.

It's wonderful to find him positively referencing historical Indian artworks as celebrating full-figured beauty; however, that comment also indicates how wrong he is to call media-mandated skinniness a "Caucasian look." It is nothing of the sort!

A "Caucasian look" is Lillian Russell, or Rubens's wife Helen Fourment, or any goddess depicted in Classical or Renaissance or Baroque art. A "Caucasian look" is traditionally full-figured. A "Caucasian look" is historically plus-size. Whatever ethnicity the media's narrow, elongated, underweight standard reflects, it is certainly not a "Caucasian look."

It's wonderful that these world cultures can look back on their own heritage of celebrating full-figured beauty and favourably contrast it with the modern-media standards that they rightly deplore. I only wish that we in the West could do likewise. If more European-Americans learned what Classical or Nordic or Celtic beauty traditionally looked like (i.e., full-figured), we too could unshackle ourselves from the alien aesthetic that the parasitic media has imposed on us.
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Old 10th April 2011   #2
Quinlan
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Default The Real Epidemic Spreads

The epidemic of perverted body ideals:

Quote:
Stigma against "overweight" people is becoming a cultural norm around the world, even in places where larger bodies have traditionally been valued. That's according to a cross-cultural study of attitudes toward ob***** to be published in the April issue of Current Anthropology
Quote:
"Previously, a wide range of ethnographic studies have shown that many human societies preferred larger, plumper bodies," Dr. Brewis said. "Plump bodies represented success, generosity, fertility, wealth, and beauty."
Quote:
The responses across these diverse cultures were largely congruent with Western attitudes, the researchers found. What's more, the highest f** stigma scores were not in the U.S. or the U.K., "but rather Mexico, Paraguay, and -- perhaps most surprisingly -- in American Samoa," the researchers write.

The change in attitudes in American Samoa has happened with remarkable speed, says Dr. Brewis. "When I was doing research in the Samoas in the 1990s, we found people starting to take on thinner body ideals, but they didn't yet have discrediting ideas about large bodies," she said. "But that appears to be changing very quickly."

http://www.sciencedaily.com/release...10328171226.htm

This is just so sad, to hear that these wonderful cultures are being poisoned at a rate even faster than what has occurred in the West (which in itself was a pretty rapid complete reversal in aesthetic ideals).
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Old 14th July 2011   #3
Emily
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Default Re: Heritage vs. the rootless media

In thinking about the clash between the artificial, modern media standard and traditional culture and philosophy, especially as it pertains to other civilizations, the following article at an Indian source is particularly interesting.

http://articles.economictimes.india...uty-cues-curves

It references the mythological Judgment of Paris, where the shepherd Paris spurned two other goddesses to award Venus -- the goddess of beauty and self-indulgence -- the title of "the fairest." There is more significance to the piece, though, than even its reference to "curvaceous cues":

Quote:
Oenone [the mountain nymph who was the first wife of Paris, Helen's lover] admonishes Paris for having spurned knowledge, reverence and control of the self for the beautiful Italian Goddess, "fresh as the foam, new-bathed in wells".

But...if evolutionary biologists are to be believed, humankind arose from ancestors hard-wired to respond to curvaceous cues. These supposedly correlate to enhanced reproductive fitness and survival of the race.

Surveys have showed that both men and women describe beauty as being "original, interesting and pleasant". This matches well with the Indian philosophical precept that equates beauty (sundaram) with truth (satyam) and auspiciousness (shivam). By that token beauty, inner and outer, springs from a 'good' body.

The fact that Indian philosophy equates beauty with truth and goodness presents a fascinating parallel between traditional Indian and traditional Western concepts of beauty. There is Keats's famous line in "Ode on a Grecian Urn," for example:

Quote:
Beauty is truth; truth beauty.

There is also the Platonic and Neoplatonic concept of beauty as passed down from Classical Antiquity, which is well expressed by a quote that accompanies one of the galleries on this site:

Quote:
Outward beauty is a true sign of inner goodness. This loveliness, indeed, is impressed upon the body in varying degrees as a token by which the soul can be recognized for what it is, just as with trees the beauty of the blossom testifies to the goodness of the fruit.” (Castiglione, The Book of the Courtier, 1528.)

It's no wonder than in the present day and age, when beauty has been turned into ugliness, when grotesquely emaciated models and radioactively overtanned actresses with man-jaws are falsely passed off as "beautiful," that the notion of beauty has been so much maligned.

Today, beauty is attacked because people sense that what the media passes off as "beauty" is not actual beauty. The public rejects, not true beauty, but a distortion of beauty. They are actually rejecting ugliness.

When beauty was understood in its true sense, its timeless sense, when women like Kelsey Olson or Katherine Roll or Shannon Marie or Sophie Sheppard would have been acclaimed as embodying ideal beauty (as they would have been in every century prior to the twentieth), then beauty was revered as the very flower of life in traditional cultures around the globe.

Last edited by HSG : 14th July 2011 at 15:31. Reason: URL corrected
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Old 27th July 2011   #4
Kaitlynn
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Default Re: Heritage vs. the rootless media

So many cultures around the world reference their own aesthetic histories and traditions as a preferable alternative to globalized-media infiltration. I recently came across an article about how this is happening in Fiji.

This is particularly significant because studies have shown that in the South Pacific islands, where the people always venerated plus-size beauty throughout their history, women traditionally enjoyed positive body image, until the mass media and fashion magazines began showing up; then, almost overnight, eating disorders began to proliferate.

Anyway, the article in question notes the fierce public outcry against the organizer of a Fiji Fashion Week, who had championed anorexic-looking androgynous models and had slammed fuller-figured women.

http://www.fijitimes.com/story.aspx?id=175057

What makes it significant is how the women who are quoted as being opposed to this modern vogue for emaciation reference their own ethnic heritage and culture to defend the plus-size ideal and to decry the underweight, alien aesthetic:

Quote:
"What is wrong with the Pacific reality of large voluptuous women" said Ms Ali.

"Why do we need to promote an image that is less than 5 per-cent of the population and say that the 95 per-cent does not fit into the dictated image of beauty?

"We can define our own concepts of beauty and this is what we need to inculcate in our young people - that they are beautiful as they are and should not measure themselves by what they see in magazines and now, unfortunately, in local newspapers."

Adelle Khan, a model who participated in Ms Whippy's 2010 FFW show, said she thought organisers of the show would have been taking steps towards celebrating the voluptuous curves Pacific women are known for.

This shows, yet again, how important it is for women in North America to reconnect to their Old World heritage. These Fijian ladies refer to a "Pacific reality" of plus-size beauty, and call for their "own concepts of beauty," and champion "the voluptuous curves Pacific women are known for."

Well, we in the West had all of this too. We had a "European reality" of curvaceous beauty. "Our own" traditional ideals of femininity were full-figured. If people here could overcome their media-imposed cultural amnesia and rediscover their own blood-and-soil roots (whether they be Nordic or Slavonic or Mediterranean, etc., as Emily notes), we would realize that we have a curvy, traditional alternative to artificial media standards that we can call our own.
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Old 3rd October 2011   #5
Meredith
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Default Re: Heritage vs. the rootless media

Quote:
Originally Posted by Emily
It's wonderful that these world cultures can look back on their own heritage of celebrating full-figured beauty and favourably contrast it with the modern-media standards that they rightly deplore. I only wish that we in the West could do likewise. If more European-Americans learned what Classical or Nordic or Celtic beauty traditionally looked like (i.e., full-figured), we too could unshackle ourselves from the alien aesthetic that the parasitic media has imposed on us.

I agree with this completely. In fact, the topic in this thread is one of the most important discussions that have appeared on the forum this year.

I thought of it when I came across an article today about a South African contest for plus-size models.

http://www.iol.co.za/tonight/tv-rad...break-1.1149170

The setup is interesting enough:

Quote:
For the longest time it has been imprinted in our heads that when it comes to fashion, only a certain breed of people can effectively sell clothes with their bodies.

This brings us to the upcoming TV show, Diamond in the Ruff, in association with De Beers, which will look at providing a chance for a career in modelling to the typical “girl next door”.

The show began looking for models in places usually that do not get access to programmes like this at a national level. The main focus of the search is on plus-size models. Yes, you read right, “big” girls are getting a chance to flaunt their outer and inner beauty.

All very nice. The title of the competition, referring to the phrase "diamond in the rough," is very clever, given that sponsor is the De Beers company, famous the world over as a diamond marque. (De Beers was, of course, founded by that bold adventurer Cecil Rhodes, one of the most dynamic great men of the 19th century.)

But the passage that stood out to me was the following quote from one Siphiwe Mpye, who is "the associate editor of GQ" and "one of the scouts and judges of the show":

Quote:
“Through this show we are making a product that will be unearthing true African beauty. I know, I am a guy, and South African men appreciate endowed women, yet these women are not really represented when it comes to marketing goods to African audiences,” he continued.

Plus-size beauty as "true African beauty." Again, as in the other examples in this thread, here is a case where a culture is able to reject androgynous modern mass-media values by opposing them with its own ethnic aesthetic heritage. It's very inspiring, and not only averts anorex-chic poison but reaffirms a people's traditional identity.

I wish that Europeans and European-Americans could do likewise. It would be thrilling if we could enthuse about a "true Nordic beauty" or a "true Slavonic beauty" or a "true Celtic beauty," etc., all of which would represent women who are much fuller-figured than the emaciated standard imposed by the alien modern media. This would help us embrace a more natural ideal, the ideal to which women of European descent are naturally predisposed, and would help reestablish ties with our Old World heritage and culture and identity.
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Old 9th October 2011   #6
GeorgeC
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Default Re: Heritage vs. the rootless media

As I understand it, men are genetically programmed to prefer full-figured women because such women are better for child-bearing.

I wonder if there is any connection between the fact that androgynous-ideal feminism really kicked into higher gear close to 1970, and the fact that overpopulation scaremongering became far more common then (eg Paul Ehrlich's "The Population Bomb").
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Old 29th December 2011   #7
HSG
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Default Re: Heritage vs. the rootless media


Of the many discussion threads that have appeared on this forum over the past year, this is certainly one of the most important; perhaps the most significant of all. It indicates why Western nations confront an even more difficult challenge in casting off the yoke of the modern androgynous standard than other peoples face.

Through skin colour or facial shape, other cultures can more clearly distinguish their traditional ideals of beauty from that of the modern media. The distinction between the past and the present is glaring, creating a sharp then-and-now dichotomy. Other cultures are thus able to define themselves and their heritage against a clearly differentiated, foreign "other"--that of the media culture, which has been imposed on them from without.

But in the West, the modern standard is a perversion of the ideal that came before it, as if someone had taken the Classical model and morphed and disfigured it, element by element, distorting it into its current, toxic form--dessicating the body into a shrivelled frame; withering the limbs into cadaverous emaciation; coarsening radiantly fair skin with a leathery, radioactively tanned tint; decomposing the fullness of the face into the sunken-cheeked hollowness of a corpse; compressing the jawline into androgynous elongation.

Worse, because this aesthetic overthrow, this cultural coup détat, happened here first, multiple generations have now grown up with no first-hand memory of anything better, no recollection of a time when popular culture and high culture both revered the timeless ideal of full-figured beauty.

To use a bucolic analogy, in other cultures, the change from traditional to modern was a swapping of one edible for another, a prune in place of an apple. The difference is glaring and unmistakable. In the West, however, the change has been more akin to a steady a process of decay, whereby a once-beautiful, luscious fruit has been allowed to rot, becoming uglier and more corrupt over time, until most of the populace only knows it in its rotten state, with no memory of how it looked when it was fresh and succulent.

We in the West need to recognize the modern, androgynous, anti-traditional culture that has been imposed on us as a toxic "other," just as the rest of the world views it--because that's exactly what it is. It didn't grow organically in our soil. It was imposed on us too, though in our case, from within and not from without, by an alien cabal that flourished in our midst.

We must reconnect to our own heritage, just as other cultures reawaken to theirs. As we do so, we will rediscover the true appearance of luscious, well-fed feminine beauty, an ideal that was stolen from us and displaced by an extraneous, androgynous standard. We will recognize the plus-size ideal as our own indigenous vision of loveliness, our own native standard of beauty, in a tradition stretching back to Classical conceptions of Aphrodite and Helen of Troy.

And in today's most gorgeous plus-size models, we will find living exemplars of this timeless ideal.

The soft loveliness of Sophie Sheppard (U.K. size 18), embodying the true beauty of the Western tradition.

- Lillian Russell, her aesthetic forbear

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