"The fairer sex"

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Posted by HSG on January 04, 2005 at 08:43:44:

In Reply to: Sun-bathing and the aesthetic restoration posted by Jessica on January 03, 2005 at 19:57:58:

And this is the origin of that famous phrase (which is now making a comeback), "the fairer sex"--as well as "fair maiden," "fair damsel," and so forth. These terms describe women both as having fairer skins, and being more comely, than the masculine gender.

There are countless reasons why a "peaches-and-cream" complexion is more attractive and more sensible, than a radioactive tan, but here are two:

1. Just as painters prefer white canvasses, so fair skin gives make-up artists a clear canvas to work with. Look at the delicate pink blush and lip gloss on Valerie in her mesmerizing Spring 2004 Figure cover and layout, as well as on Charlotte C. in her new Torrid images. That pink hue could never be created except on an underlay of fair skin. Remember: a tan is easy to spray on, if necessary, but much harder to "erase."

Mind you, naturally dark complexions are just as beautiful, of course, and many of the most gorgeous plus-size models possess them. But if a woman is blessed with fair skin, why not make the most of it? Vive la difference.

2. Blushing! Strategic blushing has always been an irresistible element in feminine charm, and even the stoutest male "heart of oak" is rendered powerless against the emotional impact of flushed cheeks. A blush can indicate coy modesty, heightened anger, inflamed desire, satiated pleasure (all of which are captivating states, in their own unique ways), or natural health. And a blush is more visible and arresting when it colours fair skin.

Valerie Lefowitz; or "Aurora, daughter of the dawn, / With rosy lustre" (from Homerís Iliad, in the Pope translation):

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