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    Society’s View on Beauty Standards

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    Today, people describe beauty with the physical appearance of a person. With this notion, people do whatever that they can in order to improve their physical appearance and be termed as beautiful, including performing plastic surgery. This is central to the beliefs of the many people around the world today. These people obtained every material available to the locals for their beauty from nature. To ancient Pueblo people, beauty comprised of the environment they lived in and the spiritual beings that they worshiped, this is because they related all there believes to the environment and spirits unlike in the modern notion where beauty is described as the physical appearance of an individual.

    Over the period, the concept of beauty has left its meaning from being natural to modern where artificial beauty has been created in the appearance of the people. In this paper, the beauty of the ancient people which comprised of the environment they lived in and the spiritual beings they worshipped is going to be discussed in details, as well as how they related theirs believes to the environment and spirits, unlike the modern beauty that comprises of modern cosmetics made from synthetic material. The paper will also discuss how the concept of beauty has left its meaning over the time from being natural to modern where artificial beauty has been created in the appearance of the people.

    In modern society, most people believe that they have to use makeup and other material associated with beauty so that they can be beautiful. This notion means that modern people do not really have confidence in their own natural beauty. In the old days, people believed that beauty was in the spiritual beings that they worshipped as well as within the environment that they lived in. They believed this because all their beliefs were related to the environment and spirits. This is not the case in the modern notion. Today, beauty is described as the physical appearance of a person. This has led people to engage in different activities of trying to change their physical appearance in order to be termed as beautiful. Such activities include plastic surgery. The concept of beauty has over the period, left its meaning from being natural to modern whereby artificial beauty has been created in the appearance of people.

    “The human identity of the ancient Pueblo people was linked with all the elements of creation through the clan” Silko (1986) stated in Yellow Woman and a Beauty of the Spirit. They had a very deep attachment to the beautiful things that surrounded them out of this thing. Their lives were filled with items that were far from utilitarian. They did many things including weaving turkey feather blanket as well as woven baskets. The turkey leather blankets provided warmth and also beauty, while the woven baskets showed that they were great skilled artists. Despite all these, the Pueblo people lived in harsh landscapes for a long period of time.

    The settlements in which the ancestral pueblo lived were small and isolated according to the writer. They were living in very harsh environments. “The ancient pueblo not only survived in this environment but for many years they also thrived” states Silko (1986). Unlike today’s environment where modern people live in well-lighted houses with housewarming devices and fans in case of extreme cold or heat respectively to improve their comfort. Today we can’t talk of thriving in the modern world since there are many diseases and accidents that lead to loss of lives every now and then.

    Surviving was not easy for the ancestral Pueblo people but they treasured their environment and available material that they saw beauty in it. Unlike in the current world were beauty can only be seen as the artificial items made by the modern humans and the naturals material to the current generation seems to stand in for ugliness. These ancient people made use of all the available resources around them. For example, they made beautiful blankets out of turkey feather, which apart from providing beauty, also provided warmth to them. They also used the available clay in poetry, something which made them reveal their artistic skills which were of a very high quality.

    They decorated vessels made out of clay with images of what they used to see in their daily lives. These people also made use of stones and wood in building their homes. Though they would get the stones and woods from a great distance, they still thrived to get them for building their houses so that they could have shelter. The Pueblo people could surely attest that survival in any landscape comes down to making use of all available resources. This is because these people made use of all the available resources to try and make their place look better and feel better while living there.

    The ancient people believed strongly in myths. To them, “the myth was an old-fashioned idea confined to historical periods such as the Middle Ages; rather, it was a ‘type of speech’ which operates symbolically within image driven communications.” As stated by the author. The people believed in anything existing as a myth in society. Their communications were accompanied by myths. Myths were not something new to them, and they were not surprised by hearing myths, because they were not old-fashioned to them. Some products used by the ancient pueblo used to make them so dry, such that they could moisturize every day. “I used to be really dry. I used to have to moisturize every day. But … twelve years ago (I stopped using products) … I started drinking this water that was ionized and drinking three litres a day and having olive oil in my diet every day, more avocado, or some form of positive fat” writes Benbow-Buitenhuis (2014).

    The ancient people related all their beliefs to the environment that they lived in and the spirits that they worshiped. Human identity was linked with all the elements of creation through the clan; one could belong to the Sun Clan, Lizard Clan, Corn Clan or the Clay Clan. One could only be identified with their clans. Different clans had different elements of creation, with which people from different clan could be identified with. The different clans also had different spiritual and religious beliefs despite the fact that majority of the pueblo religions had some threads that they shared which include, fertility, emphasis on nature, spirits, and renewal.

    The ancient Pueblo peoples relation of their beliefs to the environment and spirits not only made them survive in that environment but also to thrive in it. They strongly believed in the spirits who guided them always and led them to overcome all difficulties. Also, surviving in their landscape was not that easy, but their gods always provided for them alternative ways of surviving. They could get stones and wood for building their homes, as well as other things which they used in different ways. They could also make use of turkey feather in making blankets which could provide warmth and beauty to them. All these things were provided by nature and more so by the gods they worshiped and hence they were able to survive. They could also make clay vessels from clay soils which were in their locality, and then decorate the vessels with images of the things around them. This was a source of beauty to them. Out of their survival, one could conclude that “survival in any landscape comes down to making the best use of all available resources” writes Silko (1986).

    Women today strive so much to enhance their appearances. This is by lifting weights in order to build muscles, wrapping bodies in seaweed in order for them to reduce unwanted water retention, performing plastic surgery in order to enhance skin appearance among other many things. Bodywork clearly shows that women escape the beauty myth by use of bodywork “Gimlin’s the UK and US study 2002) found that beauty and other commercially mandated acts of self-care could be seen symbolically as a female agency” states Benbow-Buitenhuis (2014). “For Marcuse, advanced industrialization has been a new authoritarianism emerge, a superstructure that wields immense power and control over society and commands complete conformity to its ideals as well as norms.”

    The ancient Pueblo people were very different from the modern notion. In the modern notion, beauty is described as the physical appearance of a person. In order to enhance this physical appearance, different people do different things. Some go for plastic surgery; others go for chemical peels and even face needles. These are just but a few of the different things that people do in order to enhance their physical appearance.

    This was not the case with the ancient Pueblo people. According to them, beauty was in the things around them and the spirits that they worshipped, and not in the physical appearance of an individual. “In the old days, strong, sturdy women were most admired”. Being strong was a sign of good health and a good relationship with one’s husband. Admiration could be attained in relation to the strength of the woman, unlike today whereby admiration is attained by the face appearance, but not strength. In that case, many women today, strive to improve their facial appearance rather than striving to keep fit and strong.

    Physical appearance is what defines the beauty of a person in the modern notion. Women have different powers which they use differently. “White man had not reckoned with the true power of a particular landscape especially not the power that a Yupik woman understood instinctively and that she used so swiftly and efficiently” according to Silko (1986). A story is told about a certain girl who used to stay with her grandmother. She used to assist her in doing all house chores such as cooking, cleaning, laundry work among other household activities. “When Grandma was eighty-five, she still chopped her own kindling. She used to let me carry in the coal bucket for her, but she would not allow me to use the ax” Silko (1986).

    Keeping fit, and feeding on good food and having a balanced diet is important in enhancing the beauty of an individual. Also, drinking a lot of clean water is very important. There are so many ways of improving a person’s physical appearance. Apart from the ones mentioned, other ways are plastic surgery, face needles or chemical peels. Some could be too costly as compared to others and therefore a person goes to the affordable one. “Andrea: Or your other option is plastic surgery or chemical peels or face needles, stuff like that” Benbow-Buitenhuis (2014).

    When using products for enhancing the appearance of a person, it is very important to maintain high self-esteem and interest in the product. Having fear and low self-esteem could show that, maybe the product one is using is not the best. “Liz displayed high self-esteem and interest in how products could maintain her appearance” Benbow-Buitenhuis (2014).

    In conclusion, from the above discussion, the definition of beauty has changed over time, from the times of ancient people to the current generation people perceive beauty in different ways. Today people do not seem to trust the beauty in nature but prefer artificial beauty made out of cosmetics and other manmade material. How the ancient people used to make use of the available resources around them in coming up with things that could help them. For example, they could use clay in making vessels. They could also decorate these vessels using images around them. Some clans of the people were also mentioned.

    The paper has also discussed how the people saw beauty in the things around them and in the spiritual beings that they worshipped. In the paper, the perception of beauty in today’s notion has been discussed. It has been discussed that today beauty is described as a person’s physical appearance. In today’s society, many things are said concerning beauty. Some people may develop low self-esteem out of what the society says about them or about beauty generally. It is important therefore for one to stop following what the society says about them and the beauty standards. This is because everyone is beautiful in their own way.

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