Throughout this year I have being working on a democratic fashion project which is examining if beauty myths exist and discovering the affect they have upon consumers by portraying how women see themselves (through personal grooming and trend following) alongside how others perceive this representation of beauty through various forms of attraction (in relation to colour).
(As discussed within my dissertation) The research for this project has examined where beauty myths have come from and what they are. Beginning with looking at Renaissance art and how they depicted the female nude body for the male viewer to look at (Mulvey’s male gaze concept) which developed in to cinema. Disney’s representation of beauty ideals has created stereotypes which convey that beauty is good (larger heads, slim bodies, average size breasts, long flowing hair, big eyes and tiny feet) and ugly is evil (fat, tall, short and old). All these physical traits are associated with the characters personalities, Disney intends for us to like or dislike these characters due to these personalities which helps them achieve the viewers gaze whereby the audience associate these physical characteristics with good and bad behaviour. Beauty is portrayed by youth and innocence and the evilness is portrayed through ugliness and age, which creates a perspective which the female viewers should be striving for from a young age (beauty), which leaves an imprint in young females in regards to the ideals and myths of beauty. This imprint develops with the younger females in to adolescence and to be adults who are then and now influenced by contemporary culture which is a far more sexualised beauty ideal. With influences from social media and advertisements as well as from socialites and false representation through post production there is a more aggressive unattainable standard to live up to. Influences from social media allows younger females and adults to be surrounded by a movement whereby their beauty is a competition, which is judged by other females to boost their self-esteem through apps such as Instagram and Snapchat, apps which they associate with their beauty idols who are also advertised within magazines and music videos as the ideal beautiful women. Beauty ideals which are unachievable for most people due to being part of a certain social class (Kim Kardashion, who uses her money to have the ideal body standard of the 21st century), or having a certain body type (Gigi Hadid, Victoria Secret Angle – certain body criteria which is unachievable for most of population as you cannot change the length of your body or size of your hips). Overall beauty myths within different time eras have had a strong influence on the art forms of the time (art, cinema, photography) which represent unattainable beauty ideals for women of that specific era to achieve as they are all made for pleasure of a male audience – except Disney who reverse the gender nature and portray their beauty representations on younger female audiences through their animation.
Throughout this project I have photographed females with a various range of physical traits (hair colour and eye colour) within a bubble-gum/photo booth treatment style (colour and pose structure). They have being technically photographed the same – so that the individuals can stand out or blend in (through directed posing – blandness – linked to Thomas Ruff portraits, and empowered posing – portraits with expression and identity) in order to create typologies from the images of each individual through a range of the conventions (related to colour) of which viewers (mainly men) identify with being attractive/beautiful. This interprets how we are still telling girls/women how to look (through suggestions such as ideal body shape/size, clothing, make-up ect – which is how they see the ideal women portrayed within contemporary culture – upon Instagram, billboards and within magazines) in order to be found attractive/beautiful and accepted within society (by men and fellow females).
From these images I have created a range of typologies which represent themes of colour attraction (which is what make-up is about – colour within make-up, females don’t usually wear all black and white make-up – colour attraction which is linked with physical and sexual attraction within other species). The evaluation of the selected images raised links to themes based on attraction from make-up standing off the face in to the body, background colour and lack of clothing above shoulders (typologies which can be created to identify attraction in relation to face shape, eye colour, hair colour, expression, trend, skin exposure and background colour). I have created a photobook of these themed typologies (called Types). The book is created from typologies which aim to identify attraction to background colour/make-up trend, eye colour, hair colour, facial expression and the bare neck (for the pleasure of the male and admiration of the female). I have created these within a book format to portray the message more clearly to audiences as it is a different approach, however I aim to share each typology upon social media – Instagram to share the message to a larger audience within a quicker time span.