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The Origins of Beauty

From an ancient Roman anti-aging cream recipe to the 12th century “Trotula,” a set of medieval texts with formulas for skin care and perfumes, the desire to make ourselves more attractive stretches back through history. Rather than embracing the subjectivity of beauty, though, societies have instead categorized these qualities into beauty “standards.” In this blog, we’ll explore the many definitions of beauty, the Darwinian Theory of Beauty, the beauty standards that shaped history, and why these standards are still changing today.

What is Beauty?

I say beauty comes from within – you are beauty and beauty is you. You are a masterpiece – a work of art. There is only one you, made up of your genes and life experiences. And there will never be another. – Segun Garuba-Okelarin

The Oxford dictionary defines beauty as: “A combination of qualities, such as shape, color, or form, that pleases the aesthetic senses, especially the sight,” while philosopher and teacher Confucius said of beauty: “Everything has beauty but not everyone sees it.”

Popular phrases also define beauty as:

  • Beauty is in the eye of the beholder
  • Beauty is pain
  • Beauty is only skin deep

So what is beauty? Various cultures have different definitions and perceptions of beauty. From the Kayan tribes who believe that long necks are the ultimate sign of beauty and from age five, start priming their necks with heavy brass rings, to several parts of Asia where pale or white skin is often seen as a sign of beauty and affluence.

Maria-Alina Asavei, a lecturer and postdoctoral researcher in the Russian and East European Department at the Institute of International Studies at Charles University, says, “We often fail to make clear what we mean by “beauty,” even if we use this word quite frequently.”

Asavei continues: “When we appreciate something as beautiful, we implicitly accept that X is a source of positive aesthetic value or aesthetic appreciation. In the history of philosophical aesthetics, there are many theories and definitions of beauty. Despite differences, most of these theories connect the experience of the beautiful with a certain type of pleasure and enjoyment.”

Yet many would argue that by our very nature, there’s a certain universal set of indices that inform beauty. Alan Moore, a former designer, believes that beauty isn’t about what something looks like; he often speaks about it in terms of Einstein’s Theory of Relativity, Dirac’s theorem, spirituality, and the laws of nature.

“At an atomic level, everything is connected; they dance and are attracted to one another at a nuclear level. The law of nature seeks things to be made of symmetry and harmony, and even in opposites they’re complementary: we have night and day, up and down. We’re all made of the same stuff molecularly, so we intuit beauty – we know it to be the life-enhancing force.”

While Asavei and Moore have their own views on the definition of beauty, many other researchers, authors, and philosophers have also dipped their toes into the topic.

Denis Dutton: The Darwinian Theory of Beauty

Denis Dutton

Pictured: Denis Dutton   Source: The Chronicle of Higher Education

Despite the subjectivism dominating contemporary society, there are still some renowned authors who maintain that in beauty there is objective value, such as the philosopher Denis Dutton

Here is a breakdown of Denis Dutton’s TED Talk:

Denis Dutton developed a Darwinian Theory of Beauty. According to this theory, “The experience of beauty is one of the ways that evolution has of arousing and sustaining interest in order to encourage us towards making the most adaptive decisions for survival and reproduction.” 

As an example of natural beauty which seems to appeal to every human being, no matter our geographical provenance, he speaks of the savannah landscape. Dutton states that this landscape is where we have evolved and points out that it shows up everywhere today, like on posters and calendars.

Savannah Landscape

Pictured: Savannah landscape   Source: All Posters

To illustrate artistic beauty, which more frequently than not is deemed the result of cultural conditioning, Dutton offers us the Acheulean pear-shaped hand-axes associated with early humans, which were first found in France. Dutton argues that their sheer numbers show they cannot have been made solely for butchering animals.

Moreover, the fact that many of these hand-axes are too big for butchery and many others show no evidence of wear and tear on their delicate blade edges, seems to suggest that they served other functions. Dutton’s belief is that these artifacts are, in reality, the earliest known works of art. 

Pear shaped hand-axe

Pictured: Pear-shaped hand-axe   Source: Science Buzz

His reasoning for this is that they were transformed from practical tools into what Darwinians call “fitness signals.” These “fitness signals,” Dutton explains, work like the peacock’s tail, displaying to potential mates desirable personal qualities, which in the case of the Homo Erectus or Homo Ergaster would be signs of “intelligence, planning ability, access to rare materials, and fine motor control.” 

After Homo Erectus came Homo Sapiens, and as Dutton points out, they clearly found new ways to amaze each other: perhaps by telling jokes or dancing, through hair styling, storytelling, and so on. He continues on to highlight the fact that for us moderns, the element that has continued to matter is this aspect of how impressed we are by the skill of creating and doing something extraordinary. 

He jestingly tells us that the next time we pass by a window of a jewelry shop displaying a beautifully cut pear drop-shaped stone, we should not be so sure that it’s only culture telling us that that sparkling jewel is beautiful. The reality is that our forebears also loved that shape and found beauty in the skill needed to make it.

So concluding, he asks: ‘Is beauty in the eye of the beholder? No!’ he exclaims. Not at all! It’s rather deeply present in our minds and a gift handed down from the intelligent skills and rich emotional lives of our ancestors.” 

To learn more about Dutton’s theory, you can watch his TED Talk here.

How Beauty Standards Have Evolved

Beauty comes in all different forms; from art to design to fashion. However, physical beauty standards tend to respond to the shifting political and social landscapes, and they continue to change with the times, according to beauty and wellness writer Kari Molvar.

“So much about how beauty is being defined right now has a political undertone to it,” she said in a phone interview with CNN, noting how both the Black Lives Matter and Stop Asian Hate movements have inspired responses from the beauty industry.

In her book, The New Beauty, Molvar charts the evolution of beauty standards and the forces that influenced them from antiquity to the present day. It’s a wonderful reminder that the idea of beauty has been shaped by everything, including industrialization, gender politics, and the media.

Beauty From the Land

In the 17th century, Europe was a growing center of global commerce. A network of trade routes brought exciting new foods to the continent. Pepper and sugar, as well as new meats, cereals, and grains, were now available. They were not only sold to the old upper class but also to the gentry, a new group of wealthy landowners.

“All of this naturally led to plumper bodies,” Molvar wrote in her book, “which forged a new beauty aesthetic.”

Renaissance artists, like Flemish painter Peter Paul Rubens, helped popularize the fuller figure as a new body ideal. Buxom women with soft physiques were idolized on the easel with their dimples, ripples, and all. 

But it wasn’t entirely progressive, Molvar noted. “It’s a shape that is largely celebrated for its biological function, fertility,” she wrote. “And the ability to fulfill the desires of men.”

Peter Paul Rubens Painting

Pictured: A painting by Peter Paul Rubens showing the ideal beauty standard for women   Source: ELYSIAN Magazine

Around 300 years later, another shift in agricultural rhythms saw a new aesthetic come onto the scene in the US. The late 19th and early 20th centuries saw the arrival of the “Gibson Girl,” a character devised by illustrator Charles Dana Gibson, with long legs. Unlike previous images of women with large busts and hips, though, the Gibson Girl was not vulgar or lewd. 

The Gibson Girl represented a new kind of American woman that was wealthy and educated; she was emblematic of the new freedoms of the industrial age, despite hailing from a class that likely never took part in farmwork.

Gibson’s creations could be found in the pages of Life magazine, commonly engaging in high-energy pursuits like swimming or horseback riding. These hobbies trickled down through society to shape a new beauty standard. The new defining features were a slim, athletic build and windswept hair loosely pinned and very voluminous.

The Gibson Girl

Pictured: The Gibson Girl    Source: ELED

Beauty From Liberation

While beauty standards may be oppressive by their very nature, they’re sometimes shaped by the shirking societal norms. In her book, Molvar detailed the “certain amount of liberation” afforded to some White Western women during the 1920s, and the impact this had on beauty and style.

The desired silhouette moved from corseted curves, cinched in at the waist, to a more androgynous shape that “freed women’s bodies.” Makeup also evolved. Instead of only being used to smooth one’s complexion, it was now “intended to shock and stand out,” Molvar wrote.

Women during the 1920s

Pictured: 1920s women     Source: Library of Congress Blogs

1920s Makeup Looks

Pictured: 1920s makeup looks     Source: Hair and Makeup Artist Handbook

Molvar also noted the emergence of the “Black is Beautiful” movement from the 1950s to the 1970s. The phrase was, in part, popularized by the work of photographer Kwame Brathwaite, who shot portraits of dark-skinned models wearing Afrocentric fashions with their hair in afros or protective styles

“It was a way to come up in a beauty system that privileged European notions of beauty,” Tanisha C. Ford, co-author of the book Kwame Brathwaite: Black Is Beautiful, said.

Brathwaite’s art encouraged Black communities to embrace their natural features, despite prevailing beauty standards being overwhelmingly White. “African American women and men expressed their political support for the cause through their physical appearance,” Molvar wrote, “choosing to leave their hair free … in lieu of straightening or styles that conformed to the standards of white society.”

The Black is Beautiful initiative aligned with the civil rights movement of the 1960s and illustrated how powerful and political cosmetic rituals could be.

Kwame Brathwaiten portrait

Pictured: Portrait by Kwame Brathwaite   Source: BBC

Beauty From Progression and Inclusion

Former CEO of cosmetics giant L’Oréal, Jean-Paul Agon, predicted a swing towards decadence reminiscent of the Roaring Twenties, which followed the 1918 global influenza outbreak; similar to the state of our world following the Covid-19 pandemic. “Putting on lipstick again will be a symbol of returning to life,” he told investors in February, according to the Financial Times.

In 2018 and 2019, the beauty industry experienced its highest level of growth. Over the past three years, celebrities such as Selena Gomez, Rihanna, Emma Chamberlain, Peyton List, and Pharrell have all launched either skincare or beauty lines.

Molvar believes that what we are now seeing is an absolute revolution. “Usually beauty trends and ideals take centuries to change. And the change comes so slowly,” she said. “But with the digitalization and the globalization of the world, we’ve been exposed to so many fresh ideas, thoughts, and points of view, the whole notion of what beauty is has just completely blown up.”

Expectations around taboos that have been honored for centuries, like wrinkles and aging, to perceptions of women’s body hair, are changing. “You can see it with the young folk,” Molvar said. “They’re questioning everything, like, ‘Why do we need to shave our legs? That’s an annoying habit. Why would we do that?’

For example, Billie, a start-up selling uniquely packaged razor kits, has raised $35 million in seed funding since 2017 after its depictions of women’s body hair went against the norm. In 2022, Calvin Klein also ran a campaign that featured Madonna’s daughter, Lourdes Leon, that normalized body hair.

Lourdes Leon for Calvin Klein

Pictured: Lourdes Leon for Calvin Klein   Source: Popsugar

Elsewhere in the beauty space, makeup has become a tool that belongs to both genders. Tom Ford and Chanel have both helped bring male makeup to the mainstream by launching men’s beauty lines in 2013 and 2018. Since then, other big names like Fendi and Dior have jumped on the bandwagon by showcasing men in makeup within their campaigns and on the runway. By 2024, the male grooming market is estimated to be worth $81.2 billion.

Boy de Chanel Campaign

Pictured: Boy de Chanel campaign    Source: Chanel

Dior Men's Campaign 2022Pictured: Men’s makeup look on the Dior runway in 2022    Source: Grazia Magazine

The beauty standards of today are becoming more fluid with individuals tapping into their true selves to show the unique, more freeing standards that they deem beautiful. Today, it’s not about what everyone else thinks is the perfect body type; it’s about the beautiful admiration one can hold for themselves. 

A Study on Changing Beauty Standards

The dominant standard of female beauty in Western media may have vacillated slightly over the decades, but for the majority of the 20th and 21st centuries, symmetrical, toned, white, and thin women have been advertised as the “ideal” by mainstream media. 

Increased visibility for diverse body types has ramped up significantly in recent years, showing that there isn’t just one kind of female body that’s beautiful. And for millennials raised on the internet, having a diversity of different types of bodies in the spotlight is wonderful for body positivity. 

But what influence could different images have on people who’ve never experienced mainstream media, or the beauty “ideals” it espouses? This new study aimed to answer that question, and what it found was that body standards changed much quicker than people might have previously believed.

The scientists behind the research wanted to find out how images of thin models might affect ideas about an “ideal” female body in people who’d never been exposed to those kinds of images before. They traveled to Nicaragua’s Mosquito Coast, a deeply isolated area where villages have no electricity, and therefore no exposure to television or film. 

Eighty volunteers, male and female, in those villages were recruited and asked to describe their ideal body shape. Half were shown 72 photographs of plus-size models, and the other half were shown 72 photographs of thin models.

Experiment Photos

Pictured: Sample photos used in the experiment   Source: Cold Springs Harbor Library

The entire process lasted about 15 minutes, at which point the scientists then asked the villagers to describe their ideal body image again. The people who had been looking at plus-size images made their idealized female bodies fit that standard, while those who’d been gazing at size zero women also changed their ideal to fit what they’d seen. 

Ideal body size graph

Pictured: Pre-test to post-test difference in ideal body size between groups   Souce: Cold Springs Harbor Library

The shocking element of the experiment was that it only took a small amount of exposure to this imagery for the subjects of this experiment to shift their ideals completely. However, the experiment didn’t measure how long the effects of the

The big lesson to take away from the Nicaraguan experiment is that images, of any kind, can warp our beauty standards within the time it takes to bake a cake. Knowing about why that is, through media literacy and other education, can stop it.

In Conclusion

The idea of beauty has its roots in every facet of humanity. What we consider beautiful can stem from magnificent tools that were used for hunting in ancient times or from farm life during the 17th century. The origins and evolution of beauty are truly fascinating and can teach us how the world around us shapes our thoughts and views.

As for the definition of beauty, perhaps the answer is within you. Perhaps you are beauty, personified.

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What did you think of this article? Let us know in the comments below.

What It Means to Be Manly Today

What does it really mean to be “manly”? According to the stereotype, a real man is “unemotional, strong, and stoic;” he’s a protector that doesn’t ask for help and never shows vulnerability. A “real man” wears clothes designated to him by gender norms, and his hairstyle matches the role placed on him, as well. However, research proves that these traditional expectations of masculinity can have harmful consequences on men. In this blog, we will explore the role of masculinity throughout history, its effects on mental health, and how ‘toxic masculinity’ is being dismantled in modern culture.

Changing Gender Roles in History

Ideals of masculinity have changed dramatically over time. As men have adapted to changing conditions, fashions, and shifting views about sexuality, the boundaries of manhood have also changed. It might be argued that men have long competed with themselves, encouraged to measure their behavior against that of a perfect model of masculinity.

Here’s a brief exploration of male gender roles throughout history:

Ancient Egypt

Egyptians Wearing Shentis

Pictured: Ancient Egyptian men wearing shentis, which are similar to skirts    Source: Fashion History

In Egypt, gender roles were fluid in terms of fashion, self-care, and makeup. Egyptian men often wore knee-length shirts, loincloths, or kilts made of linen. Both sexes also wore eye make-up, most often outlining their lids with a line of black kohl.1

Ancient Egyptian men had certain privileges similar to most traditional societies. However, there was not a huge disparity between the status of Egyptian men and Egyptian women. Both the men and women worked and earned wages regardless of their sex.2

Ancient Rome

Ancient Roman Men Wearing More Feminine Clothing

Pictured: Ancient Roman men wearing tunicas     Source: Pinterest

Fast-forward to the 1st century AD when Roman men were known to apply red pigment to their cheeks and paint their nails using an elixir of pig fat and blood. The basic garment for both genders was the tunica, with pants not being popular as they were considered impractical.3

Unlike Ancient Egypt, though, the social infrastructure of Ancient Rome allowed for men and women to be different socially, politically, and physically. Roman men were the most important in the household. They had more rights, more education, and more opportunities for outside jobs.4 

The Middle Ages

Men in the Middle Ages Wearing Tights

Pictured: Men in the Middle Ages wearing stocking undergarments with short hemlines   Source: Pinterest

In the Middle Ages, both men and women continued to wear very similar clothing. Male attire during this time was dominated by short hemlines paired with stockings worn as outer leg wear. Cosmetics were also still worn by men to stave off the appearance of old age.5

Men in the Middle Ages were known to be active, martial, and violent, and were considered the breadwinners and the most important people in the family unit. Women endeavored to please the men around them and were often subservient to their needs.6

The Victorian Era

Men in the Victorian Era wearing jackets and trousers

Pictured: Victorian men wearing jackets and trousers    Source: Vintage Fashions 

In the Victorian era, the clothing divide between genders really took off. Men commonly wore waistcoats, vests, and trousers, while women donned corsets and gowns. Makeup was also frowned upon for both genders as Queen Victoria associated makeup with the devil and declared it a horrible invention.7

The Victorians saw manliness as good, a form of control over maleness, which was brutish. Work was crucial to achieving this ideal masculine status, along with being spiritual and a faithful believer. As the head of the household, the ideal Victorian man was not only to rule but also to protect his wife and children.8

The 1960s to the 1990s

Freddie Mercury

Pictured: Freddie Mercury’s eccentric outfits    Source: Glam Rock

Celebrity culture and the media were incredibly influential in defying Western gender norms when it came to fashion throughout the 1960s to the 1990s. Freddie Mercury, for example, charmed the crown with his various eccentric on-stage costumes, while David Bowie confidently showed up in head-turning androgynous wear for red carpet and casual events.9

However, in the 1960s, men were still expected to be providers, fully engaged in the rat race while remaining upstanding citizens, fathers, and husbands. While women did work, men were still known to be the head of the household well into the 1990s.10

Today

Men in Gender Fluid Fashion

Pictured: Gender fluid fashion is on the rise    Source: Twitter

In the past decade, fashion brands have increasingly produced gender-fluid collections to meet consumer demand. In fact, in 2019, 56% of Gen Z consumers shopped “outside their assigned gendered area.”11 In addition, many of the most popular online makeup artists are male, such as Manny Mua and Bretman Rock.

Today, perhaps more than ever, a man can be whomever he wants to be. He has the choice to become more than a caricature of what a man is “supposed” to be. We are also seeing men take on roles that were once designated solely for women. For example, the US now has its first-ever Second Gentleman in Douglas Emhoff.

But while we’ve come a long way in dismantling gender norms, the perils of the age-old gender roles still have a firm grasp on many modern men.

The Pressures of Being Manly Today

As well as being PRIDE month, June marks Men’s Mental Health Awareness month, a time to bring representation to the issues that men face in terms of their emotional and mental wellbeing. According to a 2015 survey, around 10% of men in the United States navigate depression, but less than half have sought out treatment or support.12 This may be due to the ingrained idea that having feelings or symptoms of mental health conditions and asking for support is less masculine.

James Rodriguez, LCSW and Director of Trauma-Informed Services at the NYU McSilver Institute for Poverty Policy and Research, says, “It’s difficult for some of my male clients to just relax, breathe, and be calm. Traditional masculinity can lead to bottling things up. Some even directly express the belief that they cannot let their guard down for fear of losing their edge.” 

Many therapists are combating this view, encouraging men and masculine folks to center their mental health. For example, James Harris, LCSW and founder of the movement “Men to Heal,” tries to break down the stigma surrounding mental health through clinical work in his book, Man, Just Express Yourself: An Interactive Planner Guide for MEN, Young and Old.

Still, mental health professionals and advocates stress that there isn’t a one-size-fits-all solution and that every person comes with a different set of experiences and backgrounds.

“When we talk about traditional masculinity or harmful masculinity, it’s important to do so without stereotyping men. We must recognize that masculine identity intersects with race, class, culture, sexual orientation, gender identity, and a host of other identities that vary by each individual,” says Rodriguez.

Because of this, it can be useful for intentional conversations around healthy masculinity to be culturally competent and specific. One prominent example is Jayson K. Jones, social worker and assistant director of the McSilver Institute’s Clinical Education and Innovation Department at NYU.

Jones founded and hosts a podcast called Black Boys & Men: Changing the Narrative, in which he discusses with others the copious stereotypes and expectations placed on Black boys and men, including those around masculinity. 

Like Jones, advocates often highlight the importance of reaching young men and helping them redefine what masculinity means.

“With young men, in particular, traditional masculine ideology may lead them to engage in riskier health behaviors, such as alcohol or drug misuse, driving at high speeds, or engaging in violence,” says Rodriguez. “It can also result in eating poorly, avoiding doctors, or otherwise not attending to their own health needs or seeking help when something is wrong.”

Brands Challenging Perceptions of Masculinity

Major brands have launched campaigns reflecting the nuanced uniqueness, sensitivities, and vulnerabilities of ‘the everyman’. Here are examples of male brand campaigns that have challenged previous perceptions of masculinity:

Schick’s “Be You. No One Else Can.” Campaign

Schick Be You No One Else Can Campaign

Pictured: Schick’s “Be You. No One Else Can.” Campaign   Source: Forbes

Schick launched the “Be You. No One Else Can.,” campaign to combat the fact that research showed that 2 out of 3 men felt pressure to “act like a man” and don’t believe the media shows an accurate depiction of men.  Schick is implementing the campaign as part of a major rebrand, which focuses on men’s individuality and self-expression.

Schick commissioned a study showing that 8 in 10 men don’t want brands telling them how to be an individual, while 85% report that they prefer to see real, ordinary men in ads. Moreover, Schick’s new positioning is informed by its finding that 81% of men would prefer brands to celebrate them for who they are instead of asking them to change.

You can check out the campaign here

Dove Men + Care’s “#DearFutureDads” Campaign

Dove Men + Care’s “#DearFutureDads” Campaign

Pictured: Dove Men + Care’s “#DearFutureDads” Campaign    Source: Ethical Marketing News

Dove Men + Care launched a campaign called “#DearFutureDads” that frames modern masculinity by the way men care. Within the campaign, Dove Men + Care championed paternity leave for all dads. 

Societal stigmas around taking leave, fear of repercussions at work, and lack of paid leave often prevent many dads from staying at home. This campaign sought to change the conversation and demonstrate how paternity leave is important for all: children, men, women, families, and society.

The campaign also encourages dads to visit the brand’s website for information and resources for those considering taking paternity leave, which can be found here.

You can check out the campaign here.

Philips “Makes Life Better” Campaign

Phillips Makes Life Better Campaign

Pictured: Philips “Makes Life Better” Campaign   Source: Ogilvy

Targeting men in the male grooming category, the new Philips campaign, “Makes Life Better,” features the Mieskuoro Huutajat (“Shouting Men”) of Oulu, Finland in a performance of orchestrated shouting (in Finnish with English subtitles). 

The “Makes Life Better” campaign is unique as it creates a contrasting image between the seemingly aggressive act of shouting and the calming, reassuring words that reveal a multi-dimensional modern man. In a press release, Philips says the campaign is themed around making life better for men by creating an environment for them to be true to themselves.

You can check out the campaign here

Celebrities Flipping the Script on Masculinity

Though the healthy masculinity and gender fluid bandwagon has been slow to start, there are quite a few celebrities who are starting to get the ball rolling, such as:

Harry Styles

Harry Styles

Pictured: Harry Styles for Vogue    Source: Carbon Magazine

Harry Styles is all about breaking gender barriers when it comes to fashion; he loves to experiment with his look. In November 2020, Harry made fashion history when he fronted Vogue as the publication’s first solo male cover star, in a Gucci gown no less. Before that, he turned heads when he freed the nipple at the 2019 Met Gala. 

In an interview with L’Officiel, Harry said, “Many gender borders are falling – in fashion, but also in music, films, and art. We no longer need to be this or that; these parameters are no longer as strict as before, and it gives rise to great freedom. It’s stimulating.”

Jaden Smith

Jaden Smith

Pictured: Jaden Smith    Source: BUNow

Having grown up under the scrutiny of the public eye, Jaden Smith hasn’t been afraid to experiment with his identity or style, and when asked about his often gender fluid clothing preferences, Smith told GQ, “I feel like people are kind of confused about gender norms. I feel like people don’t really get it.”

Jaden utilizes his platform as a public figure to effect social change and deconstruct ideas of toxic masculinity so that, as he explained in an interview with Nylon Magazine, “In five years when a kid goes to school wearing a skirt, he won’t get beat up and kids won’t get mad at him.” 

Terry Crews

Terry Crews

Pictured: Terry Crews    Source: Dame Magazine

Terry Crews has been a constant advocate for healthy masculinity, whether it’s as his current character Terry Jeffords on NBC’s Brooklyn Nine-Nine, where he plays a sensitive, emotional police sergeant and father of two girls, or through his prominent presence in the #MeToo movement. He sets a great example for men, showing that it’s completely okay to be hard on the outside and soft on the inside.

Jonathan Van Ness

JVN

Pictured: Jonathan Van Ness    Source: Hears Tapps

Jonathan Van Ness, The Queer Eye breakout star, captured everyone’s hearts with his hilarious one-liners and that iconic mustache, but he’s also been on a public self-love journey. Along the way, he’s upped his fashion game by donning a plethora of gowns and skirts at industry red carpet events, such as this look, which he said was intended to “f**k a gender norm.” 

PRIDE and the Beauty of Fluidity 

Culture had previously been slow to change, but today, with our non-stop news cycle, social media feeds, and celebrations like PRIDE, minds are changing faster than ever before. PRIDE month, especially, has shown that masculinity is a spectrum that no one can characterize.

Today, we have the opportunity to consider individual differences and the growth we’ve shown in dismantling age-old definitions of masculinity and femininity. It’s more acceptable for men to feel unashamed when showing emotions and vulnerability; they can have pride in being themselves, including their own version of “manly.”

Gender roles aren’t set in stone and are as adaptable as culture; ever-changing and always progressing. While gender roles have always had a seat at history’s table, the time for a change is finally upon us. Your gender doesn’t define you; you do.

What are your thoughts on the evolution of gender roles, especially those relating to masculinity? Let us know in the comments.

 

References:

https://eharneyegypt.weebly.com/blog/gender-roles-of-men-and-women#:~:text=Ancient%20Egyptian%20men%20were%20seen,women%20were%20rarely%20involved%20in. [1][2]

https://www.legendsandchronicles.com/ancient-civilizations/ancient-rome/men-of-ancient-rome/ [3][4]

https://www.medievalgender.org.uk/masculinity-in-medieval-times/#:~:text=Men%20were%20considered%20the%20breadwinners,treated%20with%20respect%20and%20admiration. [5][6]

https://hair-and-makeup-artist.com/womens-victorian-makeup/#:~:text=The%20Queen%20had%20dignity%2C%20decorum,morals%20would%20wear%20obvious%20makeup. [7]

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Victorian_masculinity [8]

https://blogs.baruch.cuny.edu/his1005fall2010/2010/12/07/popular-fashion-trends-through-the-decades-1960s-1980s/ [9][10]

https://www.nbcnews.com/select/shopping/gender-fluid-clothing-ncna1270831#:~:text=In%20the%20past%20decade%2C%20fashion,free%20fashion%E2%80%9D%20brand%20Phluid%20Project. [11]

https://www.cdc.gov/nchs/products/databriefs/db206.htm [12]