Beauty is in the eye of the beholder. Or is it? Because I am intrigued by psychology, I want to explore this question.
Beauty is subjective, it is a perception. Our perceptions are shaped by our constructs.
So what are constructs and where do they come from?
Constructs are internal models of reality created in order to understand and explain the world around us. They are developed through observations and experimentations (http://changingminds.org/explanations/theories/personal_construct.htm).
If, for example, we are exploring the construct of beauty, we need only turn to the pages of fashion magazines for references. In these publications, we will discover tall, slender, Caucasian women in any number of poses. After repeatedly seeing this archetype asserted as beauty, then we will likely equate beauty with that form. So, in essence, we really aren't getting a chance to decide what we think is beautiful. Listen to this talk by former Victoria Secret's model Cameron Russell http://www.ted.com/talks/cameron_russell_looks_aren_t_everything_believe_me_i_m_a_model.html. In it, she bravely explains how imagery is an evocative construction that alters our perceptions.
Cameron dares to talk about gender and racial oppression in the world of fashion. She talks about winning the 'genetic lottery' and how that has opened many doors for her. If the standard of beauty for over 40 years has remained the same, how can we challenge it? How can we help women who do not necessarily fit that mold to develop more confidence in who they are and how they look? Cameron shared the startling statistic that 53% of American 13-year-old girls are unhappy with their bodies. This number jumps to 78% by the time they hit 17!
As a designer and mother of young girl, I am forced to ask myself everyday what type of impression I want to make on the fashion world. How can I put forth another construct? I have plenty of ideas and you will see them unfold. Please share your ideas with me. Be a part of the revolution!