Artists and designers are directly responsible for our ideals of feminine beauty. Today, we blame designers for dictating that every woman should be six-foot tall and barely tip the scales at 120. However the further we go back into art history, the more responsibility artists, particularly painters, have to bear. Before men even began painting the female nude, they began to make value judgments, often sexual in nature, as to the ideal model. Then, having chosen her, they continued to mold her by pushing paint this way and that until they arrived at their ideal Venus, Aphrodite, Eve, or Odalisque. Whether goddess or prostitute, their images had an effect upon all those who viewed them. Women took their "looks" based upon what these artists dictated because men chose their women based upon these ideals.
|La Grande Odalisque, 1814, Jean Auguste Dominique Ingres|