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Quackcast 353 - Beautycast

ozoneocean at 12:00AM, Dec. 19, 2017
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This is the Beautycast. We decided to have a chat about beauty. What IS beauty? is it universal? I would contend that it's not and that's what we tended to agree in the Quackcast. Beauty is a highly relative concept dependent on many factors like symmetry, rarity, ethnicity, time, geographical area, economic conditions, exoticism, what you're used to, aspiration, age, clothes, hair, health, fashion etc.
Add to the fact that it's not really just based on what a person looks like but what they look like in relation to others around them.
There's also the much derided old aphorism that “beauty comes from the inside” or that it's based on personality. We discus the fact that this is surprisingly actually quite true! Personality, expression and the way a person conducts themselves hugely influences your perception of their beauty or lack of it. This was a very interesting and enlightening discussion.

This week Gunwallce has given us the theme to Mercenary Bound: This one has a slightly disco, early 1980s feel to it. It pumps along with the nice easy pace of a trained fighter, with a hint of threat and a touch of danger, like the music to a level of a side scrolling beat-em-up videogame.

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Featured comic:
Project Prince - http://www.theduckwebcomics.com/news/2017/dec/12/featured-comic-project-prince/

Special thanks to:
Gunwallace - http://www.virtuallycomics.com
PitFace - http://www.theduckwebcomics.com/user/PIT_FACE/
Banes - http://www.theduckwebcomics.com/user/Banes/
Kawaiidaigakusei - http://www.theduckwebcomics.com/user/kawaiidaigakusei/
Tantz Aerine - http://www.theduckwebcomics.com/user/Tantz_Aerine/
Ozoneocean - http://www.theduckwebcomics.com/user/ozoneocean

Featured music:
Mercenary Bound - http://www.theduckwebcomics.com/Mercenary_Bound/, by Angelajal91, rated T.

comment

anonymous?

ozoneocean at 8:49PM, Dec. 19, 2017

@Kim- Even the difference between cow udders and human boobs is cultural: we like what we know. Lots of straight men don't even care about boobs. And boobs can be totally different AND resemble cow udders... Huge swinging, fat, pendulous breasts, tinny little droopy bags, rounded ball shaped plastic fantastic beach bubbles... And I have to say though even though I'm attracted to boobs (not the giant ones or floppy ones either), they have zero to do with how beautiful I think a woman is.

Banes at 3:05PM, Dec. 19, 2017

I agree that the biological imperative "bubbles up" from the instincts to fuel our higher-brain reactions to "beauty". I was thinking, like KL referenced, the beauty of a rainbow or a work of architecture was NOT on our minds with this discussion. With more time we might have gotten there, but beauty in terms of other HUMANS was where we stayed - surely our biology helps make that much more compelling to think and talk about! Interesting subject, to be sure!

usedbooks at 2:38PM, Dec. 19, 2017

Tantz's theory about looks initially attracting people and personality keeping them sounds like a perfect analogy for webcomics attracting readers. ;)

usedbooks at 2:29PM, Dec. 19, 2017

When it comes to comics and roleplay and other "original characters," I end up with the worst eye rolls at the repetitive descriptions of all female characters being "beautiful" or men being handsome to some godlike degree. I'm sure it's part of the "wish fulfillment" phenomenon. My loathing makes me deliberately set out to describe (and, to the best of my ability, draw) characters that no one would describe as particularly attractive (although not usually ugly). It makes for a much more enjoyable creation process. Beauty is boring. If you are drawing someone short and curvy, someone twig-like, various age-wrinkles, scars, tattoos, blemishes, eye shapes, ears, skintone, etc., the world is so much more interesting. If some "gorgeous" character appears in a world where the protagonists are not, then it can also be more relateable. Such a character might be seen as "evil" when the reader is empathizing with the "plain" character.

KimLuster at 12:04PM, Dec. 19, 2017

I meant the ROOT of human beauty (not rainbows or sunsets, which I think are totally applicable to the 'merely-culture' notion). I'm simply suggesting that human beauty might be a little different... Of course, modern notions of beauty do have layers upon layers of cultural baggage (just as you say), but the bedrock upon which it is all piled seems to be biological. Without the subconcious mate-urge backing it up, is a male chest (with vestigial nipples), or a plump fatty female breast, or a butt, really beautiful?! To me, some hairless animals can look quite disgusting, and I've wondered if I didn't have the hard-wiring to see certain human traits as 'beautiful', would humans look rather horrid (does a Gorilla find us skinny hairless apes good-looking ?) I totally agree there is a cultural aspect to beauty - but with human beauty, the biology sorta puts a different spin on it. Most of us find human breast beautiful - most of us think cow udders are not!

ozoneocean at 7:42AM, Dec. 19, 2017

Biological imperatives have less to do with "beauty" and more to do with "is this a mate I can have sex with?". Most of what we imagine as being purely biological, genetically determined things in this modern world are 100% cultural. The need to have sex is a LOT more direct and FAR, far less selective. Basically you're looking for a willing partner, nothing more. If you have a choice then the younger and more fecund (in a female), or the more dominant and manly (in a male) the better. Think in the most basic, simplistic terms possible. Beauty on the other hand is massively more complex and biological imperatives are only a thin veneer in that context :)

bravo1102 at 7:28AM, Dec. 19, 2017

Human sexual selection is biologically determined with a cultural veneer. But some cultural preferences are decidedly anti-"good choice for reproduction".

KimLuster at 7:06AM, Dec. 19, 2017

At work so can't listen to cast. Did you guys discuss the root of human beauty being biological? From the blurb, I'm suspecting a couple of you might deny this (*wink*). But, there was a time (back before modern tech and culture, and our vast over-population) when reproducing was EXTREMELY important (survival of the species depended on it). There had to be a way to, at a glance, determine if a potential mate was fit and healthy enough to be viable. These characteristics we intuitively sense as beauty. Now, like many things rooted in biology, our modern human minds have taken it, twisted it, we use it for much more than just reproduction. That's okay! Needing to eat is also biological, but the art of modern cuisine shows how we can take 'an urge' and really run with it! Acknowledging the root isn't a bad thing!


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