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“Beauty is in the eye of the beholder”, so the saying goes but it's absolutely true. There is a layered subjectivity to it based on personal preference, the cultural standards of your community, the ethnic traits of you and your peers, prevailing global fashions in appearance, the dominant archetypes in the media and so on. All these things combine to form our personal subjective ideas of beauty. You can see this yourself if you look at paintings, statues, masks, frescoes and other artifacts that have been produced by all the diverse cultures on earth over thousands of years: there IS no standard, eternal, objective of beauty.
Years ago a plastic surgeon thought he'd cracked the secret. He wrote a book about the idea of a mathematical, objective beauty model based on symmetry. Of course any artist could have told him it was absolute nonsense for any number of reasons, but popular books based of pseudo-science gain a lot of traction among the majority of people that don't tend to be able to think too hard about these questions and crave easy solutions.
There are two competing, rudimentary forces at the base of the idea of beauty:
One part is based on conformity: becoming the most generic, simplistic, ordinary, average version of something. Symmetry is a big part of that. This is what that sort of cosmetic surgeon specialises in. We can surmise this comes from the drive to find things that look like us (i.e. our tribe), and is the best representation of “us”.
The second part is based on novelty: What makes this person stand out, what makes them different and unusual.
And then cultural standards, popculture, fashion and many other factors add layers of complexity to these.
*A note on symmetry:
Part of the mistaken notion that inflated its role in “beauty” was the idea that it's an indicator of health or “good genes”, which is false. The reason for symmetry in bodies is just to make the coding simpler. Recent studies have confirmed this: just like when an artist wants to save time by using a mirror or copy, pasting and flipping to make a face or body, nature does it for the same reason.
We talk about it in much greater detail in the Quackcast! Who do you find beautiful?
This week Gunwallace has given us the theme to Phineus Teen Wizard - Thrumming 80s groove. Synthesised neon soft pink glow in the midnight blue fuzz. We’re going back in time… roll up the sleeves on your red leather jacket, slip on your fingerless gloves, lace up your hightops, get on your BMX bike and peddle back through the decades to 1983!
Topics and shownotes
The Faceless Comics Set 1 - https://www.theduckwebcomics.com/news/2022/nov/15/featured-comic-the-faceless-comics-set-1/
Phineus Teen Wizard - https://www.theduckwebcomics.com/Phineus_Teen_Wizard/ - by Phinmagic, rated E.
Special thanks to:
Gunwallace - http://www.virtuallycomics.com
Ozoneocean - https://www.theduckwebcomics.com/user/ozoneocean
Kawaiidaigakusei - https://www.theduckwebcomics.com/user/kawaiidaigakusei
Banes - https://www.theduckwebcomics.com/user/banes
Tantz Aerine - https://www.theduckwebcomics.com/user/Tantz_Aerine/
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