What Is Beauty Really?
Is it truly in the eyes of the beholder? Or is our society defining what it means to be beautiful?
Clear skin and straight hair might make a woman more attractive in Japan. On the border of Burma and Thailand, members of the Kayan tribe wear brass rings around their necks, elongating it. The shiny brass rings are the ultimate sign of female elegance and status.
For the women of the Karo tribe in southern Ethiopia scars cut onto their stomachs is considered beautiful. In India, a woman with a dot of red powder on the face—known as a kumkum—is also thought to make a woman more attractive.
In the Middle Eastern country Oman, some women also wear a burqa, which veils the face. It’s used as a sign of beauty. In the United States and many countries around the world, thin is the standard when it comes to beauty. But in Mauritania, West African plump is sexy!
Unfortunately, many countries including the US go through excessive lengths to alter their bodies, hair, faces and even going as far as extracting and modifying bones.
It is quite obvious that our society plays a major role in perpetuating a negative attitude towards aging. Commercials, magazines, advertising, and even doctors do an effective job of marketing “age defying” products.
I will never understand why growing old and natural beauty is considered taboo, particularly in the United States.
In spite of this, even while being bombarded with such negativity, we must take responsibility for embracing our true selves and not look to the media to do it for us.
When we do, we will help the younger generation develop a healthier view of aging.
Thankfully other artist and some companies are promoting material to encourage positive self-esteem. I believe we are at the peak of a natural beauty evolution.
It is my hope that my book, Feminine Transitions, will be an aide in this progress by bringing forth a movement of change in the confidence of females in all age groups.
As girls and women we experience the bulk of pressure when it comes to accepting our physical appearance. We’re constantly told by society that our bodies, our faces, our skin, our graying hair, our weight and height are not good enough.
My mission is to foster a woman’s love for herself and encourage women to believe in their own beauty, despite what we are being fed. We must also acknowledge that our mind may, at times, be our only culprit.
Adapted from “Let your Light Shine Through: Celebrate Your Natural Beauty,”published in Advocating Creatively: Stories of Contemporary Social Change Pioneers. http://advocatingcreatively.com/
Alyscia Cunningham is a lifestyle photographer. Her main focus is human images and how it can be incorporated with light and shadow. She tends to use dramatic lighting in many of her images because it fosters greater interaction between you and the photographs, as you tend to analyze it a little more. Likewise, the use of close ups creates a sense of intimacy and usually draws a greater emotional reaction from you.
"Life on the planet is born of woman" Adrienne Rich
For women, aging brings with it an inner grace and beauty that is more than skin deep. From birth to old age, women transition through many physical, psychological, and emotional phases that are recorded on their faces.
Feminine Transitions: A Photographic Celebration of Natural Beauty is a refreshing and inspiring, full-color, hard cover, book of photography. Its pages present a series of portraits that reveal the elegance and subtly honest beauty of female faces between the ages of 7 weeks and 103 years. Copies will be available and mailed in September 2013.
Never before has a book so vividly projected the images of women in all stages of life in a way that reveals who they really are as women.Feminine Transitions unmasks women and exquisitely demonstrates that young is beautiful, old is beautiful, and natural is beautiful.
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