Monday, December 30, 2019

How To Be A Student of Aesthetics

Walter Pater writes in the preface to The Renaissance: Studies in Art and Poetry that the aim of the true student of aesthetics is to define beauty. 

And that to see the object (e.g., poetry, literature, pictures, etc.) as it really is is the aim of all true criticism. And one does this by asking the following questions:

"What is this [object of art] to me?"
"What effect does it really produce on me?"
"Does it give me pleasure?" and if so, what sort or degree of pleasure?"
"How is my nature modified by its presence, and under its influence?"

Consequently, the abstract definition of beauty will be of no interest to the student of aesthetics.

Sunday, December 15, 2019

Instagram Face: Full Lips & Big Buttocks ARE Attractive

Jia Tolentino relates in her New Yorker piece "THE AGE OF INSTAGRAM FACE: How social media, FaceTune, and plastic surgery created a single, cyborgian look" that in the last decade there has been a: 

[...] gradual emergence, among professionally beautiful women, of a single, cyborgian face. It’s a young face, of course, with poreless skin and plump, high cheekbones. It has catlike eyes and long, cartoonish lashes; it has a small, neat nose and full, lush lips. 

A class of celebrity plastic surgeons has emerged on Instagram, posting time-lapse videos of injection procedures and before-and-after photos, which receive hundreds of thousands of views and likes. 

According to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, Americans received more than seven million neurotoxin injections in 2018, and more than two and a half million filler injections. That year, Americans spent $16.5 billion on cosmetic surgery; ninety-two per cent of these procedures were performed on women. 

Thanks to injectables, cosmetic procedures are no longer just for people who want huge changes, or who are deep in battle with the aging process—they’re for millennials, or even, in rarefied cases, members of Gen Z. Kylie Jenner, who was born in 1997, spoke on her reality-TV show “Life of Kylie” about wanting to get lip fillers after a boy commented on her small lips when she was fifteen.

1900 William H. West Minstrel Show Poster

But what is additionally (extremely) interesting about these developments is that not too long ago, having "
lush lips" was proclaimed to be unattractive and was used to racially stereotype African Americans. But thanks to the Kardashians, non-whites are free to openly admit that full lips and buttocks are actually attractive.

Kylie Jenner Lip Fillers | Before and After

Coincidentally, this weekend's edition of the metro (New York City edition) included an article on the spike in lip injections around the holidays.