Beauty Across Cultures

For Many Muslim Women, Head Scarves A Matter of Personal, Not Political, Conviction From Radio Free Europe, Kathleen Knox: “An item of clothing worn by many Muslim women has become a hot political topic in Europe recently, as France prepares to ban head scarves from public schools, along with other overt religious symbols. There’s been anger and protests from Muslims around the world. What is the basis for the wearing of the hijab and other forms of Islamic dress?”

The Ideals of Motherhood – Aesthetics of Form and Function Nitin Kumar: This fascinating article looks at why so many voluptuous and beautiful women figure in the traditional art of India. The very early relationship of the suckling infant to the maternal breast and its later manifestation in Indian art is explored. A fascinating read with some lovely graphics.

French tussle over Muslim head scarf is positive push for women’s rights Cheryl Benard: “French President Jacques Chirac has been sharply criticized by Muslim clerics around the world for his recent call for a ban on the Islamic head scarf, or hijab , in French public schools. Mr. Chirac’s move has been attacked as a curtailment of personal freedom and an assault on Islam. But the proposed ban has also kicked loose a debate among Muslims everywhere. Indeed, a growing number of Muslims worldwide are coming forward to say the hijab is not a valid symbol either of freedom or Islam.” From The Christian Science Monitor

Beauty In Japan: The Geisha Sofia Patterson: The Geisha, primarily women trained in the traditional arts of Japan, are renowned throughout the world for their beauty, poise, talent, witty conversation and confidentiality. This article discusses aspects of Geisha life and history. Find out what Maiko, shamisen, Tachikata, Jikata, and hanamachimean.

Iran: Generation Gap Widening As Conservatives Try To Enforce Islamic Social Codes From Radio Free Europe. Golnaz Esfandiari: “It’s hard to have fun in Iran — that is, if you’re one the more than 45 million people under the age of 35 looking for casual ways to socialize with members of the opposite sex. Conservative authorities in the Islamic Republic are taking steps to shut down Western-style establishments that proved popular gathering places for young Iranians. But social experts say such moves may only end up widening the value gap between conservatives and Iran’s young majority.”

Beauty Under Islam Kasey West: When the Miss World Beauty Pageant was held in Nigeria in 2002 it led to rioting and over 200 deaths. Beauty and the role of women within Islam are controversial. Can Islamic ideas about beauty be reconciled with modern Western values or is the gulf just too great?

Chinese Beauty Through the Changes of Time Kasey West: A fascinating account of the history of beauty standards in China from the 1st century B.C. to the 21st century. Some great photographs too.

The Maharishi Ayurveda Approach to Beauty and Skin Care Nancy Lonsdorf M.D.: Find out about the Maharishi’s Ayurveda approach to beauty. Information about aging and different skin types is included.

Be Beautiful and Carry a Big Stick: Physical Attractiveness and the Maasai Aesthetic Robert Biswas-Diener: The Masai of Kenya find attributes, such as carrying a big stick, an essential part of their aesthetic of beauty. Their concept of beauty differs considerably from that of most Americans and they seem to be happier.

Navigating the Politics of Weaves and Extensions Elaine Allen: Afro-Americans, weaves and extensions are a political minefield. Read about the views of one Afro-American woman.

Ties that Bind: Wang Ping Doesn’t Wear High Heels Anymore Jennifer Thaney:Wang Ping, a Macalester College professor, only wears oversized shoes and hiking boots. Her research for her book, Aching for Beauty, which is an historical and sociological study of Chinese footbinding affected her deeply.

Sublime: New Works by LIng Jian The Berlin based Chinese artist Ling Jian is having an interesting exhibition of his work at the Courtyard Gallery in Beijing. In his portraits of androgynous, religious-secular, Asian-European figures he seems to be an artist for our times.

Ascension Ken Tittle: moving work interspersing comments from several disabled Mexican women about how their disabilities affected their sense of attractiveness and sexuality with a poem by Ken Tittle. From Mariposa Ministry.

Black Beauty Aïda Croal: Black beauty reflected in a Western gaze.

Beauty and Desire in Edo Japan Peter Symonds: Ukiyo-e, “pictures of the floating world.”

Chinese Foot-Binding Jim A. Crites: Over a thousand years a billion Chinese women endured the torment of footbinding in the name of beauty.

Love in Black and White Aida Croal: Black, white, beauty and interracial love.

What Do You See When You Look in the Mirror Monica Mehta: An Asian American view of the “beauty culture.”

The Global Beauty Report: Focus on Asia Lubna Khalid: Asian-American women and difficulties in finding the right cosmetics.

Skin Games: Color and Skin Tone in the Black Community Jimi Izrael: Shades of black in a white dominated beauty culture.

The Bizarre and the Beautiful Valerie Roybal: With beautiful or bizarre effects, people throughout human history have sought to adorn, enhance, and alter their bodies.

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