The Face of Beauty

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People Magazine recently named Gwyneth Paltrow “The Worlds Most Beautiful Woman” in an issue dated April 4, 2013.   Given the massive amount of backlash the magazine received for having made this assessment, it is safe to assume the old adage still stands: Beauty is (indeed) in the eye of the beholder.  That being said, there are other factors which, standing apart from personal preference, play a significant role in how we as a society define beauty.  These factors are known as trends.

In much the same way as the fashion industry, the beauty industry is a revolving door of trends - constantly changing and imposing upon our perception of what is beautiful.  Every decade brings about new a new challenge that we either revolt against (think 1960’s hippie chic and free love) or find opportunity in (the working women and power suits of the 1980’s), resulting in an inevitable shift in how we, as women, wish to be perceived. The women we idolize as having successfully lived-up to the challenge by portraying themselves in a manner that is congruent to the current shift in trends become the new faces of beauty...at least for a given decade.

Over the past five decades, beauty trends have come and gone and, on occasion, have come back again.  With every transition, the image we hold in our heads of the ideal woman has been tweaked and the woman we long to look more like changes.  The following women represent this evolution of beauty.

Farrah Fawcett – 1970’s
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There was an effortlessness that accompanied the beauty of the 70s – at least during daylight hours.  Still reeling from the hippie phase of the late 60’s, a slender frame accentuated with slight curves and a sun-kissed glow was the sought after look.  Farrah perfected it all.

Michelle Pfieffer – 1980’s
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The women of the 80’s wanted it all.  It was no longer enough to be slim, women needed to be toned as well. Strong, natural brows accompanied by shocking make up shades and overdone hair were common place, but the women that could remove it all and still demand our attention stood out above the crowd.  Insert, Michelle Pfiefer.

Cindy Crawford and Kate Moss – 1990’s
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The 90’s were the decade of the super model.  Cindy Crawford, a gorgeous brunette with a strong, athletic and curvy build represented what most women (and men) perceived at the time as absolute perfection.  However, there was also another beauty trend on the rise.  The desire to be fit was slowly being replaced with a desire to be extremely thin.  Kate Moss, a waifish blonde beauty was a pioneer of this dangerous beauty ideal.

Angelina Jolie – 2000’s
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The beginning of a new era pushed everything to the limits.  Long legs, thin arms, impossibly slight frames and voluptuous breasts were all equally coveted.  However, the reality was that apart from a select few such as Angelina Jolie, the majority of women could never attain such a radical perception of beauty without pricey enhancements.  Hence, this decade also saw a large rise in the number of women opting for cosmetic surgery.

Beyoncé – Today
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While most women today still would prefer a smaller waistline, there seems to be a much greater emphasis on the importance of overall health in terms of beauty.  Such may be why People chose Gwyneth Paltrow as this year’s Most Beautiful.  Here new book “It’s All Good” boasts about the benefits of a lifestyle that excludes itself from anything which may be considered harmful to ones body – meat, sugar, sun – you name it, its out! However, a more agreeable selection would likely be last year’s chart topper, Beyoncé. Her incredibly toned physic, noticeable curves, glowing skin and seemingly well-rounded lifestyle are without question the new face of beauty.*

*This article was featured in the July 2013 issue of Bello Mag and may also be viewed here: http://issuu.com/outnext/docs/bello48/125?e=1159494/3878518