Sunday, May 19, 2013

What's New & a Few Notable Reads, Age & Weight...

Back in December I had started a weekly rendez-vous called Notable Reads of the Week, did eight of them, and then had to stop because I didn't have time to keep up with other blogs, my mind was elsewhere. See March' entries.

I think I have regained a sort of rhythm for blogging but I'm still somewhat out of the loop as far as catching up with what others are writing about. I haven't been on Bloglovin for quite sometime now for it would seem I'm still stuck in a kind of bubble.

The momentum was rather easy to get back and I'm thankful that it's helped me keep my mind off things, off my sadness. Now, moving forward, I may have to cut down since I'm looking for a full time job. This means that there will eventually be less entries and this informative section, which started as a weekly rendez-vous, may be modified to become a monthly one. For now there are no specific schedule for it.

What's new?

Some of you may have noticed that I've started to take my own pictures. Finally!

This is the camera I've been using so you can understand why my pictures are not the best but I think some have turned out ok. It doesn't enable me to do real close ups or great swatch images but it's what I have. Other pictures have been taken with my iPhone, also not the best option I know but it's easier to use than an iPad! :)

My new banner! 

I'm so happy about it and I hope you like it. It's from the Palace of Knossos on the island of Crete. For some reason, every time I see it it makes me smile. It could be seen as a representation of The Three Graces for that is what they remind me of. Charites from the Greek mythology, goddesses representing charm, beauty and creativity. For the Romans they where known as the Gratiae. These have been represented countless times in art, one of the most famous depiction being Primavera by Sandro Botticelli.

Primavera, 1482, tempera on wood
Uffizi Gallery, Florence

On the left, you can see The Three Graces in vaporous diaphanous white garments where they appear to be dancing. Many interpretations exist of this controversial painting and you can learn more about it by clicking on the different highlighted links.

Ladies in Blue
Two frescoes named “Ladies in Blue” and “Ladies in Blue” were found in the Palace of Knossos during an archaeological excavation Again, they have open clothing on top, which exposes their breasts, and have on necklaces, bracelets and hair ornaments. In “Ladies in Blue,” one of the women is holding a necklace in her hand. (Oxford). They all wear slight smiles on their faces, have very small waists and one is turning her head in a different direction. They hold their heads high, and seem to have an air about them, as if they know they are important and want to show it off. They could be Goddesses, or they could simply be women with a high place in society.

What's interesting is that I fell in love with this image without knowing it was from the Palace of Knossos. There's a link with Icaria. You can read about it here.

This week this image got me into thinking about aging and weight. Bizarre I know but let's just say that inspiration comes from weird places sometimes.

The idea of beauty is not recent as can be seen in "Ladies in Blue". Whether real women posed for the image or not is irrelevant. It's idealistic, same as countless others produced through the ages, whether artistic impression or sponsored by admirers of beauty, they are everywhere. They are still produced today but in some cases they seem to have been out staged by advertisement and magazine covers using supermodels. These are to be the new muses, the new ideal of beauty but keep in mind, like in painting and sculpture, they are, for the most part, fake. Photoshop seems to be the new "artist"!

Here's for a dose of reality...

Every Spring we see the same phenomenon. On magazine covers, in the papers and even in television commercials. The launch of miraculous anti-aging beauty products (these are rather constant), exercise machines and diet pills with the promise that you will look better, younger, thinner for Summer!

Doesn't she look good... for her age?  Or  She looks amazing! Did she lose some weight?

Ever heard those before?

These are the kind of statements that just make me go nuts! According to a large part of society, young and thin is the way to go. Problem is, we all age and not everyone can maintain a thin look in a healthy fashion. Wrinkles will appear and for most, the tummy will lose it's firmness. Our metabolism changes, that's just the way it is.

So, if we have a few eye wrinkles or is we are a little round at the hips, does that mean that we are less valuable, less attractive or God forbid, less intelligent? Of course no but sometimes according to magazine covers one would think so.

I have lost a lot of weight recently. The two pairs of jeans I used to wear where falling to my hips, I'm not joking. I got a new pair. Seems I'm going to have to get a new one, again since the one I bought a little over a month ago is now loose. No I'm not on a diet and I'm not sick. It happened due to what I was and still am going through. Recently I've been told "You look good, you lost some weight?" What? Didn't I look good before? I was also told a few times, "You don't look your age!" Although this in a way is nice to hear, it's still a bit frustrating.

One would think that maintaining a "youthful" appearance over 40 is worthy of getting a medal or some kind of badge. I believe more in a "healthy" appearance but that doesn't translate so well in the "beauty" business. Even supermodels get "thinned" out and their expression lines are removed with Photoshop for magazine covers. Some of them are barely 20! So, if even they are not good enough how can the rest of us feel confident in the way we look?

This is just crazy!

So many women who would be viewed by society as overweight find themselves beautiful and they are happy and they don't care if their expression lines have little wrinkly brothers and sisters. Ever notice the glow a cancer survivor has? 40, 50, 60 years old, it doesn't matter, these women are beautiful and that's with or without makeup. They find themselves beautiful and are happy to be alive!

So, wrinkles aside, what is considered overweight by the beauty industry? A size 10!!! This means that unless you're 12, the majority or women are overweight. No wonder it's less frustrating to buy fragrances and shoes!

Here are some articles I've stumbled upon recently.

About aging...

Aaaand I'm Officially Starting to Use Eye Cream, by Megan Rabbitt on Total Beauty, May 3rd.
This "article" is about aging sisters. Every year, for 36 years, the husband of one of the sisters, photographer Nicholas Nixon took a picture of the four of them together. It starts in 1975 when the age of the Brown Sisters  ranged from 15 to 25. On most they are not smiling, they just pose for the camera. If one looks at the first and then clicks on the last picture it can be somewhat of a shock but if you click on them in order, you see life going by.

This is what happens to every one of us regardless of social status. Rabbitt writes she found the passage of years "nauseating". That comment troubled me. The website is called Total Beauty and aging is part of that in my opinion. She points out that the sisters don't smile. My view is that the photographer wanted to make a statement about the passage of time and smiling wasn't necessary to get his point across. They are neutral, we don't know what life threw at them. Children, sickness, loss, we just don't know. In a way, the mystery of life is presented to us visually and it makes us wonder. These are real, period.

What I find interesting, the comments left by readers have nothing to do with the diaporama. It's almost as if they where "selected". Could it be the author was told to get real and not be so judgemental? Also, the presentation of the article has changed since the first time I saw it on May 6th. Having read so many things since then I can't tell if the article was modified per say but it did appear different. You can learn more about the work of Nicholas Nixon, here.

About weight...

Why The Whole Concept Of Bikini Body Is Ridiculous by Gio, Beautiful With Brains, May 3rd.
Here is the comment I left. This is a must read!
*Stands up and cheers Gio* Great article! I find it interesting that you’ve included Jennifer Love Hewitt since a few years back she was “bashed” because she had gained a bit of weight and was showing some dreaded cellulite! In fact it’s obvious here that her picture was retouched. Tyra Banks was also thrown under the bus for having gained weight! Because of these articles, these covers, I did grow up with insecurities and I still have some today. I keep an eye on my daughter and talk a lot with her. So far I thinks she gets it. Everyone is different and there are no “ugly” bodies. Health should be glorified not beauty, at least what is perceived as beauty these days. Remember Rubens, Renoir, Matisse just to name these, and their representation of women, beauty? Quite different than what we are seeing today. So no, I don’t agree with the concept of “Bikini Body”! Stupid and condescending, especially given the fact that every single picture shown has been retouched!

Elle Quebec's Plus-Size Cover Model Is Justine Legault. Huff Post Style Canada, May 3rd.
Now that's what I call a statememt! Elle Québec, I can only stand up and cheer, again! Bravo Justine!

Model chooses normal weight, becomes hero for normal women. On Now MSN, May 18th.
How model Jennie Runk decided enough was enough and became a plus-size model. Again, a size 10 is considered plus size which in my book is just crazy.

Finally, food for thought...

WTF Woman? by Rowena, Beauty and the Bulshit, May 4th.
No comments necessary except for I too believe!

Justine Legault on the cover of Elle Québec

I hope you have a great week! Now go get a nice tall glass of lemonade! xoxo

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