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From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

"Fashion is a form of ugliness so intolerable that we have to alter it every six months." - Oscar Wilde
The term fashion applies to a prevailing mode of expression. Inherent in the term is the idea that the mode will change more quickly than the culture as a whole. The terms "fashionable" and "unfashionable" are employed to describe whether someone or something fits in with the current popular mode of expression. The term "fashion" is often used in a negative sense, as a synonym for fads and trends. In this sense, fashions are essentially a relief from boredom, or a distraction from important matters, for the idle rich. The term is also frequently used in a positive sense, as a synonym for glamour and style. In this sense, fashions are a sort of communal art, through which a culture examines its notions of beauty and goodness.
Fashions are social psychology phenomena common to many fields of human activity and thinking. The rises and falls of fashions have been especially documented and examined in the following fields:
Architecture, interior design, and landscape design
Arts and crafts
Body type, clothing or costume, cosmetics, grooming, and personal adornment
Dance and music
Forms of address, slang, and other forms of speech
Economics and spending choices, as studied in behavioral finance
Entertainment, games, hobbies, sports, and other pastimes
Politics and media, especially the topics of conversation encouraged by the media
Philosophy and spirituality (One might argue that religion is prone to fashions, although official religions tend to change so slowly that the term cultural shift is perhaps more appropriate than "fashion")
Technology, such as the choice of programming techniques
Of these fields, costume especially has become so linked in the public eye with the term "fashion". The more general term "costume" has been relegated by many to only mean fancy dress or masquerade wear, while the term "fashion" means clothing generally, and the study of it. This linguistic switch is due to the so-called fashion plates which were produced during the Industrial Revolution, showing novel ways to use new textiles. For a broad cross-cultural look at clothing and its place in society, refer to the entries for clothing and costume. The remainder of this article deals with clothing fashions in the industrialized world.

1 Fashion and variation
2 Fashion and the process of change
3 Fashion and status
4 Fashion Journalism
5 Ethical Fashion

Fashion and variation
Albrecht Dürer's drawing contrasts a well-turned out bourgeoisie from Nuremberg (left) with her counterpart from Venice, in 1496-97. The Venetian lady's high chopines make her taller.The Europe an idea of fashion as a personal statement rather than a cultural expression begins in the 16th century: ten portraits of German or Italian gentlemen may show ten entirely different hats. But the local culture still set the bounds, as Albrecht Dürer recorded in his actual or composite contrast of Nuremberg and Venetian fashions at the close of the 15th century (illustration, right). Fashions among upper-class Europeans began to move in synchronicity in the 18th century; though colors and patterns of textiles changed from year to year, (Thornton), the cut of a gentleman's coat and the length of his waistcoat, or the pattern to which a lady's dress was cut changed more slowly. Men's fashions derived from military models, and changes in a European male silhouette are galvanized in theatres of European war, where gentleman officers had opportunities to make notes of foreign styles: an example is the "Steinkirk" cravat (see Cravat).
The pace of change picked up in the 1780s with the publication of French engravings that showed the latest Paris styles. By 1800, all Western Europeans were dressing alike: local variation became first a sign of provincial culture, and then a badge of the conservative peasant (James Laver; Fernand Braudel).
Fashion in clothes has allowed wearers to express emotion or solidarity with other people for millennia. Modern Westerners have a wide choice available in the selection of their clothes. What a person chooses to wear can reflect that person's personality or likes. When people who have cultural status start to wear new or different clothes a fashion trend may start. People who like or respect them may start to wear clothes of a similar style.
Fashions may vary significantly within a society according to age, social class, generation, occupation and geography as well as over time. If, for example, an older person dresses according to the fashion of young people, he or she may look ridiculous in the eyes of both young and older people. The term "fashion victim" refers to someone who slavishly follows the current fashions (implementations of fashion).
One can regard the system of sporting various fashions as a fashion language incorporating various fashion statements using a grammar of fashion. (Compare some of the work of Roland Barthes.)
Thornton, Peter. Baroque and Rococo Silks.
This is an example list of some of the fads and trends of the 21st century: Capri pants, handbags, sport suits and sports jackets, ripped jeans, designer jeans, blazer jackets, and high-heeled shoes.

See also History of Western fashion

Fashion and the process of change
1913 cartoon on the dictates of fashion, from the old "Life" magazine.Fashion, by definition, changes constantly. The changes may proceed more rapidly than in most other fields of human activity (language, thought, etc). For some, modern fast-paced changes in fashion embody many of the negative aspects of capitalism: it results in waste and encourages people qua consumer s to buy things unnecessarily. Others, especially young people, enjoy the diversity that changing fashion can apparently provide, seeing the constant change as a way to satisfy their desire to experience "new" and "interesting" things. Note too that fashion can change to enforce uniformity, as in the case where so-called Mao suit s became the national uniform of Mainland China.
Materially affluent societies can offer a variety of different fashions, in clothes or accessories, to choose from. At the same time there remains an equal or larger range designated (at least currently) 'out of fashion'. (These or similar fashions may cyclically come back 'into fashion' in due course, and remain 'in fashion' again for a while.)
Practically every aspect of appearance that can be changed has been changed at some time. In the past, new discoveries and lesser-known parts of the world could provide an impetus to change fashions based on the exotic: Europe in the eighteenth or nineteenth centuries, for example, might favor things Turkish at one time, things Chinese at another, and things Japanese at a third. Globalization has reduced the options of exotic novelty in more recent times.
Fashion house s and their associated fashion designer s, as well as high-status consumers (including celebrities), appear to have some role in determining the rates and directions of fashion change.

Fashion and status
Fashion can suggest or signal status in a social group. Groups with high cultural status like to keep 'in fashion' to display their position;a luxury product with promised quality and limited availability is what they pursue. people who do not keep 'in fashion' within a so-called "style tribe" can risk shame.
Fashion-minded consumers are often characterized as 'sheep', dwelling too much on what others think and blindly following trends chronicled by the mass media (often based on public relations materials created by the manufacturers of fashionable goods); see the derogatory term fashionista).
Fashion Journalism
A major part of fashion is fashion journalism. Journalists comment about the latest fashions on the runway, as well as on the red carpet. Fashion critique and commentary can be found in magazines, on TV, and now more recently in blogs.

Ethical Fashion
Fashion has a great responsibility towards today’s main issues. The apparel industry uses toxic chemicals and materials among the most hazardous. The hidden costs of conventional fashion are, broadly, issues of pollution, waste and workers'rights. From haute couture to urban wear a new wave of recycled, reconditioned, organic and fair trade designs are challenging conventional fashion. Among these designers and new brands: Katharine Hamnet, American Apparel, or the new brand of fair trade sneakers Veja.

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From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Men and women wearing suits, an example of one of the many modern forms of clothing (from the 1937 Chicago Woolen Mills catalog)Clothing is defined, in its broadest sense, as coverings for the torso and limbs as well as coverings for the hands (gloves), feet (socks, shoes, sandals, boots) and head (hats, caps). Humans nearly universally wear clothing, which is also known as dress, garments, attire, or apparel. People wear clothing for functional as well as for social reasons. Clothing protects the vulnerable nude human body from the extremes of weather and other features of our environment. But every article of clothing also carries a cultural and social meaning.
Humans also decorate their bodies with makeup or cosmetics, perfume, and other ornamentation; they also cut, dye, and arrange the hair of their heads, faces, and bodies (see hairstyle), and sometimes also mark their skin (by tattoos, scarifications, and piercings). All these decorations contribute to the overall effect and message of clothing, but do not constitute clothing per se.
Articles carried rather than worn (such as purses, canes, and umbrellas) are normally counted as fashion accessories rather than as clothing. Jewelry and eyeglasses are usually counted as accessories as well, even though in common speech these items are described as being worn rather than carried.

1 Clothing as functional technology
2 Clothing as social message
2.1 Social status
2.2 Occupation
2.3 Ethnic, political, and religious affiliation
2.4 Marital status
2.5 Sexual interest
3 Sexual fetishes involving clothing
4 Religious habits and special religious clothing
5 Clothing materials
6 Clothing maintenance
7 The life cycle of clothing
8 Early 21st-century clothing styles
8.1 Mainstream Western or international styles
8.2 Regional styles
9 Origin and history of clothing
10 Future trends
11 Clothing industry

Clothing as functional technology
The practical function of clothing is to protect the human body from weather — strong sunlight, extreme heat or cold, and precipitation — as well as protect from insects, noxious chemicals, weapons, and contact with abrasive substances. In sum, clothing protects against anything that might injure the naked human body. Humans have shown extreme inventiveness in devising clothing solutions to practical problems.
See: armor, diving suit, swimsuit, bee-keeper's costume, motorcycle leathers, high-visibility clothing, and protective clothing.

Clothing as social message
Alim Khan's bemedaled robe is a social messageSocial messages sent by clothing, accessories, and decorations can involve social status, occupation, ethnic and religious affiliation, marital status and sexual availability, etc. Humans must know the code in order to recognize the message transmitted. If different groups read the same item of clothing or decoration with different meanings, the wearer may provoke unanticipated responses.
The manner of consciously constructing, assembling, and wearing clothing to convey a social message in any culture is governed by current fashion. The rate at which fashion changes varies; easily modified styles in wearing or accessorizing clothes can change in months, even days, in small groups or in media-influenced modern societies. More extensive changes, that may require more time, money, or effort to effect, may span generations. When fashion changes, messages from clothing change.

Social status
In many societies, people of high rank reserve special items of clothing or decoration for themselves as symbols of their social status. In ancient times, only Roman senators could wear garments dyed with Tyrian purple; only high-ranking Hawaiian chiefs could wear feather cloaks and palaoa or carved whale teeth. In China before the establishment of the republic, only the emperor could wear yellow. In many cases throughout history, there have been elaborate systems of sumptuary laws regulating who could wear what. In other societies (including most modern societies), no laws prohibit lower-status people from wearing high-status garments, but the high cost of status garments effectively limits purchase and display. In current Western society, only the rich can afford haute couture. The threat of social ostracism may also limit garment choice.

Military, police, and firefighters usually wear uniforms, as do workers in many industries. School children often wear school uniforms, while college and university students sometimes wear academic dress. Members of religious orders may wear uniforms known as habits. Sometimes a single item of clothing or a single accessory can declare one's occupation or rank within a profession — for example, the high toque or chef's hat worn by a chief cook.
See also undercover.

Ethnic, political, and religious affiliation
In many regions of the world, national costumes and styles in clothing and ornament declare membership in a certain village, caste, religion, etc. A Scotsman declares his clan with his tartan. A Sikh displays his religious affiliation by wearing a turban and other traditional clothing. A French peasant woman would have identified her village with her cap or coif.
Clothes can also proclaim dissent from cultural norms and mainstream beliefs, as well as personal independence. In 19th-century Europe, artists and writers lived la vie de Bohème and dressed to shock: George Sand in men's clothing, female emancipationists in bloomers, male artists in velvet waistcoats and gaudy neckcloths. Bohemians, beatniks, hippies, Goths, Punks and Skinheads have continued the (countercultural) tradition in the 20th-century West. Now that haute couture plagiarizes street fashion within a year or so, street fashion may have lost some of its power to shock, but it still motivates millions trying to look hip and cool.

Marital status
Hindu women, once married, wear sindoor, a red powder, in the parting of their hair; if widowed, they abandon sindoor and jewelry and wear simple white clothing. Men and women of the Western world may wear wedding rings to indicate their marital status. See also Visual markers of marital status.

Sexual interest
Some clothing indicates the modesty of the wearer. For example, many Muslim women wear head or body covering (see hijab, burqa or bourqa, chador and abaya) that proclaims their status as respectable women. Other clothing may indicate flirtatious intent. For example, a Western woman might wear extreme stiletto heels, close-fitting and body-revealing black or red clothing, exaggerated make-up, flashy jewelry and perfume to show sexual interest. A man might wear a tightly-cut shirt and unbutton the top buttons.
What constitutes modesty and allurement varies radically from culture to culture, within different contexts in the same culture, and over time as different fashions rise and fall. Moreover, a person may choose to display a mixed message. For example, a Saudi Arabian woman may wear an abaya to proclaim her respectability, but choose an abaya of luxurious material cut close to the body and then accessorize with high heels and a fashionable purse. All the details proclaim sexual desirability, despite the ostensible message of respectability.

Sexual fetishes involving clothing
Because clothing and adornment are closely related to ideas of human sexuality and sexual display, humans may develop clothing fetishes. They may be strongly aroused by the sight of another person wearing clothing and accessories they consider arousing or sexually exciting. Sometimes the object of clothing becomes the object of arousal itself. Fetishes have been documented in every culture and have been recorded throughout history. Common fetishes involving clothing include arousal by or involving shoes, leather, uniforms, or lingerie.
Fetishes vary as much as fashion. Sometimes the clothing itself becomes the object of fetish, such as in case with used girl panties in Japan. Some clothing manufacturers make fetish clothing, designed to arouse buyers with specialized tastes.

Religious habits and special religious clothing
Religious clothing might be considered a special case of occupational clothing. Sometimes it is worn only during the performance of religious ceremonies. However, it may also be worn everyday as a marker for special religious status.
See also, Religious vesture.

Clothing materials
Common clothing materials include:
Cloth, typically made of cotton, flax, wool, hemp, ramie, silk, or synthetic fibers
Down for down-filled parkas
Less-common clothing materials include:
Reinforcing materials such as wood, bone, plastic and metal may be used to stiffen garments such as corsets, bodices, or swimsuits.

Clothing maintenance
Clothing, once manufactured, suffers assault both from within and from without. The human body inside sheds skin cells and body oils, and exudes sweat, urine, and feces. From the outside, sun damage, damp, abrasion, dirt, and other indignities afflict the garment. Fleas and lice take up residence in clothing seams. Well-worn clothing, if not cleaned and refurbished, will smell, itch, look scruffy, and lose functionality (as when buttons fall off and zippers fail).
In some cases, people simply wear an item of clothing until it falls apart. Cleaning leather presents difficulties; one cannot wash bark cloth (tapa) without dissolving it. Owners may patch tears and rips, and brush off surface dirt, but old leather and bark clothing will always look old.
But most clothing consists of cloth, and most cloth can be laundered and mended (patching, darning, but compare felt).
Humans have developed many specialized methods for laundering, ranging from the earliest "pound clothes against rocks in running stream" to the latest in electronic washing machines and dry cleaning (dissolving dirt in solvents other than water).
In past times, mending was an art. A meticulous tailor or seamstress could mend rips with thread raveled from hems and seam edges so skillfully that the darn was practically invisible. When the raw material — cloth — was worth more than labor, it made sense to expend labor in saving it. Today clothing is considered a consumable item. Mass-manufactured clothing is less expensive than the time it would take to repair it. Many people prefer to buy a new piece of clothing rather than to spend their time mending old clothes. But the thrifty still replace zippers and buttons and sew up ripped hems.

The life cycle of clothing
Used, no-longer-wearable clothing was once desirable raw material for quilts, rag rugs, bandages, and many other household uses. It could also be recycled into paper. Now it is usually just tossed into the trash. Used but still wearable clothing can be sold at consignment shops, flea markets, online auction, or just donated to charity. Charities usually skim the best of the clothing to sell in their own thrift stores and sell the rest to merchants, who bale it up and ship it to poor Third World countries, where vendors bid for the bales and then make what profit they can selling used clothing.

Early 21st-century clothing styles
Western fashion has to a certain extent become international fashion, as Western media and styles penetrate all parts of the world. Very few parts of the world remain where people do not wear items of cheap, mass-produced Western clothing. Even people in poor countries can afford used clothing from richer Western countries.
However, people may wear ethnic or national dress on special occasions or if carrying out certain roles or occupations. For example, most Japanese women have adopted Western-style dress for daily wear, but will still wear expensive silk kimonos on special occasions. Items of Western dress may also appear worn or accessorized in distinctive, non-Western ways. A Tongan man may combine a used T-shirt with a Tongan wrapped skirt, or tupenu.
Western fashion, too, does not function monolithically. It comes in many varieties, from expensive haute couture to thrift store grunge.

Mainstream Western or international styles
International standard business attire — global in influence, just as business functions globally.
Haute couture
Casual wear

Regional styles
Clothing of Europe and Russia
Clothing in the Americas
United States mainstream fashion
For example: "Catalogue" fashion, regional styles such as preppy or Western wear.
United States alternative fashion
These fashions are often associated with fans of various musical styles.
See also Goth, Hippie, Grunge, Hip-hop, and Fetish-wear
Clothing in Asia
Clothing in Africa
Clothing in Oceania

Origin and history of clothing
A Neandertal clothed in furAccording to archaeologists and anthropologists, the earliest clothing probably consisted of fur, leather, leaves or grass, draped, wrapped or tied about the body for protection from the elements. Knowledge of such clothing remains inferential, since clothing materials deteriorate quickly compared to stone, bone, shell and metal artifacts. Archeologists have identified very early sewing needles of bone and ivory from about 30,000 BC, found near Kostenki, Russia, in 1988.
Ralf Kittler, Manfred Kayser and Mark Stoneking, anthropologists at the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology, have conducted a genetic analysis of human body lice that indicates that they originated about 107,000 years ago. Since most humans have very sparse body hair, body lice require clothing to survive, so this suggests a surprisingly recent date for the invention of clothing. Its invention may have coincided with the spread of modern Homo sapiens from the warm climate of Africa, thought to have begun between 50,000 and 100,000 years ago. However, a second group of reseachers used similar genetic methods to estimate that body lice originated about 540,000 years ago (Reed et al. 2004. PLoS Biology 2(11): e340). For now, the date of the origin of clothing remains unresolved.
Some human cultures, such as the various peoples of the Arctic Circle, until recently made their clothing entirely of furs and skins, cutting clothing to fit and decorating lavishly.
Other cultures have supplemented or replaced leather and skins with cloth: woven, knitted, or twined from various animal and vegetable fibres. See weaving, knitting, and twining.
Although modern consumers take clothing for granted, making the fabrics that go into clothing is not easy. One sign of this is that the textile industry was the first to be mechanized during the Industrial Revolution; before the invention of the powered loom, textile production was a tedious and labor-intensive process. Therefore, methods were developed for making most efficient use of textiles.
One approach simply involves draping the cloth. Many peoples wore, and still wear, garments consisting of rectangles of cloth wrapped to fit — for example, the Scottish kilt or the Javanese sarong. Pins or belts hold the garments in place. The precious cloth remains uncut, and people of various sizes can wear the garment.
Another approach involves cutting and sewing the cloth, but using every bit of the cloth rectangle in constructing the clothing. The tailor may cut triangular pieces from one corner of the cloth, and then add them elsewhere as gussets. Traditional European patterns for men's shirts and women's chemises take this approach.
Modern European fashion treats cloth much more prodigally, typically cutting in such a way as to leave various odd-shaped cloth remnants. Industrial sewing operations sell these as waste; home sewers may turn them into quilts.
In the thousands of years that humans have spent constructing clothing, they have created an astonishing array of styles, many of which we can reconstruct from surviving garments, photos, paintings, mosaics, etc., as well as from written descriptions. Costume history serves as a source of inspiration to current fashion designers, as well as a topic of professional interest to costumers constructing for plays, films, television, and historical reenactment.
See also History of Western fashion

Future trends
As technologies change, so will clothing. Many people, including futurologists have extrapolated current trends and made the following predictions:
Man-made fibers such as nylon, polyester, Lycra, and Gore-Tex already account for much of the clothing market. Many more types of fibers will certainly be developed, possibly using nanotechnology. For example, military uniforms may stiffen when hit by bullets, filter out poisonous chemicals, and treat wounds.
"Smart" clothing will incorporate electronics. Clothing may incorporate wearable computers, flexible wearable displays (possibly leading to fully animated clothing and some forms of invisibility cloaks), medical sensors, etc.
Present-day ready-to-wear technologies will presumably give way to computer-aided custom manufacturing. Low power laser beams will measure the customer; computers will draw up a custom pattern and execute it in the customer's choice of cloth.

Clothing industry
This section is a stub. You can help by adding to it.
The clothing industry is concentrated outside of western Europe and America, and garment workers often have to labor under poor conditions. Coalitions of NGO's, designers (Katharine Hamnett, American Apparel, Veja, Edun,...) and trade unions like the Clean clothes campaign (CCC) seek to improve these conditions as much as possible by sponsoring awareness-raising events, which draw the attention of both the media and the general public to the workers' conditions.

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Model (person)
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

A model is a person who acts as a human prop for purposes of art, fashion, advertising, pornography, etc.
Modeling is distinguished from other types of public performance, such as an acting, dancing or mime artistry, although the boundary is probably not well defined. Appearing in a movie or a play is generally not considered to be modeling, irrespective of the nature of the role. But many models can also describe themselves as actors. Fashion modeling is similar to acting, because the model has to express an emotion and feeling in their photographs. Glamour models are non artistic forms of modeling, which is mainly modeling for men's magazines.

1 Types of modeling
1.1 Fashion modeling
1.2 New age supermodels
1.3 Other types of models

Types of modeling

Fashion modeling
Professional print modelFashion models are used mainly to promote products (primarily clothing and accessories but almost anything else as well). There are two types of fashion models: high fashion and commercial. High fashion modeling is an art form of fashion. The photographer photographs the model in artistic themes that relate to the clothing promoted. The model uses their face and body to express different emotions required. High fashion is typical for work on campaigns, collections and magazine editorials for high fashion designers. These models are featured in high fashion magazines such as Vogue and Elle. Clothing designers traditionally show their new collections in an annual fashion show, for buyers, the fashion industry, and the general public. Fashion models walk the runway, and pose to display clothing. High Fashion models are generally 5 ft 9 in to 6' tall and are a very thin size 6-8 (120-122 lb for a 5 ft 9 in model.) They have 32-35" busts, 22-25" waists and 33-36" hips. High fashion models have strong and distinctive features.
Commercial modeling is generally respected less than high fashion modeling. There are different forms of commercial modeling: catalogue, cosmetics, commercial print, and swimsuit/lingerie. Catalogue models vary from height and weight, compared to high fashion models. Unlike high fashion models, commercial models include plus sized models. The size of the model depends on the clothing. i.e. Plus sized models model for plus sized clothing. These models appear in catalogues. Cosmetics models model for makeup companies such as Revlon and Maybelline. Unlike catalogue models, the majority of cosmetics models have high fashion modeling body requirements. Cosmetics models work for television commercials, magazine advertisements, newspaper advertisements, and billboards. Commercial print models promote clothing/products on billboards, buses, magazines and newspapers. Swimsuit/Lingerie models promote swimsuit/lingerie clothing in magazine ads, calenders, and magazines.
Model walking down catwalk"Runway modeling," also known as "catwalk modeling," is displaying fashion, and is generally performed by "fashion models". "Glamor modeling" usually includes elements of nudity or eroticism, while "nude modeling" describes any kind of modeling that is performed without clothes. Art school modeling (usually figure drawing or sculpture) involves posing for students of art. Some models specialize in having a particular portion of their body photographed, usually for advertisement purposes; thus "leg models" advertise hosiery, "hand models" advertise nail polish or gloves, "face models" or "beauty models" advertise products for skin and makeup, et cetera.
Supermodels are highly paid, household name fashion models. These models have done every type of fashion modeling, and conquered each. These female/male celebrity models have graced hundreds of magazine covers, catalogue, walked for hundreds of shows, and are muses to photographers and designers. Supermodels are paid over tens of thousands of dollars every day, even for a simple photoshoot. Notable supermodels include Janice Dickinson, Twiggy, Christie Brinkley, Cindy Crawford, Petra Nemcova, Kate Moss, Beverly Johnson, and Elle Macpherson, Tyra Banks, Naomi Campbell, and Gisele Bundchen.

New age supermodels
Supermodels of the 2000s have been ranging in variety, and the most notable supermodels of the moment are Gemma Ward, Lily Cole, Daria Werbowy, and Karolina Kurkova.

Other types of models
Fitness modeling centers on displaying an athletic and healthy physique. Fitness models resemble bodybuilders, but with less emphasis on muscle size.
Hip hop models

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From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

A nymph with morning glory flowers by Lefebvre. The image of the young woman is a classical symbol of human beauty, and a dominant theme in art.Beauty is an innate and emotional perception of life's affirmative aspects — vitality, health, fertility, happiness, and goodness — within objects in the perceived world. In its most profound sense, the beauty engenders a sense of positive reflection on the meaning of one's own being within nature. Beauty involves cognition of objects as having a balance and harmony with nature, which elicits in the viewer a sense and experience of attraction, affection, and pleasure. An "object of beauty" is anything in the perceived world which reveals a personally meaningful aspect of "natural beauty".
Religious and moral teachings often focus on the virtue and divinity of beauty, to assert natural beauty as an aspect of a spiritual beauty (i.e. truth) and define all self-centered or materialistic pretensions as based in ignorance. The ancient story of Narcissus for example deals with the distinction between beauty and vanity. In the modern context, the usage of beauty as means to promote an ideology or dogma has been a focus of societal debates which center around issues of prejudice, ethics, and human rights. The usage of beauty for purposes of commercialism is a controversial aspect of the "culture wars," wherin feminism typically claims such usage promotes a dogmatic (ie. "The Beauty Myth") rather than a virtuous understanding of beauty.
The presence of the self in any human context means that beauty is naturally based on its human meaning, wherein human beauty is often the dominant aspect of a greater natural beauty. The opposite of beauty is ugliness —ie. the perceived lack of beauty, which stimulates displeasure and engenders a deeper negative perception of the object.

1 Beauty and aesthetics
2 Theories of beauty
2.1 Genetic Beauty
2.2 Mathematical beauty
3 Effects of beauty in human society
4 References

Beauty and aesthetics
Understanding the nature and meaning of beauty is one of the key themes in the philosophical discipline known as aesthetics. The composer and critic Robert Schumann distinguished between two kinds of beauty, natural beauty and poetic beauty: the former being found in the contemplation of nature, the latter in man's conscious, creative intervention into nature. Schumann indicated that in music, or other art, both kinds of beauty appear, but the former is only sensual delight, while the latter begins where the former leaves off.
A common theory says that beauty is the appearance of things and people that are good. This has many supporting examples. Most people judge physically attractive human beings to be good, both physically and on deeper levels. The phrase "beauty is in the eye of the beholder," however, suggests that beauty is wholly subjective.

Many see natural beauty folded within petals of a rose."Beauty as goodness" has many significant counterexamples with no agreed solution. These include such things as a glacier, or a ruggedly dry desert mountain range. Most people find beauty in nature, despite it sometimes being "red in tooth and claw" (Tennyson). Another type of counterexample are comic or sarcastic works of art, which can be good, but are rarely beautiful.
It is well known that people's skills develop and change their sense of beauty. Carpenters may view an out-of-true building as ugly, and many master carpenters can see out-of-true angles as small as half a degree. Many musicians can likewise hear as dissonant a tone that's high or low by as little as two percent of the distance to the next note. Most people have similar aesthetics about the work or hobbies they've mastered.
Beauty as a quantifiable and measurable attribute places upon the trained and educated viewer a great deal of responsibility to tolerate defect. Thus, beauty is in the eye of the beholder only so far as the beholder tolerates defect. It is indeed subjective but in relation to one's intelligence and understanding.

Theories of beauty
The earliest theory of beauty can be found in the works of ancient Greek philosophers from the pre-Socratic period, such as Pythagoras. The extant writings attributed to Pythagoras reveal that the Pythagorean school, if not Pythagoras himself, saw a strong connection between mathematics and beauty. In particular, they noted that objects proportioned according to the golden ratio seemed more attractive. Some modern research seems to confirm this, in that people whose facial features are symmetric and proportioned according the golden ratio are consistently ranked as more attractive than those whose faces are not.
According to an ancient Indian definition, the beautiful is that which from moment to moment is always new. That is to say, it removes the mind from the world in which things grow old. But considering that the visual system allows us to see by extracting the stable, rather than changing, features of the environment on a momentary basis, this ancient definition seems hard to support.
Different cultures have deified beauty, typically in female forms. Here is a list of the goddesses of beauty in four different mythologies.
Aphrodite - Greek mythology
Freya - Norse Mythology
Lakshmi - Hindu mythology
Venus - Roman mythology
Beauty contests claim to be able to judge beauty. The millihelen is sometimes jokingly defined as the scientific unit of human beauty. This derives from the legend of Helen of Troy as presented in Christopher Marlowe's The Tragical History of Doctor Faustus, in which her beauty was said to have launched a thousand ships. The millihelen is therefore the degree of beauty that can launch one ship.

The foundations laid by Greek and Roman artists set the standard for male beauty in western civilization. The ideal Roman is the more masculine form of pure male beauty. He is ideally defined (similarly to today's classic male beauty) as: larger (over 6 feet tall), far more muscular, long-legged, with a full head of thick hair, a high and wide forehead - a sign of intelligence – wide-set eyes, a strong browline, a strong perfect nose and profile, a smaller mouth, and a strong jaw line. This combination of factors would, as it does today, produce an impressive "grand" look of pure handsome masculinity.
This ideal was striven for in early Hollywood. Today many actors who do not fit that classic mold, such as Brad Pitt and Matt Damon, are referred to as "beautiful" or "good-looking."

Genetic Beauty
In the 1990 study by Langlois & Roggmann it was found that an extremely average face was considered the most attractive by the study group. A composite face (one of both sexes) was generated by combining all of the most common features from a group of photographs. The result was a face devoid of any irregularities, and especially asymetrical features. It was suggested that the features represented may indicate a lack of genetic variation, promoting an indication of a particularly desirable mate. Interestingly, in the same study, combining racial features from ethnic groups in creating a meta-average composite face produced much the same results.
There are three basic contributors to genetic beauty: averageness, symmetry, and sexual dimorphism. Averageness is sexually preferable because it potentially reflects stability during development, heterozygosity, and functional optimization. Bilateral symmetry is sexually preferable because it potentially reflects the ability to respond reliably to environmental pressures. Sexual dimorphism is sexually preferable because it indicates sexual maturity, reproductive potential, and health. Males tend to prefer a feminized face in females, while females' preference varies depending on the phase of their menstrual cycle.[1]

Mathematical beauty
Main article: Mathematical beauty
Even mathematical formulae can be considered beautiful. eip + 1 = 0 is commonly considered one of the most beautiful theorems in mathematics (see Euler's identity). The poet Edna St. Vincent Millay wrote that "Euclid alone has looked on beauty bare" in an allusion to the austere beauty many people have found in the reasoning in the geometer Euclid's Elements.
Another connection between mathematics and beauty which played a prominent role in Pythagoras' philosophy was the way in which musical tones can be arranged in mathematical sequences, which repeat at regular intervals called octaves.
The so-called "Golden Mean", represented by the Greek letter Phi (f) and approximately equal to 1.618, has also been considered by many to be beautiful. It is also called the divine ratio and it is frequently found in nature. For example, in a nautilus shell, the ratio between each section is about 1.618. In Ancient Greece and Rome beauty was measured and based on similar principles. See Golden Ratio.

Effects of beauty in human society
A survey conducted by London Guildhall University of 11,000 people showed that (subjectively) good-looking people earn more. Less attractive people earned, on average, 13% less than more attractive people, while the penalty for overweight was around 5%.
The term "beautiful people" is used to refer to those who closely follow trends in fashion, physical appearance, food, dining, wine, automobiles, and real estate, often at a considerable financial cost. Such people often mirror in appearance and consumer choices the characteristics and purchases of wealthy actors and actresses, models, or other celebrities. The term "beautiful people" originally referred to the musicians, actors and celebrities of the Californian "Flower Power" generation of the 1960s. The Beatles reference the original "beautiful people" in their 1967 song "Baby You're a Rich Man" on the Magical Mystery Tour album. With the close of the 1960s, the concept of beautiful people gradually came to encompass fashionistas and the "hip" people of New York City, expanding to its modern definition. Beautiful people usually enjoy an image-based and/or financially-based prestige which enhances their aura of success, power, and beauty.

^ Rhodes, G. The Evolutionary Psychology of Facial Beauty. Annual Review of Psychology 57:199-226, (2005). PMID 16318594.
Wladyslaw Tatarkiewicz, A History of Six Ideas: an Essay in Aesthetics, translated from the Polish by Christopher Kasparek, The Hague, Martinus Nijhoff, 1980. (Traces the history of key aesthetics concepts, including art, beauty, form, creativity, mimesis, and the aesthetic experience.)

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