I am not sure about everyone, but some times I sit in front of my computer and reflect on life (I think most people call it procrastination). Most of the time when I do this, I think about one person: my grandmother. My grandmother passed away 5 years ago, but I constantly think about her because of all the hardships she went through to support her family and her survival through the chaos of living in China after World War II.
I remember during the first couple of classes, Professor lectured on China and footbinding. Although my great grandmother was dead by the time I was born, my dad was old enough to remember her. My great grandmother had her foot binded as a child and lived her entire life with "tiny feet". My dad and aunts always felt sorry for her because she could not walk by her 60s. I used to believe that footbinding was a way to keep woman in a "subservient domestic state ... [and] ...rendered them sex objects to satisfy certain perverted erotic fantasies of men" (Ko, 1997). However, my relatives never remember an instance when my great grandmother complained about not walking. She embraced it and thought it was a shame that footbinding is lost. For her, footbinding was a beauty and class symbol and she continued with her footbinding practices until her death. So what is beauty? Not only is it determined by class, but also defined by the people living it. Like fashion, beauty is an idea and changes with time. When fat was considered a sign of beauty, people followed it. Now that it no longer holds true in our society, new ideas of beauty takes it's place.
People try so hard to achieve "beauty" today. From weight lost pills to diets to buying expensive (or overpriced) products to achieve the "look". Like the women in "Language of Dress in the Middle East", buying the most expensive clothes is just a way to achieve beauty for those of that socioeconomic class. Beauty has become a class label. Maybe paying hundreds and thousands of dollars to diet to that 5'8" 110 look, is a way to achieve that socioeconomic class we all aspire to be in - the upper class Dior, Gucci, LV carrying gents and ladies.
On the same note, I read an article about Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie's plans for the birth of their twins. 70 million dollars mansion, flying Angelina in a helicopter to a nearby hospital...WOW...and still looking stick thin. I think everyone is so jealous and envious of them because there were so much bashing about them...you can only wish you were them!