Helen of Troy is thought to be one of the most beautiful women in the universe. I will admit I know little of the Greek myth other than that - and I have no idea what the concept of 'beauty' was back then. But, the myth of Helen of Troy perseveres and the world continues to think of her beauty as awe-inspiring.
So, too, we hear people marvel at the Mona Lisa and her enigmatic smile - often calling her, "beautiful." One expects in her day, she did exude the beauty given to women of class.
In today's world, neither woman would likely be labelled beautiful. These are women who appear, to me, at least, to be bare of face (no false eyelashes, or lipstick, or mascara, or under-eye concealer)... these are women who were confident, worshipped, and appreciated, for their femininity - more than the length of their eyelashes, or the color of their lips.
Mind you, I know women from time immemorial have used aids to enchance their cheeks, and lips, and hair - the better to appeal to the men in their lives. However, for the most part, women born before the acceptance of full-face makeup relied on other means to be enhancing, and were often criticized if they stooped to artificial means to be more beautiful. Of course, no woman of the day would have been seen with... spectacles (glasses, to you and me: remember: Dorothy Parker said it best: men seldom make passes at girls who wear glasses.)
Enter - the current discussion over Hillary Clinton appearing bare-faced, with glasses, on camera.
Apparently, if a woman in politics goes on TV wearing her glasses, without makeup, she is... ugly. And, we do not tolerate ugly in this country! Women beware - ugly is not accepted! You will put on your makeup and you will dress nicely (in a dress or tight jeans, thank you - or however your husband dictates, or the other men in your life say you should dress) and you will dye your hair and you will wear sparkly lipstick and eyeshadow and ... you will pay attention to the fact that without all of this you might scare someone. Like, a man who cares nothing about any of those things when it comes to HIS appearance.
Let's see what Jezebel had to say about this, online: "The picture of Clinton's face, which Matt Drudge helpfully tagged "Au Naturel," features the smiling former First Lady's countenance naked but for black framed glasses and red lipstick. I guess we're all supposed to gasp and feel faint, to acknowledge that yes, Hillary Clinton is a real live human with monstrous, terrible flaws, and this is the pictorial proof of that. And now she should hang her head in shame and Matt Drudge wins, and he's automatically King of America forever."
I take umbrage with the "real live human with monstrous, terrible flaws"... really? Is that the best you can do? How about, "I guess we're all supposed to gasp and feel faint because Hillary Clinton cares more about her role than her 'looks.' Maybe we're only supposed to notice her appearance, forgetting to listen to her words."
I know... the idea was to support Clinton for being... herself. But, I was a bit put off by the words "monstrous" and "flaws" as if going without makeup makes a woman... a monster. Yes, I know they were purposely put there, I think they create more problems than they were supposed to solve.
Clinton was elegant, and pointed in her response to the way she looks: "Hillary Clinton, for her part, is unruffled. She told CNN, "I feel so relieved to be at the stage I'm at in my life right now. Because you know if I want to wear my glasses I'm wearing my glasses. If I want to wear my hair back I'm pulling my hair back. You know at some point it's just not something that deserves a lot of time and attention. And if others want to worry about it, I let them do the worrying for a change."
For the record - she looks fine, to me. I've never been a big fan (I think she should have booted her husband to the curb long ago, and I think she sets a bad example for other women...but that's just me), but I totally respect her for being strong, confident, and relaxed. I saw her interview on CNN and it gave me a smile.
Because, in the end, I'm no spring chicken and while I like to dress up and put my face on now and then, for the most part... I just wear sweats, flip-flops, and little or no make-up. If you don't like who I am (this is me- the gal without makeup), all your "ugly" talk isn't going to change me. I've lived long enough not to care about what you think. Ugly is as ugly does, as my Mom used to say.
Wait a minute - that was, "Beauty is as beauty does," meaning... it's what you do that counts, not what you look like. Thanks, Mom. <this is my Mom - she's 82 and totally gorgeous>