Beauty Up: Exploring Contemporary Japanese Body Aesthetics by Laura Miller

By Laura Miller

This attractive advent to Japan's burgeoning attractiveness tradition investigates quite a lot of phenomenon—aesthetic salons, eating regimen items, male good looks actions, and sweetness language—to discover why jap men and women are paying lots realization to their our bodies. Laura Miller makes use of social technological know-how and pop culture resources to attach breast improvements, eyelid surgical procedure, physique hair removing, nipple bleaching, and different good looks paintings to bigger problems with gender ideology, the culturally-constructed nature of attractiveness beliefs, and the globalization of attractiveness applied sciences and criteria. Her subtle therapy of this well timed subject means that new physique aesthetics are usually not kinds of "deracializiation" yet relatively cutting edge experimentation with identification administration. whereas spotting that those good looks actions are possibly a kind of resistance, Miller additionally considers the commodification of good looks, exploring how new beliefs and applied sciences are tying shoppers much more firmly to an ever-expanding attractiveness undefined. by means of contemplating attractiveness in a eastern context, Miller demanding situations frequent assumptions in regards to the universality and naturalness of attractiveness criteria.

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Although this type of hybrid beauty reflects domestically creolized innovation, critics often wrongly interpret it as an attempt to mimic Euroamerican appearance. Beauty Transformations Over a century ago, Darwin (1859) observed that people in diªerent parts of the world define human physical beauty according to local criteria. There is wide variation in traits considered to be aesthetically meaningful, often tied to a group’s economic or political ideology (Shilling 1993; Ortner and Whitehead 1981).

Yet modifications to existing beauty ideology were already well under way during the Meiji era (1868–1912) due to Japan’s increased contact with Europe and the West. By the early part of the twentieth century, portraiture indicates that among urban elites, features once thought to be unfeminine and harsh, such as a long or well-projected nose and a prominent chin, were now considered attractive. For example, a beauty of 1922 from the cover of a magazine for high school girls named Reijêkai (Society of young ladies) shows a thin, pale girl with huge eyes and soft, sloping shoulders (Fraser, Heller, and Chwast 1996: 109).

Archaic vocabulary for beauty types related 38 CHAPTER 1 to the eyebrow has recently been resuscitated. There’s “moth eyebrow” ( gabi), an antique term for a beauty with arched eyebrows, one whose eyebrows are as delicate as a moth’s antenna, and “willow brow” (ryñbi) to describe those with brows as lovely as the leaves of a willow. Given the availability of so many beauty products and services, the question of whether or not new beauty styles merely represent commercial indoctrination seems obvious, yet there is a complex interplay between capitalist social compulsion and individual resistance.

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