Unit 3: Influences of Beauty and Art
This unit guide will explore how beauty and art🎨 influences quality of life and values in Spanish-speaking communities.
How do ideals of beauty and aesthetics influence daily life? / ¿Cómo influyen los ideales/ modelos de belleza y estética en la vida diaria?
How does art🎨 both challenge and reflect cultural perspectives? / ¿Cómo el arte desafía y a la vez refleja las perspectivas culturales?
How do communities value beauty and art🎨? / ¿Cómo valoran las comunidades la belleza y el arte?
How is art🎨 used to record history? / ¿Cómo se usa el arte para documentar la historia?
3.1: Definition of Beauty in Daily Life
What type of woman or man do you consider exotic? Every day, we are bombarded with messages, both overt and subtle, about beauty ideals. These messages influence us daily on what to buy and what to do to reach our own version of ideal beauty. The same thing goes for aesthetics—the philosophical outlook on good taste and appreciation of beauty.
Beauty Standards Before
Historically, Latin media representation has generally tended to be Eurocentric due to the long history of colonization dominating the local cultures. Oppression was a driving force of controlling people of color and indigenous populations which invaded the beauty industry just like other social and political spheres. The whitewashing of beauty ads and art was common because the ruling class who could afford to create the artistic items wanted items that reflected their own look.
Whitewashing reached as high as the rulers in some countries. Rafael Trujillo, the former dictator of La República Dominicana🇩🇴 created an elaborate plan to cleanse dark-skinned people from the country in order to "lighten" the population and make space for refugees from the Holocaust and the Spanish Civil War🇪🇸.
As history progressed, a new aspect of traditional Latin beauty standards emerged in regards to body size and shape; Latina women were supposed to be curvaceous, tan-skinned, and have dark hair. A new sexualized, exotic ideal became desirable. Actresses like Jennifer Lopez, Sofía Vergara, and Eva Mendes epitomized the definition of Latina beauty.
The following video shows a progression of western feminine beauty standards over the last century.
Beauty Standards Now
There is a strong focus on beauty in the Latin community. As globalization increases, US media📰 representation and beauty standards influence Latin standards and Latina women have felt pressured to either conform to US standards or over emphasize the Latina stereotype.
As a result of a strong focus on beauty, there is a high occurrence of plastic surgery. Many women receive liposuction, breast augmentation, and botox💉 to change their bodies to fit the standard they most desire. Sometimes, that desire stretches to competing in beauty competitions. According to Popsugar.com, "Three of the four countries that have the most winners in the main beauty pageants like Miss World, Miss Earth, and Miss Universe are from Latin America: Venezuela🇻🇪, Puerto Rico🇵🇷, and Brazil🇧🇷."
The following video shows recent beauty standards in different countries around the world.
Aesthetics in Daily Life
As mentioned previously, aesthetics is the philosophical outlook on good taste and appreciation of beauty. People are not the only things that can be beautiful. Have you ever sat outside and looked at the sun set🌅 or rise and loved what you saw? You are appreciating the aesthetic of what you were seeing.
Nature🌳🍁 is a large source of appreciation for aesthetics. Many paintings are based on landscapes or floral arrangements to further appreciate nature. Below is El Greco's Vista de Toledo. This painting was painted🎨 between 1596 and 1600 and shows geographically accurate locations of buildings in the town of Toledo, España🇪🇸 along with the lush green countryside outside of town.
Architecture is another place where aesthetics can be appreciated. Buildings🏛️⛪🏢 can be considered beautiful too. Throughout history, cathedrals⛪ and churches⛪ housed irreplaceable pieces of art within their safekeeping, but many forget to notice the outer faces or fachadas
elaborately decorated with saints or other religious symbology✝️. See the Passion façade of La Sagrada Família in Barcelona, España🇪🇸 below.
Other buildings that are commonly created to have an appealing aesthetic are art museums🎨🏢. Architects designed many art museums🎨🏢 to become a work of art themselves in order to bring a positive aesthetic to the neighborhood or draw in the eyes of passersby. Below is the Guggenheim Art Museum in Bilbao, España🇪🇸. It is a modern building to reflect the contemporary art displayed within.