Every era and place has a different standard of beauty. It is continuously changing over time. In ancient Greece (c. 300–500 B.C.), a woman who had plump and fair-skinned was considered as a beautiful one. It was because the woman who had a large body meant wealth. They had access to more food. However, during the Han Dynasty (206 B.C — 220 A.D), the feet were the place you could take a look at whether a woman considered beautiful or not. In this era, the smaller the feet, the prettier they were. The young girls had their feet in very tight wrapped shoes to prevent their feet from growing caused damage and dysregulation to their feet.

During the Italian Renaissance (c. 1400–1700), they had their own standard of beauty. The woman with fair-skin, big breast, light-hair and full hips considered beautiful. Because it indicated the wealthiness of the husband. But this standard had been changed again during Victorian England (C . 1837–1901). The beautiful women were they who wore the corset. The corset was worn to reduce waistline and bustles the buttocks. The corset also wore to raise the breasts extremely high. This fashion influenced by Queen Victoria who led England at the time.

The Victorian beauty standard was no longer popular in 1920s, Roaring Twenties Era. In this year, woman aimed to hide their curves. Bobbed hair was popular and they wore bold makeup. The flat chest, downplayed waist, boyish figure were the beauty standard of this Roaring Twenties Era. In this years, woman started to do sport and dance. And during the Hollywood Era (1930s-1950s), Marilyn Monroe was the golden standard of beauty. She swept away all the beauty standard of Roaring Twenties Era. The curves, hour-glass figure, large breast, and slim waist were so desired by many women in this Era.

But this standard didn’t last for long. Because during the Swinging sixties (c. 1960s), it was adore the female who had look as willowy, thin, long, slim legs, and adolescent look. This standard changed again over the time. In this post modern beauty Era (c. 2000-now), women are expected to be skinny, but not too skinny, with large breasts and a big butt, all while maintaining a flat stomach. And perhaps, this standard will change (again) in the future along with the emergence of new trends.

I have one point that I can learn from the history of standard beauty. It is clear that the beauty standard is set by human, by culture, or by society. Can we back to look in Italian Renaissance Era? The fatter woman, the prettier they were. Or during the Han Dynasty, the smaller their feet, the prettier they were. Or during the Swinging sixties or Heroin Chic (c. 1990s), the pretty woman was the one who had thin body figure. And now, why do many women undergo plastic surgery to have Kim Kardashian look?

From all this history we can see there is no important and essential consideration regarding all those standard. It is purely subjective. Therefore, there’s always an option of not following all these standard. Because we are free women.

But surely, It is always free to us to have desire of personal ideal beauty standard. But we have to assure our self that this standard made by a good reason to our self. To please our self. Even when we applied a lipstick on our lip in order to please our spouse, make sure that making our spouse happy is also make us happy. So in the end, it is also for us. Not just fulfill other’s expectations. Because, it is the essential and important reason for us to life. Life happily. Gratefully. Regardless what we think about how and what people think about us. Even it is our closest ones, family or spouse.

I had this experience in the past. When my mother told me I was not as beautiful as my sister. She said my sister was pretty (cantik), I was sweet (manis). In the past, I was quite sad about that and I was asking my self. What could I do with my look? This was what my creature gave to me. I even couldn’t have a choice of my look. Besides that who had the authorize to decide who is pretty and who is not? And until I met my husband, who told me that I am pretty. He told me that besides his mother, I am the most pretty woman, he has ever met. He doesn’t see that my sister is prettier than me. Since then I realized that all these beautiful things are super subjective. Regardless whatever their reasons, all this opinion is always subjective. Therefore, the most important about it is our own belief. When we believe we are beautiful, it is enough.

Besides this beauty matter, recently I experience switch perceptions. In the past, I had a perception that a woman who colouring their hair was not good. They might be flirtatious, naughty woman and so on. So did the woman who wore bold makeup, cologne, sexy clothes. It was coming from the knowledge that I got from the habit of watching soap operas at televisions during my childhood. In the soap operas, the character only divided into two roles. Antagonist and protagonist role. The antagonist role always appeared with bold makeup, sexy clothes, and some time with colouring hair. Meanwhile, the protagonist role was pale, wore humble clothes, natural makeup look and with black hair. This “knowledge” entered my subconscious mind and unwittingly become valued that I carried over past years in my life.

Until I met various people who had look as an “antagonist” but very good, nice, kind and very obedient in worship. Also it is because of the book that I read this year, Educated by Tara Westover. In her previous belief, it states that the “good” woman doesn’t wear make up or jeans. One-day when her brother saw her wore lipstick, he called her as whore. And put her head in toilet. Reading that book and seeing the people around me, gave me a new perception. Life is too big to be divided into two things. There’s always a spectrum in between. Good look doesn’t always mean to hide the “bad” personality. All of those personality-judges-things are too complicated to be generalized. It is just too hard. And thankfully, It is never human task to judge people. Hence, to celebrate my perspective change, I colored my hair. And turn out I know colouring my hair doesn’t change anything of me but my hair only.

So, whatever the beauty-style we choose, always choose the one that makes us feel happy, worth, and grateful. Because it is we are. We are the creatures created by God in the best possible form.

لَقَدۡ خَلَقۡنَا الۡاِنۡسَانَ فِىۡۤ اَحۡسَنِ تَقۡوِيۡمٍ

“Indeed, We created humans in the best form.”

(At-Tin: 4)


XX. An open book person. Crafting my thought into the words. Bringing my words into a thought.