Sophia Hadjipanteli (edited for sanity)
A model is attempting to redefine beauty standards with a comically huge unibrow.
Because that sentence alone sets the stage for a long rant, I’ll just link to an article covering this story and accept that as the launchpad for the rant to follow, because it’s sufficient.
Believe it or not, beauty standards were not invented by Chick-fil-A and the patriarchy to try to be mean to women. Throughout the entirety of human history and the class Mammalia, beauty standards have been informed by biological viability. Putting bizarre trends aside, what has held up historically as being “beautiful” was considered a sign that a person was in sufficient health and capability to procreate. As far as this goes, biology and the continuity of humanity don’t really concern themselves with anyone’s objections, and all that usually happens when a person attempts to go against the flow in this regard is that a person makes it far less likely that they’ll be further contributing to humanity’s gene pool. I know that’s hard to ponder for those weaned on the notion of attraction to cartoon ponies, but a lot of things are.
When bringing up this topic, there’s usually someone who will bring up the myth that Renaissance artists depicted obesity as a reflection of cultural standards of beauty existing in their time. That’s not true. The reason why Renaissance artists painted fat women was because that was what many wealthy and affluent women looked like. Their physical condition was what one would expect when a person doesn’t have to work to get by, and has plenty to eat.
The fact is, Renaissance artists viewed lean women as having ideal beauty in the same way most people do today. When a person is attracted to something that is outside that norm, they are considered an outlier, and are usually viewed as a fetishist, like the people who are attracted to feet.
The fact is, the beauty standards that we have today and have had throughout human history exist for a reason, and it’s a very compelling reason. When a person attempts to eschew these standards, the expected outcome is akin to a boxer attempting to defeat the bodybuilding standards of his sport by allowing his muscles to atrophy; he may get some time in the Tumblr limelight, but we know that when he steps into the ring for a professional match, it’s light-out for him.
When a model intentionally takes on an unfavorable characteristic in an attempt to challenge beauty standards, they may get their praise from the usual blue checkmarks on Twitter, but we know that women all over the world are thinking, “Thank you for making yourself easier to compete against.”
Another irony that I want to point out is that the Glamour article dismisses as “trolls” those who criticized Sophia’s new look as ugly. When someone calls someone online a troll for saying something that they don’t like, they’re showing that they have no idea what trolling really is. Online trolling is really about influencing a person, usually to try to get them to do or say something that’s inadvisable. It can take on forms that are really quite subtle, and even someone who has been using social media for a long time might have a hard time recognizing trolling when it’s in front of them.
The irony is, the people encouraging Sophia to continue with the unibrow look are the real trolls, and they are laughing themselves silly at her ridiculous behavior, while those who call her new look ugly are expressing their sincerely-held opinions.
Putting aside the possibility that Sophia may be the victim of trolling, it’s very likely that she is pulling a publicity stunt. The idea would be to do something ridiculous in an effort to bring attention to herself. If that’s the case, then Sophia would actually be trolling people like me who blogged about her.
If that’s what Sophie was going for, then congrats, Sophie, you look ridiculous and got people to laugh at you because of it. But if Sophie really wanted to make a beauty statement, she could try something actually beneficial, like refusing to wear lipstick. Lipstick looks dreadful, and women everywhere would look much better for not wearing it. The reason why I doubt that models like Sophie would attempt to make such a statement is because doing so would mean fewer people buying lipstick, and a model’s job is to encourage more people to buy more things.
But for what it is on the surface, which is an attempt to redefine beauty standards, Sophia’s unibrow stunt pretty much accomplishes nothing.