A 1928 cigarette card classifying an ‘Egyptian beauty’: these cards depicted women as exotic creatures, a trend that can still be seen at beauty contests today.
Collectable cigarette cards once depicted 'exotic' beauties, classified by the colonial eye. And today's beauty contests still present women as exotic representatives of their nation.
Detail from Little Big Woman: Condescension, Debra Keenahan, 2017.
Designed and made by Debra Keenahan, Photograph by Robert Brindley.
For centuries, women with dwarfism were depicted in art as comic or grotesque fairytale beings. But artists are challenging these portrayals and notions of beauty and physical difference.
Beauty is still understood as a process of ongoing work and maintenance.
The history of dangerous cosmetics shows us the harms that women have suffered to meet expectations of what is beautiful.
A Dominican immigrant cuts the hair of a customer at her New York City salon.
Seth Wenig/AP Photo
In New York City, hair salons are one of the few cultural spaces for Dominican women to bond. But they also perpetuate legacies of racism and colonialism.
Madonna and fashion designer Jeremy Scott arrive at this year’s Met Gala in New York.
Why is Cher, 71, celebrated when she wears a near-nude costume while Madonna, 58, receives revulsion? 19th century women's magazines reveal how the double standards of beauty for older women came about.
A booming beauty industry is changing the way we see our bodies.
The pressures of perfection.
YouTube beauty blogger Zoella has had more than 950 million views of videos on her channel.
YouTube is awash with videos on beauty and fashion, and young girls are avidly watching, creating powerful social media figures in the process.
Few would argue that exchanging cultural ideas could be construed negatively. But what happens when the influence and origins of that culture go unacknowledged and ignored?
For those with facial conditions and injuries, makeup can be the difference between living and having a life.
Once you start, you can’t stop.
'Injection' via www.shutterstock.com
By getting young women hooked before they've even formed wrinkles, Botox peddlers have realized they can enlist them in a lifetime of treatment.
Race and perceived beauty are closely intertwined.
'Faces' via www.shutterstock.com
A sociologist wanted to know how simply self-identifying as 'multiracial' – regardless of how you actually looked – would influence your attractiveness.
BBC/Two Brothers Pictures Ltd.
Women’s privates have moved to the front and centre of popular entertainment. And they're not always pretty.
The proliferation of mass media has helped to create a standardisation of beauty ideals, making them harder to cope with. But there are encouraging signs that things could change.
Women line the Atlantic City boardwalk to protest the 1968 Miss America pageant.
Feminist Theories & Art Practices
For decades, the Miss America pageant had excluded minorities while celebrating a very narrow definition of womanhood. Then two separate protests – a women's liberation picket and the lesser-known Miss Black America pageant – said 'enough is enough.'
Threatening or powerful?
Your makeup can make all the difference on your path to success.
Magnolia Maymuru, who hails from the remote community of Yirrkala.
George Fragopoulos/Miss World Australia
Magnolia Maymuru, the Northern Territory's representative at the Miss World national finals, is a trailblazer. But will she escape the racialised exoticism that has long plagued Indigenous women?
American advertisement for non-surgical nose correction.
Surgical makeovers might seem a modern phenomenon but they have a long and disturbing history: from 16th century skin grafts done without anaesthesia to reductions of "primitive" large breasts.
After years of plastic surgery and progressive skin-bleaching, Lil' Kim is not black any more.
Pi has an interesting relationship with some other unique constants in mathematics.
On international Pi Day it's time to look at Pi's position in unique formula that's praised much for its beauty in uniting several mathematical constants.
EPA/Monica M Davey
Dressing like a Black Panther at the Super Bowl was always going to raise a few eyebrows – and that was the point.