Dec 12, 2013 4:09PM

Know Your Trends: Meet The 'Perfect' Woman

Mel Kenny on the definition of beauty.
In 1978, Chaka Khan stood away from her funk band Rufus and released 'I'm Every Woman'. She would croon therein "it's all in meee / anything you want done, baby / I'll do it naturally." Whitney Houston then provided a rendition in 1992. Presumably, neither Chaka nor Whit had intentions of cutting eyes and noses and hairs et cetera from the faces of other women to wear atop their own faces, thus actually being 'every woman.' That would be very difficult to do (and entirely defies the 'naturally' part.) But that's almost exactly what the people from escentual.com did in response to a survey conducted about 'the perfect woman' — amalgamated women's features to produce two digitally-generated prototypes.
 
This is what the surveyed males have concluded:
 
And this is what females, themselves, consider to be perfect: 
 
I think this is the part where I'm supposed to lament society for purporting narrow views of beauty, and making women feel inadequate and so on. TBH, I don't think you need me to say any of that. I mean, I know you're tired. Doesn't this age-old argument, and the constant societal discourse around idealistic feminine beauty, make you weary? Without delving too deep into the feminism chasm — what with its countless definitions, conflicting frameworks and historical points and counterpoints — the real question is: could you even name someone's forehead you would love to call your own? Do you people out there consider any foreheads to be aspirational? Whose forehead would you rather have, Jennifer Aniston's or Natalie Portman's? #curious
 
I'm not being dismissive of 'society's' dictatorial role in defining beauty; know that. I just don't find it that interesting that someone has melded together stereotypically beautiful features in order to expose some revelatory superficiality. It's nothing we didn't know previously. Who is even partaking in these surveys? 
 

 
Above is a picture of human (?) meme Valeria Lukyanova AKA Space Barbie, who wants to be considered the "most perfect woman on the internet." She denies having had plastic surgery outside of breast augmentation, and to that we say lol, a thousand times lol. On her appearance she says, "It's wonderful to look like a doll. Even though people call me a Barbie, I never tried to look like a doll. I just like everything beautiful, feminine, and refined. It just so happens that dolls are based on the image of refined girls."
 

 
The above is an extreme case of the pursuit of some ultimate definition of beauty; one more obscure and mythical than any of us can probably comprehend. But it does reinforce longstanding, ubiquitous concerns that beauty is continually streamlined into unrealistic, unachievable margins e.g. Why hasn't 'ugliness' been made into something we aspire to? Nevermind. I'll just offer one little counterpoint. 
 

 
Restoration of faith in big bad society is possible! A couple months back, Petra Collins' Instagram account was torn from the walls of the internet because her version of beauty did not fit the norm. If you're not following, Petra posted a picture of her "own unaltered state - an unshaven bikini line" (^) before she was shunned from the app. She spoke out to us about censorship and society's role in prescribing ideas of femininity/beauty, and garnered epic support for refuting conventional, reductive impressions of how women should look. This was very cool! This hopefully somehow implies that people's minds are expanding. This, in part, indicates that 'society' and indeed some digital ecologies are developing a more idiosyncratic appreciation of beauty. Other recent moments of note include This = PROGRESS ----->!
 

 
With all this in mind, don't forget to tell us who has your favourite forehead in the comments section. Need to know.