Beauty Beneath the Skin: LHandrahan

In our “The Nature of Woman” readings, we explored the typical views and perceptions of 18th Century society on beauty. We discussed small pox and how it drained a woman of her beauty and made her undesirable. We also discussed how men believed that women should uphold to their standard of having aesthetic perfection at all times, and never wished to see them without makeup or without being dressed up.

When reading these poems, all I could imagine were trees and how we view them. Think about driving down the road on a sunny, fall day and how amazing it is when the brilliantly colored leaves flash by your eyes and all you can think about is how unbelievable gorgeous they are. We don’t often think about it, but when these trees are most beautiful… the leaves are actually in the process of dying off. I feel like I can relate this to our readings. I find that it is quite apparent to the reader how vain people of the 18th Century really were, Women were completely caught up in their looks, and there seems to be an underlying fear within them of how people would perceive them. Women knew that they were judged by their outwards appearance, and it’s a shame that their society was not more like our own… where people most often choose to be in the presence of people whose inner beauty outshines their outer beauty. Where no matter what other hells a person is going through, you think they are beautiful just because they are themselves. I think there is something special in being able to look at something (an autumn tree) or someone, who may not uphold to society’s unrealistic views of what beauty truly is and see them as who they really are. When we see these trees, even though they are dying we are able to see their true beauty. In this collection of readings, we never read about how nice the women were, or how hardworking or determine or funny they were; we never get an opportunity to see their true beauty.


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