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Beauty to the Rescue

by David Yeagley · April 5, 2004 · 12 Comments ·

When all else fails, let women be beautiful. When all other attempts to civilize the beast in man have failed, let the beauty of a woman charm the savage. Let beauty soothe. Let beauty heal.

That’s what Revlon, L’Oreal, and Clairol think. These major cosmetic companies invested in a multi-million dollar program to bring beauty to Afghan women. This is remarkable, yet, perfectly appropriate. The Islamic Taliban’s regard for women was the most repressive in the history of the world. It is a marvellous thing that the major cosmetic companies of the world should step in and lend an uplifting hand to Afghani women. There are hundreds of beauty salons in Kabul now. The Taliban is gone, thanks to America, and Afghani women are feeling much happier.

The ancient Persians understood the power of beauty, too. Artaxerxes (465-422 BC) knew all about the use of beauty in the management of the Persian empire. He ruled over 127 provinces (countries), from from India to Ethiopia, and how did he seek to bring all this diversity together? Female beauty.

Artaxerxes (Ahasuerus in Hebrew) organized the first Miss Universe beauty pageant in history. Read all about it in the book of Esther. He required each country to have it’s own contest first, then to send the winners to the imperial palace at Shushan. There they would spend 12 months in training and development, and then the grand contest.

Of course, it turns out that a nice young Jewish girl, from among the ex-patriated captives in Babylon, was the winner. Esther became the Queen of Persia, all because of beauty, all because of Artaxerxes’ attempt to let each country of the empire have a place, or at least a chance to have a place, on the throne. This was rather remarkable. It is an untold story, really, and the ‘fall-out’ ought to be carefully researched.

Beauty has healing power. Yes, it’s in the eye of the beholder, and all that, but, it’s effects are the same. Depending on the “illness,” the medicine of beauty can come in exotic forms. It can be music, poetry, or affection. Sometimes, just the right face of the right woman can resurrect the dead.

DVF4.jpg
Diane von Furstenberg, from a different time,
a different place.

This picture of Diane von Furstenberg was made in 1981, and appeared in the New York Times magazine section. I remember it, because I was in a bad way at the time. I was a resident counsellor in New Haven, CT, at a treatment center for emotionally disturbed children. These children were abused. I had never before known of nor seen such human suffering and psychological damage. I became physically sick myself. It was a very dark time.

Diane brought me to the moon, in an ancient sort of way. Just her eyes. The relief, the sense of healing, the beauty! I’ll never forget it. In fact, I later created a series of portraits for her, one of which hung in her 5th Avenue studio for a time. I created American Indian fashion, designed especially for her, in all the portraits.

So I have great hope for Afghanistan! Great praise for Revlon, L’Oreal, and Clairol. A woman a least has the right to her own face. Let the women come out and be beautiful. It will heal the country.

Posted by David Yeagley · April 5, 2004 · 12:06 pm CT · ·

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12 responses so far ↓

  • 1 David Yeagley // Apr 5, 2004 at 4:48 pm   

    This report just out:

    WASHINGTON (AFP) “A retired army colonel commissioned by the Pentagon to examine the war in Afghanistan concluded the conflict created conditions that have given “warlordism, banditry and opium production a new lease on life.”

    “Retired Army Colonel Hy Rothstein, who served in the Army Special Forces for more than 20 years, wrote in a military analysis he gave to the Pentagon in January that the US failed to adapt to new conditions created by the Taliban’s collapse, The New Yorker magazine reported.”

    http://news.yahoo.com/news?tmpl=story&cid=1521&u=/afp/20040404/pl_afp/us_afghanistan_report_040404203637&printer=1

    Nay, bring in the beautiful women. What these lost Islamic masses need is a good dose of DISTRACTION. Violence, politics, power, only breeds more of the same. Bring on the beauty.

  • 2 MAD BOAR // Apr 5, 2004 at 11:34 pm   

    Face it. Women bring men to their brawny knees, and men have always hated them for it. Fear them, hate them, blame them for everything, and in the end, cover them up, because other wise, we can’t think.

  • 3 Nora // Apr 6, 2004 at 8:55 am   

    “Fear them, hate them, blame them for everything …”

    Oooops….. but aren’t there WOMEN who do that to MEN in our culture? Seems true equality between the sexes is not possible.

  • 4 David Yeagley // Apr 6, 2004 at 11:02 am   

    Welcome, Mad Boar. We have hold affinity with madness here on BadEagle!

    Your assessment is simple, yet profound. Nudity is marketable. I wonder if Islam’s prohibition raises the ante.

    Nora, there’s equality, it’s just divied up different ways. Ignoring the man’s opinion in the abortion issue is an example of covering up men. But using women as prositutes is, in a real way, covering up the “personhood” of the women, too. I’ll bet it all weighs out equally, from a universal perspective…

  • 5 Nora // Apr 6, 2004 at 11:48 am   

    “I’ll bet it all weighs out equally, from a universal perspective…”

    Maybe, but women are much more effective whiners.

  • 6 Joe Peden // Apr 6, 2004 at 11:57 am   

    Yes, Dr. Yeagley, first I thought you were out of your mind with this blog item. Then I got to thinking you again have a provocative point. I can’t figure it out, but many women do themselves seem to be driven to or need to be “attractive”. It’s out of hand here in the U.S., IMHO, but maybe if we free it up in Iraq, et al., it will sweep the radical Islamics clean.
    Perhaps we should carpet bomb the place with make-up and mini-skirts. [It's really bizarre to see these demonstrations over there, where the only people present are well-groomed men.]

  • 7 David Yeagley // Apr 6, 2004 at 1:31 pm   

    Yes, Joe, it was a risk to post this one, but, I’m a risk taker, in the final analysis. The radical does not intimidate me.

    On the other hand, look at the ancient Greek writer, Aeschylus (525-456 BC), and his once very popular play, “Lysistrata.” Regarding the futility of the Pelopponesian Wars, the story tells of an influencial woman uniting all the Atheneian women in “sex” strike. The women would refuse sex to their husbands until the men stopped their foolish warring.

    Well, we don’t know the domestic violence cases in ancient Greece, nor could we expect the Muslims not to beat their wives if the women refuse them.

    But the idea that women can have some effect on the whole disposition of war is not a new idea.

    Of course, this is not to confuse the cowardice of the ’60′s hippie “peace” slogans.

    http://www.theatredatabase.com/ancient/aeschylus_001.html

  • 8 David Yeagley // Apr 6, 2004 at 4:56 pm   

    Nora, even the whining talents of women are based on gender concepts. The macho man must show superior strength. The whining is a necessary recourse for women. It’s like a little child’s play on the man’s emotions. That’s why it works. It actually makes the man feel macho, to give in now and then to the whining.

    You see, arguing with a woman is completely humiliating to a man. But, if she pleads, whines, and cries, like a weak, pitiful little thing, he’ll be much more likely to give in. It is pity, compassion, and actually machoism.

    Ah, this is for our Gender Forum.

    At least, this it the Western situation. What the deep recesses of Islamic gender relations actually are, I don’t really know. The women of the Middle East I have know are pretty tough. Not whiners, but doers. They have simply been more limited in what they think they can DO.

  • 9 Nora // Apr 7, 2004 at 3:38 am   

    “The whining is a necessary recourse for women. It’s like a little child’s play on the man’s emotions. That’s why it works. It actually makes the man feel macho, to give in now and then to the whining.”

    Utterly fascinating. I never saw it that way, but it’s obviously true. It supports my theory that no rational discourse between the sexes is possible, no?

    That’s really one for the gender forum.

  • 10 Nora // Apr 7, 2004 at 3:58 am   

    “…Dr. Yeagley, first I thought you were out of your mind with this blog item. Then I got to thinking you again have a provocative point.”

    I am here a little bit longer than you, but that is exactly how I would have reacted earlier.

    I think it needs an enormous lot of courage and self-confidence from a heterosexual man to write that.

    “I can’t figure it out, but many women do themselves seem to be driven to or need to be “attractive”.”

    I think it’s in the female makeup (pun not intended), which is basically alright. What I find silly and counterproductive is the bitching and competitive (for WHAT???) attitude among women. If you know online forums, you surely know those idiotic “you are old, fat, ugly, fillintheblanks” touts. Or all those more or less subtle “I am gorgeous” messages. You’ll hardly ever see anything like that from men.

    “It’s out of hand here in the U.S., IMHO, but maybe if we free it up in Iraq, et al., it will sweep the radical Islamics clean.”

    Absolutely and it sadly poisons your society. I don’t think it would work against Islam, though. Didn’t they have it all in Iran 30 years ago and rejected it gladly?

  • 11 David Yeagley // Apr 7, 2004 at 10:13 am   

    Well, I was told that the major cosmetic industry in Iran was own by three different Jewish companies (or was that ONE?). I don’t know if that had anything to do with the “rejection,” but, actually, they didn’t reject it so willingly.
    This are always FORCED in Islam.

    However, I don’t think Iran really rejected beauty at all. They just don’t do it in public. Everyone is FREE in the home, at home. It is only in public that the women must wear the hijob.
    House parties are a thing in Iran. You can see everyone’s beauty there, every day. I only saw one woman, in her home, without makeup. But she was so perfectly pretty, like a Medieval painting, she didn’t need to do anything. This is a rare face, but it happens.

    Most women wear makeup in Iran. I have pictures! I took them myself.

  • 12 Nora // Apr 7, 2004 at 1:41 pm   

    David, in your initial post you said that a woman has the right to her own face.

    Then you said “House parties are a thing in Iran. You can see everyone’s beauty there, every day.”

    So I take it that in Iran a woman has a right to her own face as far as the Mullahs allow it. Sorry, that’s not good enough.

    I didn’t say that the Iranians rejected beauty, but rejected Western culture. I would even go so far to say that, from a purely aesthetic point of view, the chador would be rather a decisive improvement on society. But that wasn’t the point.

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