Beauty pageants will never die. in Saudi Arabia, the third annual “Miss Congeniality” pageant was held on Monday. In a country where strutting on stage is forbidden, the practice of young women competing before a panel of judges lives on. Only the contest is based on piety and ambitions for social change – as well as confidence, literacy, charisma and theatrical performance. The winner, Maram Zaki al-Saif, who holds the title of Saudi “Queen of Ethics”, intends to help people with disabilities find suitable work. And yes, she’s very pretty. Al Arabiya News.
- Autumn brings another kind of contest – that of the Homecoming Queen. For American high school students, the whole process is loaded with worries of looks and popularity, while the adults involved often go on about “school spirit” and “congeniality”. Jacqueline Mullen, a senior at Live Oak High School in California explores the topic from her schoolmates’ view. AppealDemocrat.com.
- Let’s talk about beauty privilege, shall we? Oh wait, I’m too pretty to talk about that. Or too ugly, depending upon who feels like commenting. But is this insistence that women are either beautiful fish trying to describe water – or ugly outcasts angry about not being pretty enough – keeping us from talking honestly about the effects our looks have on other people? Yes. Autumn Whitefield-Madrano cracks the ice on the topic of women even daring to talk about beauty privilege. The-Beheld.
- Beauty privilege isn’t just for women – men are judged, and positively or negatively favored, by their looks as well. This is especially apparent in the current presidential election climate, where presentation often trumps policy. Bard College professor Ian Baruma examines how the candidates are being judged more by their physical merits – their body language, facial expressions, and general personal impression – rather than their policies. The Prague Post.
- Is your head the wrong shape? In 21st-century United States, we’re used to doing our makeup or hair based on the shape of our heads – which we assume to be mostly static. But babies’ skulls are fairly soft, and while I’ve been told to be gentle with babies’ heads, there are cultures who shape infants’ heads to be more aesthetically pleasing. The Arawe people of New Britain in Papua New Guinea wrap vines around their babies’ heads and press the fronts of their skulls to mold them into a more elongated, preferred shape. The Gloss.
- I’ve posted here before about the bloody beauty treatments of Countess Elizabeth Bathory, but there is an actual blood-based beauty treatment that has killed at least one woman. The treatment in question, called DC-CIK, involves taking blood from patients to isolate and culture “cytokine-induced killer cells“, which are then re-injected into the patrons. The procedure, which is being clinically tested as a way to raise survival rates in cancer patients, was promised to make patients look more youthful, have whiter skin, and enjoy a greater immune system. But of the 44 people who paid $6,450 each for the procedure, four of them quickly fell ill, and one woman has already died. The superbug Mycobacterium abscessus has been found in a blood sample from the woman who died, suggesting that bacterial infection caused the illnesses and death. The clinic maintains that the doctor who performed the treatments does not actually work for the clinic, but the real issue looming is that while doctors in medical practices are highly regulated, in many Asian regions there is almost no control over what can be performed as “beauty treatments”, or what goes into beauty supplements. NBC Vitals. Associated Press.