Wednesday, 15 April 2015

Video: Women's Makeup Throughout History

While it's not a truly comprehensive look at how make-up changed by place and time, this short film by BuzzFeed does give some great ideas.  When making up a world - or a future - consider how styles and views of beauty change.  What are men and women (generally of the upper classes, assuming your story has classes) doing to look cool, fashionable, sophisticated, beautiful?  Consider what features are considered important and are therefore emphasized.  What characteristics (clear skin, large eyes, rosy cheeks...) are they emphasizing?  Do the women wear make-up?  Do the men? These are the little background tidbits that can help make your world feel more real.

BuzzFeed also has a video on women's ideal body types throughout history which is also worth a watch.  Because women's sizes with regards to beauty has also changed over time/place.  Consider how these extremes in different body types can affect the plot: 1) having a larger bodied upper class with a thin, starving lower class because food on the whole is very expensive and/or scarce.  2) If healthy foods are expensive and only processed foods are cheap enough for the lower class to afford it, giving a thin, fit upper class with an unhealthy, overweight lower class.  The first example could easily describe a medieval manor - with only nobles being able to afford a variety of foods and plenty of meat.  The lower classes in this case might be malnourished and try to find alternate sources of food (poaching, etc).  The second example is close to what we're developing in the Western world today.  Plentiful food, but the cheaper stuff - and easier to acquire - is making us unhealthy.  Knowing the economics of food/weight in your book could explain the fitness/size of your protagonists.  Is your detective thin but malnourished, making it hard for her to run after suspects?  Is your princess overweight but healthy because she can afford a variety of foods in her diet?  Is your rogue slowly starving to death because he can't find enough work and therefore can't afford food due to high prices?  

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