A fascinating article by Kate titled, Fashion's Revolution since the late 18th Century: Beauty's Evolution in Female Fashion. Here's the intro, and I do hope you all read it:
How true it is that the general style of the dress is a sign of the times, and an indication of the morals of society. In the last century or two, female fashion has taken a dramatic turn. Beauty in the 20th century consists of reference to an outward appearance and one's sexual attractiveness to the opposite sex and society in general. Nancy Baker once described beauty as "intangible personal qualities" about a person and not based upon one's looks. Although this is quite true to those who appreciate a person for who they are and not what the appearance is, most of the world since the late-1800s refers to beauty of a person by their looks and styles. As Arthur Marwick once said, "the beautiful are these who are immediately exciting to almost all of the opposite sex." As sad as this statement might be, it is still none the less true in today's society. A woman’s standards today are based on television and magazines. Women are compared to the unattainable air-brushed goddesses you see modeling the new fashion. Beauty has become a goal for most women in today's society rather than an attributed aspect of themselves.
Throughout history beauty has always been based on certain aspects of a person from wealth to age, but for the first time beauty is being based upon and associated with one's sexuality. No longer is beauty based on a person and their character but rather on a sense of [one's] 'sexual self worth' (Source 2, pg.11). The most recent generations of women have even resorted the deadly cosmetic surgeries to attain a sense of beauty based upon what society classifies it as at the time. Sometimes beauty is found in the narrowness of our waist or the body of our hair, never even glancing at the person themselves. Ever since the 1830’s each generation of women and men have had to struggle against their society's own beauty myth. Today women have accomplished almost near equality to men but with the equality they still bear the stress of appearances. Men never really had to fight to vote or be treated as an equal, they simply co-existed, but women had to fight for their equality all the time also maintaining their desirable aspect in society. As our society flourishes and cosmetics are mass produced along with new clothing and new revolutionary surgeries to take off the years of worry and struggle, women must face the inevitable challenge of meeting the goal of what our society believes a woman should look like. (Source 2)
"It is very little to me to have the right to vote, to own property, etcetera, if I may not keep my body, and its uses, in my absolute right." Lucy Stone stated this in 1855 and yet today women still struggle with the same idea as she did.