With the popularization of Korean beauty products, discussions of plastic surgery, and the increasing popularity of tattoos and piercings, beauty becomes ian evolving definition in this globalizing world. What is beauty? Who creates the standards? What influences its changing definition? Is it impacted by colonialism? How is it a reflection of the society’s values? How does beauty represent the national identity?
In my American Literature class, we often discuss the American Dream. When we study novels such as The Great Gatsby, we see that highly sought after values--The American Dream in the American society--are represented by characters such as Daisy who represent the American Dream. She is one that the protagonist strives to reach, but cannot obtain.
Similarly, in the novel Pachinko by Min Jin Lee and “The Tattooer” by Tanizaki Jun’ichirô, the women who are described as beautiful are those who at the cusp of attainment vanish into something that is either horrifyingly sublime or corrupt.
According to Jessica Adams, “When we think about what beauty means in America, we immediately confront issues of race, ethnicity, sexuality, femininity, faith, and class. In this three day curriculum, we will examine some of the issues that shape our definitions of beauty.