Gone are the days when beauty lay in the eye of the beholder, and a well-proportioned body was a thing of beauty and object of admiration.
But, then, we live in a consumer, if not a consumerist, society where consumption means “the purchase and use of goods, leisure activities and services”. (Jagger. 2000). Though some writers (Schama. 1987) trace consumerism to the 17th century Netherlands, others (Ewen. 1976; Susman. 1982) emphasise that it was not until the years between the First and the Second World Wars in the USA and Britain that consumer culture became fully established.
The elusive “ideal”
Even today one hears it said the world over that “consumer is king”, or the “queen” as the case may be, but the insidious brainwashing of the “king” or the “queen” by the media at the instance of advertisers has left the “queen” with no volition. She dances to the tunes of the media, the tunes called by advertisers who pay the piper. Consumer society develops an increasing need to shop, meaning that individual consumers are increasingly finding the definition of themselves within commodities which can develop a feeling of high or low esteem if they do not have the new car, handbag, or pair of shoes presented as the new “ideal”. (Marcuse: 1964).
Shakespeare may have had his own reasons for saying in one of his plays that “good wine needs no bush”(“As You Like It”), but in today’s world advertising rules the roost and helps what amounts really to commodification of the consumer. ...