Talking Glamour

Cultural critic Virginia Postrel spoke at TED several years ago about the idea of glamour. She started with it's old definition that glamour was a spell cast not necessarily in your best interest or that it was a trick of the eye. That idea goes hand-in-hand with the centuries old accusations regarding a beautiful woman's bewitching power, but that's a bit off-topic. Postrel defined glamour not as beauty, but beauty combined with mystery, distance, and the tension of the familiar and the foreign.

I highly recommend you watch this 16 minute video if your are interested in beauty or art. I came away from it with the following thoughts:

- The danger of glamour is the inability to resist it (e.g. feminine-wiles), but you can understand and thus resist glamour while still enjoying it.

- I fear the lack of art education in schools strips many kids of their ability to understand art and artistic objects; therefore, they do not have the mental tools to resist glamour. The see glamour as an achievable ideal (If I diet more! If I straighten and dye my hair! If I have plastic surgery!) instead of a beautiful myth.

- Sprezzetura is a fantastic word and I need to use it in daily life. No, I won't tell you what it is. You have to watch the video.

- I think the lack of glamour is part of why I really don't like photography by people like Terry Richardson (his grossness aside).

- This lecture is a perfect explanation for why people often idealize the fashions of the decade before they were born, but feel the trends popular when they were teens are the worst looks ever.

- Perhaps magazine covers could use less text if they just took more glamorous photos.

- "You don't wake up in the morning glamorous." Indeed.

What did you think about while watching this lecture?


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