Apr 14, 2010
I just borrowed what looks to be an interesting book yesterday entitled, "Glamour, A History" by Stephen Gundle, a British writer. It's a study of the concept of glamour throughout history: its origins and its varying definitions during different eras (the 1930's and 40's in particular), up to and including the present.
I haven't really started it but it's already got me thinking: Do women aspire to be "glamorous" anymore? Glamour seems to me to be a dated concept, at least the way I've always thought about it. For me, glamour suggests drama, artifice, and exoticism -- all missing in today's 24/7 media landscape and the middle class, (primarily) suburban culture we Americans have been steeped in for better or for worse (even if we're not suburban or middle class).
I think contemporary life has just become too informal, too come-as-you-are, too frank about sexuality and uncomfortable with obvious (social) class difference, for the concept to hold any attraction for most people today.
Most women I know want to be, first healthy, then probably thin, and then some variation of pretty (as THEY define it) -- and ideally a combination of all three. Do they want to be glamorous? The very word evokes stylized images like these from Thirties and Forties Hollywood:
By the Fifties and Sixties -- a time of greater economic equality too -- idealized women were more likely to be girl-next-door types than glamorous and remote (I don't think Dietrich ever posed with a fishing rod.):
How about Beyonce, you ask? Isn't Beyonce glamorous? Maybe, but if so, what is it that makes her glamorous rather than "merely" beautiful?
So readers-of-the-female-persuasion and men who hold an opinion on this topic, I ask you:
Does glamour have meaning in your lives? Are you or would you like to be glamorous and how would you define it? Who are your contemporary glamour role models?
Conversely, do you think the concept of glamour is dead? If so, what killed it?
I'd love to hear what you think!