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10 Ways the Definition of Beauty Has Changed

        Health | Hygiene Tips

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Beauty Is in the Nose of the Beholder
Perfume is often the finishing touch for a lovely lady.
Perfume is often the finishing touch for a lovely lady.
iStockphoto/Thinkstock

Beauty might seem like a visual aesthetic, but odors and scents also play a big role in the beauty ideal. If a supermodel didn't shower for months at a time, would we still consider her a supermodel? If she showed up at your door smelling like garbage, would you still find her beautiful?

Cleanliness has been compared to godliness, and somewhere along the way, it became an important prerequisite for beauty as well, which would certainly surprise the generations of people who never bathed. People worried that bathing could lead to serious illness, like the plague, or they were concerned that nakedness was sinful and the devil would catch them during their bath. And though perfume has been used throughout history, it became aggressively marketed in the 20th century as an important part of a beautiful person's regimen. Ditto deodorant -- the idea of "body odor" was one cooked up by advertising men who wanted more people to buy deodorant and antiperspirants [source: George Mason University]. Now, most of us crinkle our noses at the idea of letting our natural scents shine through; to be truly beautiful, we try to smell like baby powder, flowers and fruits.


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