Tuesday, March 5, 2013


Well...the hardest part is over. All my research is finished and my paper was drafted and submitted to my teacher for editing. What a relief.

In retrospect, I'm shocked with the way my paper turned out. It is so far from my original idea that I can't even piece together the train of thought I had. My blog, out of lack of a better term, is a gigantic wreck. Until the January-February era there is absolutely sense of idea, organization, or major research.

Here's my blog in review:
I hit it off with a bang (otherwise known as my very loud complaints of what a waste of time this paper would be). Then, being my naive self, I decided to write a paper on all of mythology. From four different cultures. How nice. After I proposed by ridiculously humongous topic, college application deadlines closed in and I basically wrote about anything Mrs. Wiener mentioned to me in class. Smooth. Then Sandy hit and I was left with an immeasurable amount of time to sit and think about what I wanted to do. It was at this point that I developed two major breakthroughs in my paper that would stick. The first was the idea of a modern aspect, which included the debates between Victoria's Secret and Dove. The second was changing my paper topic to the art of beauty. Although I pursued a very different route, I still stayed true to my main of beauty and included some art examples. From here on out (approximately about December time) I really developed my thesis. I used the two definitions of beauty to argue how society is crippled because of our obsession with physical beauty. I originally planned to include an aspect of my paper regarding spiritual beauty as well (which was my interview) but that got cut along the way. I developed my project, which is a bullying seminar for the freshmen that will take place on March 11. I wrote a poem that fit my my thesis that society has twisted beauty. As I began interviewing, I was able to discover topics from many different cultures and time periods that fit with my thesis (so I guess some of my myth paper wiggled its way into my paper in the end). My paper ultimately included topics that ranged from the Bible to modern media. I think this paper, though time consuming, gave me an opportunity to explore topics that I would have otherwise never really gotten a chance to learn about.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Nazi Eugenics

This is the information that I plan to include in the section of my paper that discusses how the Nazis took advantage of societal beauty to destroy other races. The sentences found under each category are quoted from an article about Nazi Medicine.

Analysis of Nazi Aesthetics:
A. Transition from physigonomy
-show how it bloomed from physiognomy (p--> social darwinism--> eugenics)
one can trace the intellectual origins of Nazi racial hygiene to the theory of Social

-define eugenics
-foreboding final sentence
(Nikolas Rose and Robert Proctor suggest that the ‘enhancement’ of the German race
implied that both positive eugenic measures had to be taken to strengthen the quality of
the ‘germplasm’ and negative eugenic measures to eliminate the procreation of ‘unfit’
-in 1895...Alfred Ploetz warned of the degeneration of the German race. Providing medical care to the ‘weak’ was ‘counter-selecting’ the ‘unfit’ elements in the race and was thus causing the weak to multiply at faster rates than the talented and the gifted. Other mechanisms of counter-selection included wars and revolutions, which resulted in the death or injury of the young and able-bodied, while the provision of welfare to the misfits and the poor further impoverished the genetic stock of the race.
--->intelligent racial hygiene might eliminate the need for a struggle for existence altogether)
-trying to stay that the only way to achieve eugenics was to dispose of other
inferior races.

B. The Birth of Eugenics from Aesthetics
-Pose question- how was such a manipulated form of aesthetic beauty able to take root
in German culture and result in such dire results?
-almost half of the nazi government were professional or aspiring artists
-Nazi propaganda consistently blurred the lines between the ‘beautiful’ and the
-depict precise arrangements of disciplined, masculine bodies in synchronic
motion, taking their positions around the Fuhrer. Their faces are shaved, their hair
cut, their uniforms clean
-The Nazi spectacle aimed to recruit German aesthetic judgment on the side of
Nazi rhetoric...The beauty inherent in the biological purity of the German race was
first sensed...and thus presented as a goal: an ideal that could be sought by
means of racial purification.

C. Death in the Name of Beauty
-Now that Aryanism is established as beautiful, Germany takes more intense actions
-Nazi policy on racial hygiene progressed from the sterilization of supposed
‘homozygous’ carriers of genetic diseases...to preventing ‘inter-racial’ marriage
between Jews and non-Jews, to the extermination of mentally ill patients starting
in August 1939...and the ‘Final Solution’ to exterminate all Jews at the start of 1941...to destroy all concentration camp inmates not willing or able to work
-In the case of the Nazis, the metaphor of the Body of the Volk, given in holistic terms, allowed an ontological definition of disease to be mobilized. Disease was thought to be caused by some ‘germ’: the Jew, the insane, the homosexual, the Gypsy. This ‘optimistic’ conception of disease meant that Nazi agents could get rid of the ‘parasites’ that had invaded the body of the Volk.

Monday, February 11, 2013

Paper Outline

I finalized the main idea of my paper idea and it is very different from my previous blog posts (just a warning).

Ok so here's my thesis idea:
In my paper I hope to make my readers aware of the dangers beauty can bring upon humanity. As a result of the focus on the physical beauty instead of the spiritual one, society has forced us into a corner where beauty can only be defined and appreciated in one way. In different eras throughout history and even in modern times, this one-sided view of beauty has crippled man-kind and is behind many of the issues faced then and now.

Here is how I hope to divide up my paper:

A) I want to begin with the dual definition of beauty that I mentioned in earlier blogs, for I believe the focus on one as opposed to the others is the cause of the issues that I will bring up. I also want to establish precedence, i.e. explain that beauty has been a dominant aspect of cultures since biblical times.

(The above is really an introduction to my top. Topics B-G are the proofs to the thesis written above.)

B) The bible quotes the laws of an Eishet Yefat Toar, a beautiful captured woman who has claimed favor in the eyes of one of the soldiers in the conquering army. These laws focus around making this woman as un-beautiful as possible. But why is beauty so dangerous?

C) Proof to the dangers of beauty are evident in the mythological story of Helen of Troy. Helen is described as the most beautiful woman who ever lived. Entranced by her beauty, Paris prince of Troy took her from the Spartan king back to his homeland. The result of his indulgent actions are known as the Trojan War.

D) Physiognomy is the pseudo-scientific belief that people's external qualities show their innate qualities and tendencies (their personalities are determined by their beauty). An idea particularly popular during the 17th century, its ideals are recorded in Shakespeare's sonnets. Sonnet 127 is a prime example of Shakespeare's disillusionment towards those with black or dark features. Originally entranced by a Dark Beauty, Shakespeare ignored the warning signs (i.e. her dark hair and eyes). When he is ultimately betrayed by her, he mentally slaps himself for not realizing sooner the evil that lived within her and expresses his physiognomic beliefs in this sonnet.

E) But what is so dangerous about physiognomy? The answer is found in the propaganda spread by the Nazis during World War II. The Nazis believed, as determined by physiognomy, that the Aryan race was supreme to all others. Their blond hair and blue eyes placed them at a status above all others. Those who were not of Aryan appearance were harmful to this world and deserved to be exterminated. It is with this logic that the Nazis successfully massacred eleven million people, six million of which were European Jews.

F) And now for the modern aspect. Today, the Dove Real Beauty Campaign is a driving force for women everywhere to love their curves and be individuals when it comes to their physical appearances. In Israel, models are viewed as role models as well, and there is a law that prevents any woman from modeling unless she has a certain percent of body fat.

G) Why, you may ask? Why are today's female population counting calories like they're life or death? Because modern society has objectified women. Victoria's Secret Love Your Body Campaign, and their models, are prime examples of the source of self-consciousness today. I still need to do research on this particular aspect but Anorexia and Bulimia are very common issues in teenage girls today. Hopefully I'll find some more modern proofs to back this up as well.


Monday, January 14, 2013



In the history of beauty there are 
several features
that have appeared in tales.
Folklore weaved for the enjoyment of 
young girls, aspiring to grow up and 
become remarkable women.

They are taught the coveted
qualities, the ideal precepts 
that define what a beautiful girl should be 
and the traits she should have.

Ariel is revered for her enchanting voice,
The sound waves smoothly sailing through
the blue ocean that surrounds her.
Its good that auto-tune works under
water, otherwise her story would have
a rather tone-deaf end.

Belle is known for her big, bold
brown eyes, filled with 
curiosity compassion and intelligence.
With eyes so big it's a wonder 
how she ever fell in love with 
such a beastly man.

Cinderella, who stole the show
at the prince's ball
ran down
a flight of stairs 
in a voluminous ball gown
with a pair of glass slippers.
And with the only casualty being
a lost slipper? No one but a gazelle 
has the capability to run so gracefully.
That escape was definitely rehearsed.

Rapunzel, Rapunzel
let down your perfectly combed,
knot-free, silky blonde hair.
It's a good thing you're on a permanent
house arrest, otherwise the sweet blue birds you sing to
could house themselves in the nest
that your hair would become.

Snow White,
with hair as black at night,
lips as red as blood,
and skin as white as snow.
Let's be real, 
no one is that fair.
She's definitely an albino.

Voice, eyes, grace, hair, and skin.
These are what define our princesses
as the beautiful girls that we all idealize.
If only the low self-esteems
instilled in every girl
didn't pop the bubble of the traits
we once found beautiful and inspirational.

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Interview Questions

I decided that for my first interview, I am going to focus on the second definition of beauty (which is something that is internally moral or ethical). There is a common understanding in Jewish women that tzniut and morals are two different things and are to be viewed differently. Rabbi Lamm wrote an article that redefines our perception of tzniut and defines it differently, referring to tzniut as modesty and keeping some aspects within in order to give off a kodesh, or holy, atmosphere. For my interview, I plan to ask several senior girls, female secular teachers, and female Limudei Kodesh teachers the following questions and see how their responses differ.

  1. How would you define internal beauty?
  2. Do you think internal beauty can be visible on the outside?
  3. How would you define tzniut?
  4. How could one achieve internal beauty?
  5. Do you think that tzniut and internal beauty are interchangeable?
  6. What are qualities that you think every person should have in order to be ethical or moral?
  7. Would you equate tzniut and morality?

Interblogging #1

I just checked out Efrat's blog at esecemskifrischleads.blogspot.com

I was so impressed by the progress she has made in her actual project aspect of the paper. She chose her topic of phobias because of her extreme fear of dogs. Through her project, she has made immense progress. She pet her dog for the first time since her family adopted him six months ago! Hopefully she will continue in her progress and relinquish her fear of dogs.

Great job so far!

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Thanks Sheer! Distortion of Mainstream Beauty

SHEER SINGER just showed me this amazing video! It explains how our perception of beauty is so distorted due to the over-processing of models and photographs before they are published. Take a look!