This week the idea of time is what resinated with me. How body image, treatments, and technologies have adjusted as everyday standards kept changing. Both the Sailor Jerry Film and the “hairless norm” readings eluded to time. I found the parallels between the timelines of tattooing in the ‘rebel’ world and hemlines in the ‘sophisticated’ world interesting and, ultimately worth exploring. World War II seemed to be the era for change in society. Other courses have taught me that as WWII was beginning, soldiers in America were too obese to fit into the airplanes and tanks, which influenced the west’s first PE classes and gym teachers. With the new ideas that women were equal to men, they also began to exercise and the ideal woman’s body changed along with the healthy lifestyle. Despite the early beginnings of gender equality, society continued (and continues) to focused on female appearances and presence. This meant that despite the exercising like men, they could not smell bad, not look groomed nor have the freedom to wear what they wanted. The urban women continued to conform through their shorter hemlines, hair removal and makeup. Meanwhile, the soldiers at war began defining themselves through unique modifications such as tattoos.
Through the readings and video’s it seemed to me that in the early WWII days there were two extremes: clean and innocent or totally “tatted up”. I would be curious to see when, in time, the middle grounds became popular.
Myself, for example, began putting a bright colored streak in my hair when I was 16. It began with violet, to blue and now I have red with a feather. While I love this little extra touch, I don’t think I could ever get a tattoo or another piercing. But I also know that I could not go a month without shaving, fixing my eyebrows or even letting my nail polish chip.
We spoke in class about if we actually have a choice in how we esthetically modify our bodies. In the case of WWII extremes, did they have a choice? What do you think you would do?