Beauty standards of different centuries and its sacrifices

You might heard a lot of time the words as “beauty requires sacrifice”. Sociologists said that women are ready to kill their selves for beauty. Is it actually like this? What people of all genders were doing before and what they are doing today to fit into different beauty standards?

From time to time the beauty standard is changing and I want to talk about how it has change and what are women and men ready to do to follow these standards.

Beauty was important to the women all this time and it even more important to men. Because it was a man who noted in the late 1700s that a woman’s “first merit is that of beauty.”

The words “beauty of pain” was actually like this some centuries ago. Women in 17th 18th and 19th centuries were actually killing their selves running after the beauty standards.

Lead carbonate

Picture of woman from 18th century

If people nowadays are spending hours on the beach or going to the tanning salons to darken their complexions. People in 17th – 18th century’s major was having extremely pale skin. A women with a white skin was seen as a higher status, because she didn’t need to work under the sun in the fields all day. In the 18th century people were using lead powder to get their skin look pain. Using this product you were getting that result. Lead carbonate were believed to be effective in the treatment of certain skin pathologies, capable of eroding imperfections of the skin, polishing, cleaning and bleaching the face. If the phrase “bleaching face” sound dangerous you are absolutely right! But because of this type of makeup women would often report hair loss, damaged teeth, inflamed eyes, and even blackened skin. Also, it cosmetics brought paralysis, brain cancer and other fatal diseases.

Cochineal Insects

17th century
Cochineal Insects                     

To finish their look they were adding red paint to their lips and cheeks. To create the red pigments they went so far that it was delivered from the cochineal insects!

Tapeworm diet 


People in 17th century they had a ball inside if them were an eggs of the tapeworms and they were eating them. On the question why they were doing it I found an answer for that – to lose weight and have tiny waist to attract their husbands. They were eating all the food instead of the hostess and they could reach in some cases 30 meters long.

Tapeworm eggs sells even nowadays. As soon as it hatches, tapeworm will grow inside of your body and you can eat whatever you want and still lose weight, because it will eat everything what you are eating.

Sounds good right? Eat burgers and don’t worry about the weight. But it just sounds that good. It is extremely dangerous and it causes more harm than good. You start to have pain in the abdomen, feeling of weakness, fever, complication of the brain, complication of the brain and nervous system which can cause dementia and vision issues, disruption in the function of various organs in your body including the lungs and liver.



The juice of the belladonna was used by women. They were  bury their eyes. From this they acquired brilliance, and the pupils dilated. But it was ending with blindness.



Arsenic is a substance that has been known to both the “healer” and the “poisoner” throughout history. This is one of the most dangerous chemical poisoner in the Earth. We are going to talk not about small amount of dose for the medical purposes.

Some centuries ago, women were using arsenic for their beauty.

People wanted to have smooth skin and to get that result, ladies used very dubious means as mixing in equal proportion arsenic and hydrated lime. After that, in the bathhouse put the “magic cream” on the skin.

Why they were doing that? I just have to say, that even doctors were advising to do not get married with a women that has a hair on her face and body.

The women of 17th and 18th centuries found a new way to use arsenic. On that time was a fashion to have a pain skin colour, having really pain skin colour was meaning that you are from the higher social class and if you have darker colour was meaning that you are from the working class and that you worked in the fields under the sun.

Ladies from that time were extremely scared of the sun as from the fire. To emphasise their high social class they had to artificially add skin radiance and exquisite pallor. And arsenic was just one the poisons that they were using to get the plain result.

Is really difficult to say how many lives claimed such a thirst for beauty.

To be honest even now some cosmetic companies are using arsenic in their products but his scanty amount is officially allowed to add to cosmetics.


Different types of corsets

This corsets was to make you slim. In the middle of 16th century, corsets were a common thing in European women wardrobe.

In the beginning of 13th century they had a wide belt for men and women. After a while, it was made for women only, such a belt supported the chest and highlighted the waist.

In the end of 15th century the beauty standards has changed and women should have big breast and thin waist and wide hips.

To get this kind if body they were wearing this corsets and were laced so tight that it disturbed the blood circulation in the body. It was that tight that women fainted and none was surprised.

Corset with sewn metal

In corsets sewn metal or wooden plates that squeezed the female figure in a vice.

Later that time, there was corsets from metal and with little holes for ventilation.

Metal corset

Obviously the results of wearing this corsets were incredible, it was possible to tighten up to 25 centimetres. Nevertheless, frequent women fainting and wearing such corsets for years deformed the internal organs and led to early death.

deformed organs
A: Natural positions of  internal organs. B: Deformed by corsets

In the beginning of 18th century start to sell corsets from whalebone. And the standards of  women waist was 40 centimetres but later it start to be 33 centimetres.

Ethel Granger with the waist of 33 centimetres

As the owner of the thinnest waist who entered the Guinness Book of Records was Ethel Granger, a resident of Great Britain who died in 1982. She had waist of 33 centimetres.

We were talking only about the women beauty standards, let’s see what was happening with men standards and what they were doing.

Louis de France

Men didn’t have to have big muscles because they were not fashionable. As you could get them, only of moving heavy things, which working class were doing. But it was good to have a hint of muscles and trained body, achieved by practice, riding or dancing, but not mountain-muscles and little belly and double chested was fashionable too. A belly meant that a man could afford to eat that much. There was some time when gentlemen were adding a bit of padding to achieve this look.

Hieronymus van Beverningh

The next handsome thing in men was dark and long hair and worn a slight curl.

I think that for men it was easier to fit into beauty standards.

In my opinion the beauty standards was really terrible and they were bringing a death.

Okay.. The things above is what women were ready to do to be beautiful on that time, but what has change nowadays? What are we doing and what we are using to be beautiful?

Even if today women doesn’t wear corsets and do not use any poisons as arsenic, lead carbonate and belladonna for their beauty but the fashion industry always making up new trends and giving new challenges to people.

According to the research of New Year resolution showed that 64% of asked people wish to lose weight and get fitter and 50% want to live healthier lifestyle.

There is not really that big pressure on how you suppose to look.

The beauty standards nowadays is very different as everyone had access to internet and find a look that you will like and that will make you feel comfortable. However, let’s have a look what is the most popular beauty standards nowadays and what modern people do for their beauty.

Slim body 


Getting slimmer and lack of weight might cause a very big problems. In those unwanted consequences can be the risk of miscarriage, infertility, the development of diabetes, lung disease, depression, arthritis and even an increased risk of death in a car accident.

Kim Kardashian

But not only slim body is trending nowadays, I think everyone knows Kim Kardashian, and if not here is a picture of her. She made a new trend in body image for females and nowadays is more popular to have big boobs and big hips.

But not everyone likes that, most of people just want to look slim and have not too big hips. Personally, I do not like this look, is just too much. I think that it doesn’t look natural.

Doing nails 


Nowadays is also popular to do your nails and there are a huge amount of design that nail technicians provide. They can be with the diamonds, drawings and many others. It is easy to girls because even if you have short nails you can make them as long as you want.

Once you’ve done your nails you will get used to how it looks like and when there will be a time to remove them you will want to do them again and again. So, it is kind of addiction, but it also destroy your natural nails as they use a lot of chemical things to make your nails long and look beautiful.

It is also danger in some cases, for example if you have done too long nails you can break them easily, in some cases even with your own nail.

Also, it is danger because when you visit a nail salon you never know who was before you and if the stuff properly disinfected and cleaned their apparatuses and you can easily get infected.

I personally a nail technician and in my opinion you don’t have to do your nails too often as it is bad for your nails, they become very soft and start to break very easily. You have to give a break for your nails.

High heels

high heels
High heels

Wearing high heels can cause some issues. I know you might think that there is nothing bad wearing them and I agree with you that wearing them just on some special days a few times per year will not cause any big issues with your body. On the other hand, if you are wearing them most of the time, you might get transverse flatfoot, arthritis (inflammation of the joints), arthrosis (joint deformities), edema, thrombophlebitis, varicose veins.

Tattoos and piercings

Tattoo and piercing salon

There is not a lot of cases when something happened with this, but if this happened it can be really serious. The danger can be from the metal that they use as it insufficient sterility.

During the procedure it is easily get germs or infection like AIDS, hepatitis B and C, tetanus, tuberculosis if the materials that they use is not clean enough.

Most of the time the difficulties can be from tongue piercing. As when you do a piercing in the tongue it start to bleeding and a lot of bleeding can block the airway.



Removing hair from the intimate parts with hair wax poses health problems. Doctors says that after removing any hair from any part of your body appears wounds on the body which is the entrance for all sorts of infections and sickness sexually transmitted, such as herpes.

Hair coloring

Choose your hair colour wisely

Nowadays I think dying hair is normal thing. Every women dye their hair at least once a month. If before it was the things that only women were doing nowadays even men change and dye their hair.

When you dye your hair too often increases the risk of chronic leukemia, follicular lymphoma.

Plastic surgery


Plastic surgery is becoming popular from time to time. People can change their look if they do not like something. They can change the shape of their face, nose, lips (cheiloplasty), eyes (blepharoplasty).

For the first few weeks after the surgery women suffer from sharp pains and this pains can appears even after a long time. In the list of possible complications after surgery might be addiction, you might can a lot of infections, allergy, tissue rejection or necrosis.

Make up 


Wearing a make-up is much safer than it used to be before. People like when their eyelashes is really long and even when you are wearing a make-up it suppose look natural even you use it a lot. You have limitless amount of products that will look very natural on your skin.


There is no rules on how your make up has to look like. It can be very bright or just a little bit or you can even don’t put it at all.

Skin colour 

skin colour

Skin colour is also depends of the person and how he likes it look. It can be tanned or fair.

If years ago tanned skin colour, in Europe, was meaning that you are from working class, now it means that you are having good holidays. But in Asia, having fair skin colour still popular, but again it depends of people and what they like.

Men’s beauty standards

men standard

Men’s beauty standards nowadays has change as well as women. If before they were thinking that is not good to have huge musculus, nowadays men prefer to have them.

As you can realise, there is a really big differences between the beauty standard from 21st century and 17-19th centuries.

People were going through different types of suffer to look beautiful, were living with a tapeworm inside of their body to get slimmer and in the result were dying earlier.

Now it might look much easier than before, but now everyone has access to the internet and people can see how other people look like and how they live and sometimes it make big pressure on people. Moreover there are a lot of adverts about how to look like and how to lose weight.

Mega Rear_RT

After you see other people you start to change yourself and tying to look like them, start to sit on terrible diets that says to eat just one apple per day. Trying to look like someone and to lose weight people start having eating disorder and anorexia.

Even when people want to get a fit body, some people overwork in gyms and start to faint.

Personally, I think that people doesn’t have to compare their selfies with others, and people should not do something because others do.

Everyone is prefer exactly in the way how they are. You can be special only because there is none like you in the Earth and you the only one. Love yourself!


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