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100 Years of Beauty

100 Years of Beauty

100 Years of Beauty

To understand how a country’s political and economic landscape has changed, there is no better place to start than with the beauty and fashion trends of women. Women are the shop front for the shifting ideals, moods and conservatism within a country. Women’s fashion and beauty can also tell a person a lot about a specific country’s culture.

Cut Video, in their latest playlist of videos, 100 Years of Beauty – which can be found on YouTube- show how fashion and beauty from countries around the world has changed from 1910 to 2010. At present there has been three episodes made about two individual countries; the USA and Iran.

The USA has two videos, the first one featuring model Marshay, shows how beauty and fashion have changed in USA for African American women over the last century. The second video features model Nina showing how fashion and beauty has changed over the last hundred years for White American women.

These two videos once watched after each other show the USA to be a diverse melting pot of multiple cultures. They highlight the differing cultures within America still today, by showing the viewers the differences and styles between these two cultures and how they complement and take ideas from one another. Although the style does not necessarily show us anything about the political landscape in the last hundred years it shows how these two cultures live and work together on a day to day basis.

The video depicting how fashion and beauty have changed over the last hundred years in Iran, featuring model Sabrina shows how in 1910, in Iran women sported monobrows and had pared-down make-up, with close fitting hijabs. A decade later, the hijab became looser and softer around the crown of the head reflecting social change; this is when the Iranian social movement for women began. By the 1930s, the Shah of Iran Mohammad Reza Shah Pahlavi implemented big changes- starting with the name of country being changed from Persia to Iran, and banned the hijab. Until the 1980s the video shows hair of women getting more elaborate, with make-up becoming heavier and looks reflecting western trends. With the Revolution of 1979, so too did the sober, black hijab and women’s faces were devoid of make-up. However, hope flourished and came into being with the Green Movement which sought to bring about political change after the 2009 Presidential election. While the hijab remain mandatory in 2010 the look becomes a bit looser and more colourful.

These videos from Cut Video show that like beauty, no political landscape remains the same. They also highlight – in the case of the USA more particularly - how cultures mix and in sense become one bigger culture. In regards to Iran the video shows the ever changing cultural and political landscape. Ultimately the videos show that any change in how women dress can be seen as a change in the country and how we should start to look deeper into what we see and stop taking everything for face value.  


A very powerful message.


Nina is in her Honours year at The University of Strathclyde in Glasgow studying History. She loves keeping fit and healthy at the gym and singing to her hearts content. Because of Nina's love of all things history related, she has a passion for reading, writing and researching. Nina is the Editor-in-Chief for an online magazine for female students at Strathclyde called Her Campus Strath and wants to continue her passion for writing after graduation. 


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