Beauty ideals: the Persian princess that shocked the world

beauty ideals

It’s unfortunate how society’s feminine beauty ideals change continuously. I say this with a negative connotation because they seem to shift towards the worst with every passing minute. This is especially true when we talk about Western culture’s beauty standards. 

If we go back a couple of decades, we can clearly see this frightening transformation. The 80s promoted the image of super fit but not too muscular women. In the 90s visible collar bone was extremely popular. The 2000s continued celebrating a thin body. In the 2010s the mention of the name Kim Kardashian is pretty much self-explanatory. 

But what if we go back a couple of centuries? Let’s say 19th century Persia. Will we meet the exact same beauty standards or will our jaws drop when we learn what people considered beautiful? 

The famous princess Qajar 

The Persian definition of beauty was not even close to the one Western culture is promoting these days. One of the glorious Iranian beauty symbols was princess Zahra Khanom Tadj es-Saltaneh, or simply known as princess Qajar. As the daughter of King Naser al-Din Shah, she was a center of attention not only because of her prominent social position but also because of her celebrated beauty. At one point, pictures of her went viral and her looks turned many heads. 

The unique Persian beauty ideals 

Since the appearance of the photo above and many others, the Persian beauty ideals have become a hot topic of discussion. In 19th century Persia masculinity in women was highly desirable. Thus, they never dared wax their mustache or trim their eyebrows. Facial hair was not looked down upon with disgust and criticism, but rather with respect. Moreover, there was nothing wrong with being a little plump. Some find the princess hideous and in total contrast with today’s beauty ideals and with what society usually considers feminine. But others accept her unique looks and with the help of her photos fight for the dispelling of these toxic standards.

It is sad how our century’s aesthetic norms change with such an alarming speed. It almost seems like they are impossible to be stopped. So, I believe it is about time we start rejecting society’s molds and simply be able to shamelessly grow a pair of mustaches if we wish to do so. 


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