Real Women: A Different Take on 100 Years of Beauty

The past year has seen many YouTube videos of “100 Years of Beauty.” Generally these follow one model’s transformation through the major fashion trends of each decade, and each video takes a specific country’s style (for an example, 100 Years of Beauty in Iran).


These videos are often idealized–they follow a culture’s standard of beauty as time goes on. And blogger Karolina Żebrowska sees something incomplete about this–they are not about real women. These videos trace ideals of women, and oftentimes just the most wealthy. In Karolina’s words:


At first I wanted to compare stereotypical beauty standards in history with the image that was truly popular in particular decades. But when doing research I realized there’s also something else – all of these videos concentrate on the ideals of beauty, and there’s none focusing on reality!


So, in a different spin, Karolina shows a beautiful 1900s Gibson girl, then follows with a 1900s factory worker (“in 1901, almost 40% of factory workers were female”). She shows a 1910 era woman about to board the Titanic with expensive clothes, then a woman of the suffragette movement. It’s refreshing to see a depiction of the less-glamorous women of these eras–especially in this popular medium.


The video closes with this message: “Please, don’t forget real women.”