William Cowper Brann on Feminine Beauty
William Cowper Brann describing his notions of feminine beauty. It's quite a read:
"The southern beauty of the novelist is almost invariably a dashing brunette, but she is quite as apt to be a decided blonde. The idea is quite general the world over that while southern women possess more than the average of beauty, it is far more ephemeral than that of their sisters of colder climes. Here, as elsewhere, women of Spanish or Italian extraction are apt to be a blaze of glory in their girlhood, but early lose the charm of face and figure; and here, as elsewhere, the woman of Celtic or Saxon blood seldom reaches the meridian of her beauty before she has doubled " sweet sixteen." A gloriously beautiful woman with grown children is no uncommon sight in the South.
No portion of the earth has ever yet obtained a monopoly of feminine loveliness. It is found under the Arctic circle and at the equator. Many a Michigan and Massachusetts maid is doubtless as divinely fair as was that dame for whom Paris deserted Cenone on many-mountained Ida; but it must be confessed that never yet did a country where the "thermometer ranges from 30 below to 100 above zero become celebrated for womanly beauty. It is the beauty of southern, not of northern Europe that the artist has delighted to sculpture and the poet to sing.
It is not conducive to beauty to compel a woman to vibrate between a hell of fire and a hell of frost — alternately boiling her blood and freezing her face. You can scarce expect to develop an Aphrodite by hanging upon her 40 pounds of furs and flannels and sending her about with drawn shoulders that make her chest resemble the concave of a pie-plate — pigeon-toeing against blizzards until she acquires a gait like a pair o' bars, and a nose like an indigo-bag. Women who desire to be beautiful cannot afford to remain in Michigan, where their complexions are exposed to the raw lake winds in winter and a broiling sun in summer. They must come South where balmy airs make the skin like velvet — airs so delicious that they involuntarily throw back their shoulders and inhale it until they resemble the high-breasted heroines of Homer."
----- William Cowper Brann, "The Iconoclast," 1897
Beauty is only skin deep but Texas is to the bone.