I’ve long loved Botticelli’s The Birth of Venus, as has much of the Western world. Odd, then, that this woman probably wouldn’t make the cover of a magazine today. More thigh than thigh gap, the goddess of love doesn’t meet our beauty standards.
She’s not quite a Venus of Willendorf but her stance is similar – thighs pressed together to the knee, one foot firmly planted as she steps towards us. The artist’s emphasis on her abdomen is similar, too. Like the older fertility goddess, her belly button draws our eye to her torso which is center, central, and soft. Her sensuality stems from what is there not, like the thigh gap fetish, from what is missing.
But if she’s not quite of Willendorf, Botticelli’s Venus isn’t quite of the contemporary western world, either. Here’s what today’s “perfect woman” looks like Continue reading