In the current climate, within the fashion industry and the reality of the world, it is hard to keep up with the agenda of what perfection looks like. Led most often by beauty industries that capitalise on imperfection, the boundary of an ideal body, and ideal home, and a perfect self is pushed every day.
Editorial works by duo photographers Anuschka Blommers \ Niels Schumm.
Self-confidence is regulated: to be seen as perfect, we must be confident but not too confident, this will be interpreted as arrogance, and that isn’t what perfect is. To be perceived as confident we also must be stable, both mentally and physically. Our bodies must be in the best possible condition, but we´re rarely allowed to be overt with the confidence of our physicality and mental strength.
Perfection is a glorified idealism that is pushed upon individuals from every angle of the outside world. The border of authenticity is constantly negotiated and pushed, often to the disadvantage of the individual, under changing definition of what is perfection and how it materialises. Visibility plays a great role to this: to be perfect is to be endorsed as perfect; is to be seen as such, to carry the parameters of perfection set by the looking agents.
There is a history of the ideal of perfection we can observe, which speaks to the nature of it being a constructed phenomenon; Its weight, however, has never been so adamantly placed on individuals, as it is today.
Perfection comes from the expression “to bring to an end,” and it is etymologically linked to the word “finishing.” Its connotations send to biblical understandings, with the character of God being described as the most perfect being. The oldest definition of perfection derives from Aristotle, in which perfection is whittled down into three shades: something which is complete, something which is so good that nothing of the kind could be better, and something that has attained a purpose. Perfection is therefore a final stage in an evolutionary process: to cross its outer frontiers is to return to a lower stage in the process.
When did the ideal of perfection become so filtered, and pushed into a single body image or class ideal for people to consistently keep up with and constantly push its limits?
The question comes down to: how can we truly be striving towards a main ideal, which is seen as a mechanism of improving ourselves, when to be seen to improve ourselves is reduced to keeping up with a boxed idea. When the standard of “perfection” is continually being updated, we can never truly keep up, we can never be fully ourselves, but a self working towards reaching a better version.
The evolution of beauty as marker of perfection is a perfect and well-known example of the fluidity that defines this experience. In a world where reality itself is increasingly challenged by versions of the real, by alternative truths, and false knowledge taken at face value, it´s worth considering the place and role of the absolute status of the ideal of perfection. We navigate our world embracing moral relatives and we make and remake laws to fit our needs; one thing, however remains the same: perfection, regardless of its replaceable content and materialisations, is still an absolute. As we move forward, the question must be: how will the shifting understanding of perfection contribute to us imagining and designing a better future?
Words: Daisy Scott
Copy edited by Elena Stanciu