Taurus Season is Here

Pink tree blossoms are starting to dapple the side walks, and the pollen has been doing its familiar number on me and my fellow Philadelphians in the last week or two. To my delight, there was a detectable trace of sunlight in the sky last night around 8pm, and daytime temperatures have been more comfortably sustained in the 60’s. Taurus season has arrived.

Taurus the bull is one of two astrologicals sign ruled by Venus, the planet of love, beauty and pleasure (the other being Libra). And in what feels like a timely procession of events, I just finished listening to an episode of Jameela Jamil’s podcast iWeigh, “How to Divorce Yourself from Modern Beauty Standards” wherein she interviews author Emma Dabiri on her new book Disobedient Bodies: Reclaim Your Unruly Beauty. Their discussion about the origins of modern beauty standards and the damage that those standards can wreak is an eye-opener, no matter where you are in your journey to decolonize your mind. (I will most definitely be adding this title to my ever-growing “to read” pile.)

Decoupling Beauty from Pain

I especially appreciated the part of the discussion towards the end of the podcast episode wherein Dabiri and Jamil help listeners consider how to decouple the pain and oppression associated with modern beauty standards from the sense of joy and sensuality one can experience in the act of self-adornment (e.g. painting your face, styling your hair, engaging in spa treatments, dressing in beautiful clothing and jewelry). As Taurus season can help remind us, it is indeed possible to enjoy the sensual pleasure of aesthetic rituals for what they are when we take away the idea that these rituals have to be a means to an end. That is, a means to meet an impossible and ever-changing beauty standard under the false belief that adhering to such standards will bring us the love and security that we crave and that beauty product advertisements promise.

Art for Art’s Sake

And we can apply this same principle of divorcing the journey from the destination to the act of creating art as well. Playing with art materials, engaging our senses in the sight, sound, texture and smell (and maybe sometimes taste?) of various art media can be inherently joyful, particularly when you take away the pressure or goal of creating a finished product. It’s art for art’s sake, loves! And it’s a gift that you can give to yourself at nearly any time when you can set aside arbitrary standards that you yourself may not have consciously consented to.

Beauty is in the Eye of the Beholder

The act of creation can also help us to stop objectifying ourselves and lean into our subjective experience of beauty, including the things we see, hear, touch, smell or taste that elicit pleasure. When you do things like sing your favorite song, take photos of the sunset or videos of your pets, prepare your favorite foods, or put words to your experiences, you are creating and engaging in your own personal definition of beauty rather than aspiring to the limited standard of what advertisers may compel you to pursue in the hopes that you’ll trade your money for their products. Know what I mean? Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, and it doesn’t have to be what white supremacy, patriarchy and capitalism dictate. With that in mind, I hope you’ll take this Taurus season to truly consider what beauty means to you.