‘100 Years of Beauty’ videos demonstrate more than the history of fashion

 Image Source: Rodrigo Canisella Fávero, Flickr, Creative Commons   Ensaio PinUp!

Image Source: Rodrigo Canisella Fávero, Flickr, Creative Commons
Ensaio PinUp!

Washington, DC (TFC) – A series of videos released by Cut shows the hairstyles of women in various countries over the last one hundred years. Many would dismiss the videos as more random fashion culture flooding the web, but they are so much more than that.

Whether intentional or not, the series highlights historical and societal changes that have occurred over the last century in countries all over the world. As you watch the videos, try to remember that typically form follows function. Why did the style change? What was happening during that decade? Nowhere is that cause and effect more apparent than the video of Iran’s fashion.

Iran is one of those crazy fundamentalist countries where women are property. They wear hijabs and they scream “death to the Great Satan” at every opportunity. It’s like that today and it’s been like that since the beginning of time, or at least since Islam arrived. Right? Not even close. Take a look:

Unless you are familiar with Iranian history, the first sixty years or so probably came as bit of a surprise. They could very easily be US or UK fashions. So why the change? What happened? Prior to 1951, an Islamist revolution was out of the question, but that year the government of Iran decided to try to step out from under the neocolonial rule of the UK. It decided to nationalize oil interests, much to the dismay of British and US investors. The US and the UK responded in proper western fashion: they overthrew the government in Iran and appointed a new dictator…er…leader. Our man in Tehran, the Shah, kept the country under martial law for a while, increased military spending, turned the country’s intelligence service (SAVAK) into a violent internal security force, and basically created the conditions for a revolution.

That revolution took place in 1979, and it brought the Ayatollah Khomeini to power. That’s the style of government we know today. The Iranians (rightfully) blamed the west for placing them under the rule of a bad government. That action of the western-back coup d’etat had an equal and opposite reaction: Islamist revolution. The green-clad fashion towards the end is symbolic of Iran’s Green Revolution, sparked by fraudulent election results.

The other videos in the series provide a similar insight and unique teaching tool for other nations: