Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, but is it synonymous with pain? Torture?

The Women’s Museum of California’s current exhibit, Beauty or Torture: Society’s Demand of Perfection Examined, showcases a woman’s quest for beauty. Focused on 19th and 20th century beauty trends, the Liberty Station venue highlights “what people of their time found aesthetically and socially valuable,” while inviting women to experience their “own deeply personal journey in pursuit of her own ideal.”

Featuring “weird” beauty trends that paralleled social climates, the exhibit questions, “How far would you go to achieve your ideal of beauty?” Posters, pictures, vintage clothing and beauty paraphernalia explore the “evolution of the impossible standards of beauty.” Methods to alter one’s appearance are “dwarfed only by the myriad of objects that have been created to do so.”