Modeling, the Aesthetics of Body in Culture: Issues and Impacts – An Ethnographic Study in the Silchar City, Assam

  • Deepshikha Sarkar
  • Abhijit Das


In all societies, peoples beautify or decorate or adorn as well as shape their bodies according to their norms and values. The decoration may be permanent – scars, tattoos, changes in the shape of body part, or they may be temporary – in the form of paint or objects such as features, jewelry, skins, and clothing that are not strictly utilitarian. Much of this decoration for beautification seems to be motivated by aesthetic considerations, which of course presently become institutionalized with a global appeal, may vary culture to culture. However, in addition to satisfying aesthetic needs, body decoration or adornment may be used to delineate social position, rank, sex, profession, local, global and ethnic identity or religion within a society. Along with social stratification come visual means of declaring status and aesthetic from of body in the form of modeling. Modeling is an institutionalized form of beautification of body in contemporary culture and hence, one of the vital areas of present day social-culture anthropology.Barak Valley is the second largest populated valley of Assam. From the year of 2014 modelling becomes more popular in Barak Valley of Silchar, after introducing a traditional beauty pageant and a Bengali life style magazine. An ethnographic and cross-cultural research was conducted among the models. Models are using their physical body for advertising by maintaining their body by exercise, dieting, regular care of skin, hair etc. to form cultural body. They are developing required body language day by day by proper grooming. Most of them are working for photographers, designers and fashion magazines etc. The methods like participation observation, intensive interview, case studies along with the structured questionnaires have been used to collect the empirical data for the present study. Some books, journals, internet sources have also been utilized for secondary data.Keywords: Culture, body, adornment, modelling, fashion, professionalism