Comparative Art Essay: Classic Japanese Beauties vs. Beavis

In this essay I will compare and contrast ukiyo-e (woodblock print) depictions of classic Japanese beauties made in the 18th and 19th centuries with depictions of Beavis, a delinquent teenage cartoon character, rendered by contemporary artist Mike Judge. Both types of artwork express the zeitgeist of the era they were created.

Bijin-ga (literally, "beautiful person picture") prints were very popular among Japanese merchants and the middle class and were most likely used to decorate the hearth and to masterbate to.

Beavis, of the 1990’s MTV show Beavis & Butthead, was a tool to ridicule teenage dirtbags/metalheads to the delight of normal kids throughout the United States.

As abundantly evident below, both figures have distinctively protruding lower jaws, elongated noses with gaping nostrils, inclined eyes and eyelashes, and elaborately coiffed hair. There are almost no differences.

To conclude, depictions of classic Japanese “beauties” are nearly identical to those of Beavis. As below, looking into a mirror for one of these bijin is literally like looking at a picture of the Great Cornholio.

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