Liberalization and Russian beauty

Anne Applebaum writes on a “frivolous [but] interesting” subject: “Where Did All Those Gorgeous Russians Come From?

To put it bluntly, in the Soviet Union there was no market for female beauty. … Unusual beauty, like unusual genius, was considered highly suspicious in the Soviet Union and its satellite people’s republics.

This doesn’t mean there weren’t any beautiful women, of course, just that they didn’t have the clothes or cosmetics to enhance their looks, and, far more important, they couldn’t use their faces to launch international careers. Instead of gracing London drawing rooms, they stayed in Minsk, Omsk, or Alma Ata. Instead of couture, they wore cheap polyester. They could become assembly-line forewomen, Communist Party bosses, even local femmes fatales, but not Vogue cover girls. They didn’t even dream of becoming Vogue cover girls, since very few had ever seen an edition of Vogue. …

Beauty is a matter of luck, but the same could be said of many other talents. And what open markets do for beautiful women they also do for other sorts of genius.

This even explains the Putin Girl.

Jon Sanders / Director of Regulatory Studies

Jon Sanders studies regulatory policy, a veritable kudzu of invasive government and unintended consequences. As director of regulatory studies at the John Locke Foundation, Jo...

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