The concept of beauty can be hard to define, as it is an ever-evolving notion. What people perceive as beauty has varied through time, across cultures (Fallon 1990) and can also vary based on individuals. To a culture, beauty can be its customs and traditions, and to an individual it can include physical appearance (outer beauty) or personality (inner beauty). However the word beauty can also defer according to gender, Ambrose Bierce (1958) once wrote, “To men, a man is but a mind. Who cares what face he carries or what he wears? But a woman’s body is the woman.” Despite the societal changes achieved since Bierce’s time, this statement still holds true. Attractiveness is a prerequisite for femininity but not for masculinity (Freedman, 1986).
Glowing caramel tan on flawless skin, voluptuous breasts and butt on a stick-thin model, long lashes, silky hair with volume, 5’7 or taller, white perfectly aligned teeth under big lips, a hairless body, and on top of all that the latest fashion produced by designer brands that leave little to the imagination. That’s the American beauty perception for women in a nutshell. Men? Biceps, broad shoulders, large chest, six-pack abs, whatever screams manly and won’t scare off the ladies. However there young girls who go crazy over pretty, metrosexual boys nowadays. At least these beauty standards are possible to belong to different races. As expected of the melting pot America is.
What is beauty? Beauty is defined as “the quality of being physically attractive or the qualities in a person or a thing that give pleasure to the senses or the mind” (Merriam-Webster dictionary, 2014, para. 1). Heine (2012) has found that beauty and attractiveness can vary across cultures. Although, there are specific features of a person that seem to be considered as beautiful and attractive across all culture spectrums. These features are: complexion, bilateral symmetry, average sized facial features, and biracial faces. However, weight in regards to attractiveness and beauty varies drastically across cultures. Through this discovery, there may be a correlation between the perception of beauty and attractiveness in each culture and its effects of body dissatisfaction and eating disorder rates. Is beauty really in the eye of the beholder? We will examine how what is considered to be attractive and beautiful can have both similarities and differences across cultures. In addition, we will examine eating disorders, and how they are influenced by the beauty standards that are set in specific cultures.
Beauty is what gives us pleasure and makes us happy. Beauty is both internal and external depending on how we are cultured to appreciate it. The contribution of our physical attributes aesthetics attitudes, dispositions, kindness, selflessness, hearts, and love; all are beautiful in the eyes of the beholder, merely for the reason that they delight the mind. Beauty holds a different meaning to different people and comes in many different forms. Some forms of beauty are establish in nature, such as a magnificent sunset, or beautiful flowers in a community garden, while other forms are found in fine art and classical
According to Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary- Eleventh Edition, beauty is “the quality or aggregate of qualities in a person or thing that gives pleasure to the senses or pleasurably exalts the mind or spirit.” (page 108 of Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary) But what is beauty really? How does one rationalize its complexity?
Beauty has differed through time, different cultures and perceptions of the world. It’s not easy to define beauty, you could say that there are “a thousand” definitions of beauty. And there are numerous degrees of each. “Beauty depends on the eye of the beholder”. This saying is correct because what one individual considers beautiful is not necessarily what another individual may consider beautiful. Someone “beautiful on the outside” can be “ugly inside”. The media and the society are constantly using the conception of “beauty” to show us what we should strive to be. They assert that we have to appear a certain way to be viewed as beautiful. This is wrong, so what is beauty, really, and what different ways of looking at beauty are there?
Beauty is in the eye of the beholder. Cliche as it may be, this maxim holds true throughout the world, whether it be in regards to celebrities, cars, rural lanscapes, gritty cityscapes, your co-worker’s children, or your father-in-law’s turkey carving skills. Holding differing points of view in regards to what is considered beauty is something that humanity has argued over for centuries. What one sees as merely a rundown subway car, another may see the small sparks of creativity in the walls’ grafitti, the colorful bursts of commuters’ clothing, the sheer beauty of humanity itself in the hidden spaces of the train. Discussions over what is truly beautiful are common throughout humanity’s history, though nowhere are they as obvious or as well documented as they are in the art world.
What is art? Art and assessment are deeply unified, since our ability to experience and understand artistic works is intensely unfair by our own perceptions. Consequently, any definition of art should emphasize the importance of perception in creating and experiencing art. In the film (Why Beauty Matters) by Roger Scruton, he is bringing out some pinnacles of art, and some of his observation and mines are somewhat in comparison.
Let's start the essay from the understanding of art by Leo Tolstoy (1828-1920). He still holds that for people art is beauty and beauty are something which imparts the sense of pleasure and satisfaction. The author still accepts the argument, though the notion is purely subjective in nature.
Are all two hundred and fifty works of art in display at the exhibition worthy of being called a thing of beauty? Ken Johnson of the New York Times believes that critics these days evaluate art and design for their abilities to promote new ideas and behaviors. One of the greatest features of the “Beauty” exhibit comes in its experience, the way the
Thus, it seems, the processes of appreciation and evaluation which lead to the conclusion that an object, whether a work of art or otherwise, is beautiful, are the same in all cases, and the paradigm for those processes must be that which is furnished by the appreciation and estimation of a natural beauty free of all intervention by concepts, whether the concept of art or any more specific concept.