Essay about Historical Definitions of Beauty

Essay about Historical Definitions of Beauty

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Throughout history, beauty in a person has been defined as someone with the physical appearance that was pleasant to the eye. Although beauty varies among different cultures and areas, people who are younger, with average looking symmetrical features, well proportioned bodies, along with some combination of inner beauty, are considered beautiful. The more average a persons’ features are to society the more attractive that person appears to be. Charles Darwin’s cousin, Francis Galton, was the first to notice this when he overlaid images of vegetarians and criminals to see if there were typical facial appearances for each. When doing this, he noticed that the overlaid faces were more attractive then the original photos(Beauty, 2009).
Western beliefs of beauty can date back to 570 B.C. when the Pythagorean school saw a strong connection between mathematics and beauty. People with proportions closer to the golden ratio were deemed more attractive than ones that were further from the ratio. To this day, people with the golden ratio ideal characteristics are known as classical beauties(Beauty, 2009).
Eastern ideals date back to 1 B.C. to Yang Yuhuan, the favored concubine of emperor Xuanzong, who was known for a plump but fit body, and adept at the vigorous whirling dance of the nomads. In contrast, Yan to Zhao Feiyan, wife of emperor Chengdi, was said to be so slim that she could dance on the palm of a hand (Huo, n.d.).
Although ideas of beauty change with the times, there were 10 main aspects for a beautiful women in ancient China: black lustrous hair; hair loosely coiled on the head to give the appearance of height; finely shaped black eyebrows; large expressive eyes; red lips and white teeth (also an indicator of healt...


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Lewis, T. (2010). The Lengths We Go for Beauty. Retrieved January 30, 2011, from Harman Newsweek LLC website: http://www.newsweek.com/​photo/​2010/​07/​19/​beauty-ideals-around-the-world.html
Parry, R. L. (2008, April 8). Kayan ‘Giraffe Women’ trapped in Thailand by tourist trade. Retrieved February 28, 2011, from Times Newspapers website: http://www.timesonline.co.uk/​tol/​news/​world/​asia/​article3701576.ece
Smith, A. D. (2009, March 1). Girls being force-fed for marriage as fattening farms revived. Retrieved March 3, 2011, from Guardian News and Media Limited website: http://www.guardian.co.uk/​world/​2009/​mar/​01/​mauritania-force-feeding-marriage
Tait, R. (2005, May 7). Vanity and boredom fuel Iran’s nose job boom. Retrieved February 18, 2011, from http://www.guardian.co.uk/​world/​2005/​may/​07/​lifeandhealth.iran

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