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Perception of "Beauty"

What is beauty? Seriously. How does one obtain the status of being “beautiful”? Is it something that is aesthetically? Something that is agreeable to the senses? Can only people be beautiful? What about art or buildings? When you think about beauty what do you think about?

For me, when I hear beauty, I think of a tall woman, skinny, with long, delicate limbs, clear skin, a brilliant smile, full hair (but not frizzy) and piercing eyes. That is how I perceive beauty. But this definition has long been formed and shaped by fashion industries. In the United States our view of beauty is shockingly narrow, confined and shoved into a small box with no air holes. What if I told you that beauty is a social construct. Beauty is a set of paradigms and norms which are constructed to make people feel bad about the way they look. I’m sure if I told you that, you wouldn’t be surprised, I know when the idea of beauty as a social construct was presented to me, I was not shocked at all. What I did find shocking, however, was how beauty is perceived around the world.

For most of my life, I thought standards of beauty were universal. Since I did not fit the standard of beauty set in the United States- being full-figured, blemished with curly hair and dark eyes- I thought I must not be seen as beautiful anywhere. But beauty holds no one set of norms. In this video:, a portrait of a woman is sent out to different countries with the instructions to photoshop it in order to portray that country’s standard of beauty. The differences are stark. Some countries have changed it very little, others have added make-up, others have darkened or lightened the skin tone, some have altered the hair, some have given her jewelry, tattoos. There are countries where dark equals beautiful, where full-figured and curvy means fertile and strong, where long necks are seen as stunning, where face tattoos are encouraged and cherished. So how can it be that in America, we have girls feeling so bad about themselves because they don’t fit the mold of beauty when, in reality, there is not beauty to be molded. Everyone is beautiful. Everyone- regardless of weight, height, skin tone, blemishes, eyes, hair, the lost goes on and on.

You’re beauty is unique. Even if you don’t believe you are “pretty enough” for the standards that have been set for you, you have beauty that, somewhere in the world, is treasured and strikes awe. There is no one way to be beautiful, and by that logic, how can anyone not be beautiful?

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