Beauty is in the Eye of the Beholder …

Is a perpetual concept, as old as humans, but the phrase may first have originated in Margaret Wolfe Hungerford’s 1878 novel Molly Bawn.

Wikipedia defines Beauty – (also called prettiness, loveliness or comeliness) is a characteristic of a person, animal, place, object, or idea that provides a perceptual experience of pleasure or satisfaction.  An “ideal beauty” is an entity which is admired, or possesses features widely attributed to beauty in a particular culture, for perfection.

To the working class, people with soft, untanned skin are considered beautiful.  While in the US, especially before the 1980’s, dark, tanned skin is considered more beautiful.  The ancient Greeks and Romans chiseled their statues of gods looking full, voluptuous, and bordering on pudgy.  The Bodi tribe in Ethiopia has a contest each year to see who can get the fattest (by drinking milk).  But in many Western Cultures, stick thin women are adored.

Bodi Tribe winners of the Fattest Man contest

Neck Stretching occurs in parts of Africa and Asia

What about neck stretching, or stretching earlobes, bottom lips, wrapping girls feet, etc.? I have not grown up with these images and do not find them aesthetically appealing, but I find them interesting.  I believe that beauty comes from the images we are accustomed to.  Art can be attractive or unappealing depending on the person viewing the art.  Images we see regularly (such as bone thin women on the covers of magazines) become something familiar and comfortable and then attractive.  I think this happens with other things, especially music.

Radio stations must know that people will like music they hear regularly.  Why else would they play the same nonsense songs every hour when first released?  When we hear the music over and over, eventually we like the music (in general).  Of course our emotions about the subject can influence our aesthetic opinion, especially when it comes to a person’s beauty.  I remember thinking a guy in high school was unattractive and I was surprise other girls were interested in him; until I started dating him and found his personality to be fun and cute which influenced my opinion of his looks.  Also, the song “Hey There Delilah” was difficult for me to listen to at first because I’m not a big fan of the radio DJ Delilah, but eventually I realized I really like the song.  Or did the radio stations just overplay the music until it became familiar?

How much of our opinion on what is beautiful has been manipulated by industries trying to profit from the business?  We certainly spend enough time, money, and effort trying to be beautiful.

Similar Discussions on Beauty:

Vogue Magazine pledges to use healthy models, I hope they soon decide to stop airbrushing.

I just red a post that indirectly relates to this concept.  What is beautiful, and what is normal, is mostly defined by the world around us.  And we each have the ability to influence what is normal in our immediate community.  Such as this family (Blog: Raising my Rainbow) who influences their community about people who are gender nonconforming, simply by showing people how to be accepting.

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One comment on “Beauty is in the Eye of the Beholder …

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