The concept of beauty has never been constant. The overused “Beauty is in the eye of the beholder” quote proved to be true as different definitions of beauty surfaced. What then is the real definition of beauty? Why does it matter in the ever-changing society?
Socrates claimed that, to be able to distinguish beauty, one must first know what it is. Plato explained that beauty means exact and symmetric. Aristotle, on the other hand, believed that beauty is based only on perception. Many other ancient philosophers like Voltaire and Plotinus defined beauty, but until now, nobody has agreed upon a common idea. Despite the differences in their beliefs, the idea that beauty provokes delight remained unchanged.
An underweight woman who was labeled plain and unattractive may seem very appealing to you. A person with bushy eyebrows may appear elegant while others may think of it as unpleasant. In the primitive days, the quest for beauty was an obsession. People coming from different cultures drew their own standards on what they perceived as beautiful. To cope with their inconsistent views, they provided a concept of what was accepted in their society. The notion that only those who were considered beautiful could be accepted forced those who did not qualify to purposely alter their physical appearances. This enabled them to be part of the inner circle that included only those who went to seek the quest for beauty.
Does beauty really matter that much?
For the Ancient Greeks, women with pale skin and golden hair had better privileges in the society because they were labeled beautiful. Those who were unfortunate enough to be born with natural dark locks forced themselves to expose their hair under the sun to achieve a lighter shade. They would decorate their eyes with dark powder to make them stand out. All measures were taken to be able to generate favorable thoughts from the society.
In today’s era, people dare to break beauty conventions. They embrace their flaws instead of altering them to make themselves look more presentable. Girls dismiss the idea that to be pale is better than flaunting their tan skin. Tanning has even become a very common trend nowadays. Curly and undone locks now seem to be more preferable than the usual sleek and perfect hairdo. The ideal body shape is no longer the skinny, runway-like shape, but the toned, healthy look which can be achieved without being weight-conscious. Perfectly sculpted noses do not stand as the basis of perfection anymore, including sharp cheekbones and chiseled jaw lines.
All guidelines were broken to give way to a new set of beauty standards, for beauty is not beauty if it is not subject to change.
To draw a line between what’s beautiful and what’s not is a difficult task. Beauty is subjective. There can never be accurate criteria for judging beauty, because it will always be in a flux.