What is beauty?
Across eight billion individuals resident in this world, there are eight billion opinions that prevent agreement on a set standard to define and add credibility to this universal concept. To understand it better, we need to talk about the universal ideals of beauty held all over the world from a historical standpoint. After all, don’t we learn from our mistakes?
Cleopatra, the Egyptian beauty symbol, was an epitome of feminism as practiced by Egyptian women of that time. The Egyptian beauty standards required thick googly braids and flashy makeup, to highlight the glossy power of femininity. The Geishas on the other hand (another role models of beauty in the conservative society of China) would wear snowy white lead paste to highlight the fair skin tone against the contrasting dark hair. Rosy cheeks highlighted the modesty of a woman. Contrary to the Egyptians, who preferred dark goldish-brown skin, Chinese preferred a pale skin tone. Similarly, against the slender slim posture of a Chinese woman, Egyptians preferred round muscular figures with a big bust and back. Coming to contemporary Europe, women considered slenderness as a sign of poverty, which is reflected from Venetian and Elizabethan era’s paintings of plump thick women who were considered being at the pinnacle of beauty. Unlike Europe, Greek women preferred thick hairy bodies and unibrows as being the sign of natural beauty, which was also accepted by the people of their times. These are just a few examples.
So, now I ask you again. What is beauty?
A word that has deep cultural and historical connotations associated with physical features, race, color and gender, all of which are considered disapproving factors to identify a human being in the modern era, why do we still continue to use it?
Do we still seek some link with it? Is it our hypocrisy?
“Redefining Beauty” is a concept which has not worked, because of it being defined already; having been attributed to physique for thousands of years. Is it as easy to snap out of that illusion? Do you think we will suddenly learn to manifest character instead of skin and shape?
How do you redefine it?
I managed to do a small survey by asking an unbiased question on Facebook forums made for women. All the replies were based on associating a physical concept to other abstract ones, like courage, character, truth, strength etcetera etcetera.
Courage is a word that is already defined by the word “courage”. Same goes for the rest. So, why are we adamant on associating these abstract notions with beauty? It is so ironic, that something so physical can be the most superficial concept whilst the other abstract “qualities” in an individual can be the most perfect physical manifestations of someone’s personality; that being not superficial at all.
Beauty is the most racist word because it has tended to exclude women in particular, from a certain community as per the beauty standards of that community in that point in time. At one time, millions of such communities saw women of other communities with contempt. To the French women, Indian women were not so beautiful. To the African women, thin lean women were not beautiful. To black women, white women were not beautiful. To white women, black women were not beautiful.
And now, the one with the power of media is the “most beautiful”.
Because, they can advertise and set the standards on their terms.
People of color became beautiful. Pale skin and lean figure is going out of fashion. Pale skin is being bronzed and slim-thick is the new trending body type. Looking at the bigger picture, it is at the disposition of those who have the power, and not on conscience or morals. And, the rest of the world are followers.
To destroy racism, “cancel” the word “beauty” from the English dictionary. There is no such thing as someone being beautiful or everyone being beautiful, because I ask you this,
“on what standards are you judging them to be beautiful?”
There are no “common” characteristics. Hence, there are no standards. A declaration means that there was a likely possibility of a counterpart, without which the decision could not have been made.
If everyone is beautiful, then who is ugly?