Thoughts on the World: What Do We Consider Beautiful?

Sabine Cherenfant, Opinions Editor

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It is indeed true that we all have our own opinion of what beauty represent to us, but sometimes it feels like we all have an underline agreement on what should be considered beautiful.

An article that identified beauty and its component states that a small noise, a high cheekbone and luscious lips are often associated with beauty. Whether everyone agrees with this statement or not is another question. Yet, the people that they label beautiful most likely fit these categories- Sofia Lauren, Elizabeth Taylor and Halle Berry.

Aside from being a personal opinion, beauty is also a changeable point of view. What used to be considered beautiful a few centuries ago is not so much trendy nowadays. For instance, classical European literature hints that pale skin was considered very attractive during that time. The paler a woman was, the more elegant and feminine she appeared.

“A pale skin was a mark of gentility,” stated a writer from fashion-era.com. “It meant that a lady could afford to not work outdoors getting suntanned which was then considered vulgar and coarse.”

Somewhere else in the world  lays another justification for beauty. In Mauritania, thickness is considered beautiful. According to the Associated Press, being very thick is a sign of beauty and affluence. This cultural ideology has been embedded in this country for years.

Both of these beauty ideas have one thing is common, status. Therefore, beauty could be mostly associated with status. It could be that what we considered beautiful is what reflects status.

As Professor George Montillet explains, people see beauty in what they perceive as valuable. Wealth is something that is seen as valuable.

But, how do we explain the current obsession with tanning and weight loss? I am sure people who recognize being thin as a beauty see it as valuable. However, is it related to wealth? I don’t think so.

Many say that this trend was developed after top fashion designers limited the types of women and men who could become models to tall and skinny individuals. Those women and men became a representation of what beauty is to many people. As a result, this idea of beauty was created.

This brings me to another thought. I wonder if someone’s face even matters for that person to be considered beautiful. Some people seem to be so focused on someone being tall and skinny that they ignore the facial features of that person. I remember watching a show on ABC where a man was presented three women, including two voluptuous ones and one skinny woman. Without paying attention to their facial beauty, he automatically labeled the skinny woman as beautiful whereas in my opinion she was the least beautiful woman out of the three.

Beauty can also be only focused on something other than physical appearance. According to Montillet, if people value intellectual characteristics, they may base their argument on that because beauty is seen in what is recognized as personal value. Moreover, personality can play a major role in determining if someone is beautiful or not.

Beauty is a complicated and subjective quality. What we consider beautiful is almost synonym to what we consider valuable.

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