The Beauty of Beauty

A few days ago, a close friend shared a blog post titled “Not Everyone is Beautiful” from Mindless Productivity. I was curious to see the take on the topic of beauty after having a series of arguments with friends and even professors about what makes something beautiful (it’s a hot topic in the art history world). After reading through it, I came to the following conclusion:

It is a very interesting take on what beauty is. Words get so thrown around and taken in by certain people with alternate meanings. Things nowadays have become so ultra-politically correct that everyone strives to be included and involved in something. Beauty is the combination of qualities that pleases the aesthetic senses. Each person has their own measure of what they find beautiful and therefore beauty has no scientific measure. It’s a hard thing to tell someone they’re not beautiful or attractive.

Additionally, there are a lot of men who struggle with their own idea of “beauty.” No matter what they do or how successful they are, they can still be brushed aside for someone with toned abs or bigger arms or a strong jawline. It’s never something that’s brought into the headlines either. Men have social standards in terms of attraction as well and lots of men get left out in the same way that a lot of women do.

I do agree with the premise of this article though. 100%. It’s like giving every team in a league a trophy for first place because you don’t want to hurt anyone’s feelings. I think beauty is too fluid of a concept for one to say “You are beautiful and you are not” It’s an opinion. Sure some things can be measured, for instance amount of excess fat or symmetry of your face. But even those are subject to opinion. Some people prefer super thin women/men. Others prefer an athletic build. Some even prefer extra weight. Each man and woman has a different perception of the “ideal.”

 

Comparing something that is opinionated to something that can be altered with practice like playing a saxophone or climbing a mountain isn’t really the right way to explain how beauty is being misconstrued. I think now that our world is becoming so obsessed with saying the right thing and not offending anyone, people are seeking the easy way out which is “include everyone and try to make people happy.” If they’re force fed this inclusion, they wont complain. It’s a communist principle that will eventually fail. But on the reverse side, if we’re honest we will offend and push people over the edge. We have all unknowingly become accustomed to the sheltered and coddled reality that we call life, that when something comes around to shock us it really knocks us off our high horse and sends a giant ripple through our happiness. It can shatter our dreams and lives and tear us apart internally. 

That being said, no one has the right to pass judgement on beauty. Sure there are physical standards based on symmetry but even those are skewed by what we see and experience. Put it this way, if no one else existed in the world as a comparison, would said person still be aesthetically pleasing? When you strip away all the crap flung back and forth by the monkeys in charge of dictating our appearance, what’s left? Beauty is a loose term that when taken wrong can destroy a person. You can have a bald head and 4 fingers and still be aesthetically pleasing. Maybe not to everyone but beauty can’t be measured by everyone. It is as the saying goes, “In the eye of the beholder.” So sure, not everyone will agree on who’s beautiful or even what is considered attractive. But that doesn’t mean you can take the complete opposite stance and tell someone they’re ugly because you want society to stop making everyone feel included.

It’s just difficult to measure and easy to cause offense. It’s a word that requires some precaution and responsibility. So rather than “USE IT FOR EVERYONE!” or “NEVER USE IT!” it should be use it when you mean it. When you truly feel like someone is beautiful, their smile, their eyes, their elbows, their knees, their posture, the streak of gray in their hair, the scar on their face, be sure you tell them. Because someone else may not appreciate what they are and it may tear at them. Just because you dislike the way someone or something looks doesn’t mean everyone does. The amazing part of humanity is our ability to differ in opinion. We’re allowed to think differently. We’re allowed to appreciate different forms of art and beauty. No two people have had the same experience in their life. Every day we are all impacted by everything around us and react based on our previous experiences in life.

So Maybe everyone is beautiful to me. Not just internally. Maybe I appreciate the subtle curves on your face. the angles that form your body or the flow of your hair in the wind. And maybe I don’t. It shouldn’t matter. I just think we need to give everyone something to strive for. Some hope and some sort of goal. We’re getting stuck in a rut in which we tear each other down and then sit and sulk. Sure we need to motivate ourselves and each other. Not by settling and saying “EVERYBODY WINS!” but through positive encouragement, not coddling. Adversely, “EVERYBODY LOSES” has the same effect, numbness. Human nature is to hold on to the hurt and let it seep in. I could do 100 good deeds and I’ll be remembered for the 1 hurtful act I perform. So stick with Constructive criticism. We’re here to help each other not break each other. 

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