Is there a clear definition of beauty? Are there standards that define the limits of beauty? Are there entities that can be taken to be universal beauties? These are among the questions to be asked when trying to elucidate what beauty is. Trying to answer these questions will always give one result, beauty has no clear definitions. Neither does it have universal standards from which it can be ranked.
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Beauty can be classified as an idea. Accordingly, every individual usually has his own idea. This is a clear definition that everybody has his own conception of beauty. While there can be universal qualities of beauty, its real meaning is founded within an individual and is unique for each person. For instance, a person might find the drawing of Monalisa as beautiful and an expression of perfection. Sadly, another person will find nothing extra ordinary about the painting.
Most of the contemporary ideals of beauty have been created by art or the media. The media might make its choices of what is likely to be beautiful. Eventually, individuals will develop these ideals and make them their yard sticks on the definition of beauty. While these are people’s effort to define an ideal point of beauty, they are actually not the definition of beauty. The fact that media advocates for slim and tall girls as the definition of beauty does not mean that every man in the society will go for such ladies, There are those will find short stout ladies to be beautiful (Utah Education Network, par. 4).
Secondly, beauty is a function of culture. A given culture, just like an individual, can have its own definition or ideals of beauty. This is defined by beauty ideas that eventually make great impacts within the society hence creating ideals. Based on these ideals, a culture would then develop its fundamentals of beauty. For instance, a culture that advocates for scientific knowledge as the basis of human advancement would take a person who invents a new gadget as a hero. He would be revered and everybody in the society would want to associate with him. He will be beautiful in the eyes of every woman. On the other side of the world, an African society that thrives on animal raring and which engages in cattle rustling would have a completely different definition of beauty. A Youngman who involves in a successful cattle rustling episode will be found to be a hero and as well a definition of beauty. These two people will not make any impact in the each other’s society (Utah Education Network, par. 3).
Beauty ideals also evolve with time. A society can experience different ideals of beauty defined by the disparity of time. A good example was the European and the US societies some eighty years ago who felt that beauty was defined by a very white skin. Tanned skins were associated with outdoor laborers. As a result, rich members of the society ensured that their skins were as white as they could manage to make them. Later, this position changed as most of the people started working outdoors. In addition, rich people started to engage in vacations to beaches and hence the ideal of beauty changed. Beauty was then defined by a tanned healthy skin (Utah Education Network, par. 6).
However, all these have been the society’s attempt to define the concept of beauty. And as realized, beauty cannot be given a satisfactory definition because of the changing nature of ideals. This is to say, ideals of one culture could be far different from the ideals of another culture. In addition, time comes and goes and with it comes new ideals which have to be abandoned for newer ones. Therefore, beauty will remain an indefinable concept. It will remain an idea and not just an idea, but a person’s unique idea.
Utah Education Centre. “What is Beauty?” . 2003.
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