How do you perceive beauty?
What is beauty? Who defines it? Beauty is omnipresent. It is all pervasive and found in simplicity, details, and imperfections. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder. Beauty is cultural. Beauty is subjective and objective. Beauty is a visual, and yet it exists as a feeling. Even beauty can be ugly. How do you define and identify beauty?
Science has a fascination with quantifying the unquantifiable. It is hypothesized that babies, yet to be conditioned by society, make for the unbiased judge of beauty. One study presented two photos to babies, and using eye-tracking devices, concluded the face the babies preferred to stare at longest, must be the more beautiful of the two. Interestingly, the babies’ preferences coincided with culturally defined beauty.
Aesthetically beautiful faces are defined as symmetric with the ratio of the eyes and lips being larger and the nose smaller. Symmetry as a measurement of beauty is also witnessed in nature, in flowers, animals, and so forth.
There were days when round, voluptuous women were the standard of beauty, just as modern day media portrays skinny to be the beauty of today. With an infinite number of body types consisting of different bone structures and body proportions—who decides what is beautiful?
In my opinion, there is a healthy weight that exists for every body type. When we eat close to the earth, move the body daily, and handle life stresses with finesse using gems like mediation, breathing, nature, cuddles and so forth, beauty emanates from those who care for their mind, body, and spirit. Though it may not be measurable this beauty is undeniable. It is an overall feeling—a glow.
With the invention of cosmetic medicine, and after working with plastic surgeons and dermatologists, I’ve come to the realization that there is no ultimate definition or vision of beauty. What one plastic surgeon deems to be the “best” boob job, is quite different from the next surgeon. The same goes for dermatologists and lip plumping. Perhaps some people find any type of artificial manipulation of the aging process to be the antithesis of beauty, where as others swear by it. Who decides which is beautiful?
To me, beauty is self-love and acceptance. I find it beautiful when people accept and love their au-natural way of their being. I love seeing women with confidence with untamed hair and not a lick of make-up. To see a person in the raw, owning their physical appearance just as is—this beautiful to me. The same goes for raw emotions and opinions. It is beautiful to witness someone be unapologetically his/her truest self without regard for what others may judge.
Hands down, one of the hardest things I ever had to do was be a judge for a beauty pageant. When I agreed to volunteer my time to what was defined as a more “natural” beauty pageant, with an emphasis on natural beauty, kindness, and confidence, I thought I was acting in service of evolving the pageantry system. There were actually rules against wearing too much make-up, hair extensions, and the other adornments that can hinder natural beauty and the purest feminine essence from shining through.
Upon arriving all the judges were gifted a crown and we wore them and took pictures as we found it to be amusing and fun. The moment the pageant began and the first contestant walked on stage I froze thinking, “What did I agree to?” I was upset at myself because how could I possibly judge all of these beautiful hopeful young girls. My heart knotted.
Bri, a fellow judge and co-star from Utopia, was sitting next to me and shared my sentiment as she remarked, “This is hard.” And then I had an epiphany. I realized I would give all the girls a 10 for beauty because each one of them is beautiful in a perfectly unique way. The other categories such as confidence and poise were actually measurable to some degree, though it was still challenging to have to sit there and judge another human being.
On a positive note, I realized that this pageant was increasing self-confidence. It was also a time to celebrate the service activities and the many achievements these young girls participated in on a daily basis. It allowed them to feel comfortable talking on stage in front of others, preparing them for leadership positions and public speaking engagements.
My favorite part of the pageant was the interview portion. It was beautiful to see the intelligence of these young girls shine through as they shared their future ambitions and what they are most passionate about. In the end, all of the beauties received a crown. Everyone was a winner and that did make me feel better.
Would I ever be a judge again? Nope. But it was definitely a wonderful learning experience for me in examining myself as “judgmental” even when specifically asked to be. It was stressful and I could feel the discomfort in my body. The experience has also allowed me to reflect on areas where I may be judgmental in my everyday life. It also made me even more vigilant about when I subconsciously judge those I meet for the first time or even loved ones in my life.
As humans we judge. We judge in both a “positive” and a “negative” way. The simple act of making an assessment about another person is a judgment. We judge if we notice someone to be aesthetically beautiful upon meeting, just as we may notice another person to be less attractive. We also have the capacity to transcend these societal conditionings and to recognize what beauty actually means to us. As we become more conscious and evolved we begin to feel beauty more than see it.
For me beauty exists in all things. I see beauty in nature and it evokes a sense of pure love within me. I see beauty in people who choose to be vulnerable and open their hearts. I see beauty in those who are smiling because they have chosen to be happy and live in the moment. I see beauty in authenticity. I see beauty everywhere because I choose to.
So how do you define beauty? Where do you see beauty?