What is beauty? What does it mean? “The quality of being pleasing, especially to look at, or someone or something that gives great pleasure, especially, when you look at it” – Cambridge Dictionary. “The quality or aggregate of qualities in a person or thing that gives pleasure to the senses or pleasurably exalts the mind or spirit” – Merriam-Webstar. “A combination of qualities, such as shape, colour, or form, that pleases the aesthetic senses, especially the sight” – Oxford Dictionary. These definitions have different terminologies, but the meaning is all the same; a vision that is attractive to self. So, is beauty subjective?…
Beauty standards has been changing and evolving since time, for decades. From 1900s till now there has been a constant conflict in how one should look: Thin vs. Thick. Curly hair vs. Straight hair. Light skin vs. Dark skin. Makeup vs. No makeup. Petite vs. Tall. Is there a such thing called beauty because as far as I can tell it’s a social construct that is pushed by the media, that has become ingrained in our society. Why do we hold beauty in such a high pedestal, why is it such a big deal?
From young, the agenda of looking ‘beautiful’ has been pushed in our faces from media, cultural backgrounds, entertainment to family, and life experiences. There were times when I did conform, for instance wearing makeup when I was 15 years old because I thought that was the norm since everyone else was doing it, but really I had no clue what I was doing since I would wear foundation shades lighter than my actual skin tone and then I eventually stopped wearing makeup altogether as the notion of it scared me (I know, I know I sound stupid). But then there were times when, I would go stand in the counters and look at all these products, feeling lost not knowing where to start and it boggled my mind (I can’t help it, maybe one day I will get over that fear). Maybe it is simply because I prefer staying natural, the effort of wanting to look ‘good’ never appealed to me especially, if it is expected of me to do as it is norm, the standard.
What about those who have unusual or ‘unique’ features that does not fit the societal norms of the beauty standards? Are we considered less beautiful? I keep thinking about this. The perceptions of beauty… Are we supposed to fit in or stand out? There are many characteristics people have that makes them stand out from the crowd and they are seen as undesirable, whether it is a skin condition, physical conditions/ disabilities, physical/ mental illnesses, skin colour, height, weight, or physical features that differ from others. Why do we seek to be validated in a society that does not respect diverse features and elements of our physical body? I was told if I would ever get a surgery for my eyes. My lazy eye was something I struggled to accept as it was not common nor was it seen as acceptable. I would constantly get made fun of, people who laugh where my eyes would go sideways, or they would imitate my eyes going inwards. Imagine being made fun of for having a trait that you had as a kid and you had no control over, to putting yourself down because of the reactions from other people to finally accepting it as your youth ended and adulthood has begun to wanting to remove it because it is abnormal. Now that’s crazy.
The term ‘flaws’ and ‘imperfections’ are incredibly stigmatising. The idea of one’s traits being considered as hindering their beauty doesn’t help anyone. Why is it a flaw? Why do we think those features are flaws because it is not up to societal beauty standards? All I’m saying is those two terms becomes a barrier in accepting ourselves completely and how we perceive beauty. There should be no such thing as flaws or imperfections, you are the way you are, you are unique, you are magnificent. Those same traits that we see as burden are what makes us different, it is what makes us special and distinctive. Embrace them and accept them; it makes you, you and that makes you powerful my friend.