The concept of beauty has changed in numerous ways over time. What were once desirable traits and essential in order to be considered “beautiful“ are the same traits today that are frowned upon and seen as embarrassing or unattractive, such as having a bigger figure, thin eyebrows, etc. The requirements in order to be considered beautiful from society’s viewpoint are always changing because society itself is always changing. What seems to be the constant variable when calculating the varying definitions of beauty is the concept of attractiveness being proportional to physical appearance. The idea of beauty has been described and depicted through media ranging from movies, art, songs, etc. This brainwashing starts at ages as young as four to six years old when young children can partake in beauty pageants and modeling. This condescending voice of society explains the pressure to be the cookie-cutter version of the male or female. To fall behind in society’s definition of beauty is a huge fear for many people. So much so that it is common in today’s world for someone to go through an excruciating amount of pain just to exterminate certain physical traits and emphasize others. Not only are people willing to put up with extreme discomfort but also willing to drop hundreds of dollars on surgery, hair removal, etc. The irony is that no matter how much effort we put into achieving beauty, it will always eventually go out of date. Beauty is not just a visual experience; it encompasses all of reality. We cannot just choose a single portion of our existence in which it lies.
In the article, “The Definition of True Beauty” by Lilah Smith, she discusses society’s definition as opposed to the true definition of beauty. She writes about how trying to match society’s definition of beauty in today’s world is extremely difficult due to the unrealistic checklist consisting of but not limited to, “thin but curvy, perfect teeth, a pretty smile, unblemished skin, tall but not too tall” (Smith). Not only is this checklist impractical but also contradictory in the sense that all these things must be natural in order to be considered beautiful. Smith preaches that “beauty” is truly something that radiates initially from the core outward. She argues that beauty is something that doesn’t require expensive products or treatments to attain. In fact, achieving beauty doesn’t cost any money at all. Smith reminds us that beauty is forgetting about the outside appearance as a whole: “If everybody was blind how many people would you impress?” Beauty is character; it’s soul, the part of you that makes you who you are and that will live on after your death. Beauty is your charisma, being someone who everyone likes and wants to be around because of your compelling personality. She says, “It is the confidence one finds in themselves and not feeling the need to compete due to the dignity and inner strength one possesses” (Smith).
In the article, “What Is the Real Definition of Beauty?” by Lexi Herrick, the author defines beauty simply as happiness. In contrast to Smith’s article, beauty is not seen as a characteristic but viewed by Herrick as an ecstasy. In other words, beauty is an experience composed of the moments that draw upon our humanness and imperfections, yet found is this igniting compulsion shooting through our veins leaving us with nothing but bliss. She writes, “We are mothers, daughters, and grandmothers. We are activists, innovators, achievers and inspirations. We are the lives and change we create, and that is beauty” (Herrick). She keys in the roles we play and beauty that is formed when doing and genuinely caring for others. Herrick also focuses on seeing the beauty in everything around you especially when it’s not picture perfect. Beauty still exists when there is a wardrobe malfunction, when your hair’s a mess and you’re not posed. That’s when it is the purest form of beauty.
Beauty is not determined by waist size nor by hair or skin color. Beauty is not defined by the amount of attention one receives from males, females, or any combination. Beauty is not the number of miles one can run nor the number of calories consumed in a day. Beauty is not a little black dress. Beauty is no mixture or blend of these things. Beauty is the quality of your character, the goals that one dreams of, the aspirations that motivate, the things that you laugh at and the songs you sing. You are beautiful and desirable for the spark of soul within you. Beauty is what is so captivating about a thing, what makes you come back wanting more. Beauty is the culmination of all of our “flaws” and the characteristics that differentiate us from one another, which allows us to live not as one single note, but as an intricate harmony.