Wednesday, September 12, 2012

What is Beauty?

Is beauty subjective and in the eye of the beholder? Is it objective and definable?

I'll try not to get too caught up in semantics, but, in the most literal sense of the word, beauty is, indeed, objective.
Beauty is that reasoned harmony of all the parts within a body, so that nothing may be added, taken away, or altered, but for the worse.
Leon Battista Alberti, De re aedificatoria
In other words, beauty is, in a sense, a calculated formula, based on ratios and proportions commonly found in nature. Beauty can be applied to art and architecture as well as people. It is perfect harmony.

Take, for example, the Vitruvian Man:

As you can see, beauty here is defined by the use of a circle and a square - demonstrating that he is in harmony and correct proportion.

Now, before you get all up-in-arms about me saying this, please understand that just because someone isn't beautiful by this definition, does NOT mean she or he is UNattractive. Transversely, just because someone doesn't meet today's modern definition of attractive, doesn't mean she isn't beautiful. For example, if a woman, whom some would consider fat, is properly proportioned, she is, in fact, beautiful.

Personal taste or preference is something altogether different. No one should be crazy enough to try to define personal taste. Not to get too personal, but my husband is an appreciator of women's asses, but even he has trouble defining what exactly makes one ass more attractive to him than another. Let's just say, he knows it when he sees it. :-)

I find it incredibly sad that the media has tried to define personal taste for us. It tries to tells us what others will find attractive. This is impossible to do!

Recently, I've seen quite a few posts tackle this topic. Here are two of my favorites: Your Body Style Is Great and Do You Feel Sexy?

Go on. Pop over and read them. I'll wait.

Ally suggests we embrace our body types.
Hiker mom suggests we find our inner goddess.

I couldn't agree more with these ladies. Being attractive or sexy is more than what the media tells us. It is more than beauty. To me, it is about confidence and how you see yourself. If you feel you are attractive and sexy, others will, too.

I have never been one to tie myself to a number on the scale. I judge how sexy I am not only by what I see in the mirror but by how I feel inside. When I'm exercising regularly and eating properly, I naturally feel better about the way I look, which, in turn, makes me carry myself better and feel sexier.

As you can imagine, I don't often weigh myself. That being said, I did step on a scale a week or so ago for the first time in over 6 weeks.

I was quite pleased that the scale had barely budged despite the fact that I had pretty much been on an exercise hiatus between these weigh-ins.

That being said, we shouldn't allow the media or anyone else to define how we see ourselves, how we feel about ourselves. We need to embrace who we are and stop comparing ourselves to others. Beauty is a discerned judgment of the faculties of the mind and actually has nothing to do with attraction. Each year in state fairs across the U.S. the prize-winning pig would never be judged against the prize-winning cow.

So, the next time you look yourself in the mirror, compare yourself to YOU. You can define who you are and what makes you attractive. Don't let anyone else do that for you.

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  1. Awesome post! I have read about the science of beautiful before and proportions etc. It is why supermodels faces are more 'beautiful' than the average person etc. I love that you took it further and that yes, we don't let anyone define who we are or how attractive we are.

  2. First of all, thank you so much for the link to my post.

    You are so right - media should not be trying to define what we think is attractive.

    " is about confidence and how you see yourself" - so, so true. Ever see someone who comes across as super sexy or super attractive for maybe no other reason that they are radiating self confidence?

    Great post, Clarinda!

  3. Love this and thanks for the mention:) I think this is so important for women to read. To realize that we define beautiful, not the media. Confidence breeds beauty.

  4. Too true! Love this!I agree we have to go by how we feel! I know when I lost 25lb I felt so much better :) My self confidence increased and that's the sexiest thing about a woman EVER!

    1. Congrats on dropping 25lbs! That's awesome that it helped increase your self-confidence. :-)

      Thanks for stopping by.

  5. So true - beauty is not defined by a scale. And I HATE, HATE, HATE my scale. It is banished.