What is Beauty? There are thousands of pages devoted to it, studies trying to understand it and a million cliches surrounding it. We are obsessed with it, but do we understand it?
I've done my due diligence this week and have been all over reading about the subject. It's kind of incredible so much time and effort has gone into trying to answer the question of beauty. Are we hard wired? Is there a universal standard? Does it change? How do we perceive it?
To try and cut down what will probably be a long post anyway, I'm going to stick with Rory's theme, personal beauty. It occupies kind of a unique place in the pantheon any way.
Most studies agree, beauty is average. In visual cuing, we look for symmetry in faces. The most attractive face is a composite of many faces with no outstanding features. It is easiest for us see, process and recognize. Explains that baby study.
Strangely we don't see symmetry in any other form as more or less appealing. In studies, symmetrical buildings were not seen as any more appealing that their less symmetrical counterparts. In landscaping, plantings are done in odd mumbers. In home decor, perfect symmetry is perceived as cold and univiting. No real surprise, there is no real universal standard. Beauty is very subjective.
Most studies are done on quick visual tests of strangers. Extended further, rating, getting to know the subjects, then rating again, the ratings change. How we feel about the person affects how we see them. No real surprise there.
Why all the fuss? It is a bazillion dollar industry. It drives fashion, cosmetics and advertising to name just a few. So who decides what is beautiful? Most people would say the media. We are innundating with images every day. I'm not sure I'd agree with that.
There is really only one reason I don't. Media in all of its forms, is giving us a reflection of what we ask for. Let's face it, if that star doesn't bring in the audience, no movie, no contract, no fame. If that supermodel doesn't move product, if we're not buying what they're selling, see ya,. If that face on the cover doesn't sell the magazine, next. It may be simplistic but I don't see the media creating anything. They give us what we want, our vanities, fantasies, dreams or fears reflected back. They do it well because there is a lot of money at stake.
We send out very mixed messages. To our girls, we say you are beautiful, strong, what you look like doesn't matter. How many television shows or magazines feature the smart, braces wearing girl who can calculate Pi to 100 decimels without a calculator. No, we have, Toddlers in Tiaras. A whole generation has been convinced body hair is "unsightly". Think your father ever worried about "manscaping"? Afraid of getting older? We can fix that. We buy into it, all of it. We end up setting the standards with what we'll watch, what we'll buy.
We also know it is complete fiction, we have for decades. Behind every movie, magazine cover or television ad, there are teams of stylists for hair, make up and clothes, photographers making sure the angles and lighting are the most flattering, then the editors erasing every flaw with software programs, culling hundreds of images to find, the one. It is complete make believe. We make the associations, they sell it to us.
Now for some eye candy.
Don't get it
Don't get it
Sorry Rory, don't get it ROFL
Completely don't get it
Don't get it
Completely get it
Quintessential I get it
A small sampling of the faces that appeal to me or ones I just don't get why all the fuss. I don't think any are ugly, just don't understand how/why they stand out. As you can see, we all have our own ideas about what is beautiful.
Beauty is ever changing and eternal. Some things are beautiful because they are fleeting, like youth. Ultimately, beauty is where you find it, in the eye of the beholder. Take a look, it's all around you.
I wouldn't be a good Canadian without paying tribute to Bob and Doug, " Beauty, eh." Now I'm off to get a beer. Happy Valentine's Day every one.