What Is Beauty: Understanding Yourself and Different Body Standards
What is beauty? A question many people ask, but many cannot answer. People, being subjective beings, define beauty different to that of others. The definition of beauty has varied through the course of time, ethnic groups, and abundant perception of the world. Beauty has been depicted into our minds as to what is pleasing to see. Indeed true, but not everyone has the same standards in terms of beauty. Because beauty really differs on every culture.
Women in Myanmar and Thailand are beautiful if they wear heavy, brass rings around their necks. This gives other impression of elongated necks, but the clavicle is only depressed and compresses the ribcage due to the weights of the brass rings This is a culture practiced up until now on some ethnic tribes because it depicts elegance and beauty. Women that went rhinoplasty surgery in Iran are proud of the nose job in order to show-off their beauty. Stretched earlobe is a thing for Kenyan women. Not only it represents beauty, but also a woman’s status is represented by the stretched earlobe. Lip stretching in some tribes in Africa, it is still common up until now to stretch their bottom lip in order to define beauty.
Once a girl hits puberty stage, both of her lower front teeth are removed and the bottom lip is pierced through to introduce wooden discs. Like ear stretching, the larger the disk inserted, the greater the beauty and attractiveness to men. Women in most of Asian countries abhor the sun to achieve pale skin which is a sign of beauty and desirability for being tanned means being a peasant. Pale skin, on the other hand, depicts luxury and wealth in life. In an African country called Mauritania, where drought and famine is not a shocking news, being overweight has been a traditional sign of desirability and wealth to the point that girls since childhood are forced-fed to gain weight. Female children are even sent to feeding camps and be forced to eat 16, 000 calories a day to gain weight and make them “desirable” wives. In India, accessorized women are the epitome of beauty. Adornments of nose rings, bindis and henna, fair skin, a silhouette with feminine curves, big expressive eyes and long, dark, shiny, hair to make women more beautiful and attractive especially on festive events. According to Indian culture, beauty is an expression of godliness and reverence. Body scarification in Africa is a sign of beauty and used as a representation of a milestone achieved. In many parts of Africa, both men and women undergo scarification, but most women like to have their scars on their torsos and chests as it depicts sensuality and intrigue. The more scars a woman have, the more attractive she is to men. While French men wants women “au naturel” or little to no makeup applied on their faces to show their natural look which is beautiful for French men. Sometimes, French women embrace their natural body hair rather than shaving or waxing it off. Leg stretching was a practice in China, but is banned now.
In China, height is considered to be a sign of status, success and beauty. Height requirements are commonly seen on job specifications as it depicts higher position and higher salary. This practice created a surge for Chinese women to have height adjustment surgeries to be able to search for a good job and husband. Eye widening in Korea was not a practice before but is increasing in popularity now as it is believed that having rounded eyes is beautiful. This was influenced by the western people of them having big rounded eyes. Foot binding in china a practice that is long banned. This involves breaking of feet into smaller size was seen as a symbol of status and beauty. Lighter skin in Africa is considered to be beautiful and is a factor which would help a woman find husband. In Indonesia, teeth filing ceremony is common where in teeth are chiseled into pointed points without the use of anesthetics. This is an extremely painful practice, but produces a look which is considered as beautiful. In Philippines, beauty is considered to those demure Dalagang Filipinas who couldn’t even squeal because of their demure persona are the epitome of beauty in Philippines, before. Now, beauty standards in Philippines has changed a lot. It now measures up to those beauty standards of other countries.
[bookmark: _Hlk22059755][bookmark: _Hlk22064390]How are women beautiful? is it having paper-white skin, a 34-23-34 vital statistics, tall, doll face, pouty lips, small nose, doe eyes, thick eyebrows, thick eyelashes? For men? Is beauty having strong muscular thighs, washboard abs, chiseled chest, toned arms, defined jawline, thin lips, pointed nose, thick eyelashes, twinkling eyes and thick eyebrows? It has been proven that men prefer women with prominent cheekbone, large eyes, and small nose. Society says, the more feminine a woman looks, the more beautiful she is. In general, women are lighter skinned than men. That contributes to the beauty of women.
Although a person cannot change his/her physical features, application of makeups can do the trick. One experiment proved that women with makeup applied are significantly more attractive than women without makeup. Makeups has been proven to improve one’s physical appearance making them more attractive to the eyes of the others. Makeups can alter a person’s flaws to boost one’s appearance. Application of makeups for women can help on how they build connections with others especially on men. With makeup on, women may feel superiority to others. In addition, women with makeup on feel more beautiful, confident and attractive. According to Confucius, everything has beauty, but not everyone can see it. Images, events, things that made us happy is beauty. It’s what makes ourselves beautiful. The moments that we feel good most about, we feel proud and most significant. The experiences that makes us feel alive. I see you sitting there lonely and sad, then I’ll ask you “what’s the matter?” and you ask me “Am I ugly?” and I’ll say no. Just like what Selena Gomez said in her song “who says, who said you’re not perfect? Who says you’re not worth it? Who says you’re not beautiful?” but seriously, who says? No. I’m not talking about your high school crush who seemingly dumped you because you’re not beautiful, It’s the society I’m talking about. One Yale university student stated in an article that people have chased the ideal look for centuries. Hence, looks and styles come and go as time passes by. With the advancement of technology, the standard of beauty has changed a lot. Plenty of definition of beauty had emerged that does not align with the standards the society has set. The number of followers on Instagram, twitter, number of likes, reacts on a Facebook photo is what define beauty now in the field of social media. How much skin a person shows is considered beautiful in social media. People might deem someone as ugly just because he/she doesn’t have many likers or followers. Maybe the reason why people can easily put someone down is because of the images of models, artists and others. But models and artists as well go to some extremes just to be pleasing in the eyes of the media. Beauty is often altered, misunderstood, and overshadowed by society. Beauty is like the acceptance we endlessly strive for rather than see that everyone is beautiful.
Think of the times you felt beautiful without having to abide by the standards set by the society not because of the extravagant gowns, lavish suits and ties, kempt hair, but because we are feeling good about ourselves, we felt beautiful. Beauty is all about feeling good about yourself. Those comfy oversized shirts, PJs we wear at home, those times you cook a hearty meal for your family, pampering yourself are the times that makes us beautiful because of our carefree standards, away from the standards of society. It is about catching your breath after rapping a verse on Eminem’s Rap God or singing on top of your lungs until your neck veins and arteries pop out after belting out Ariana Grande’s dangerous woman or crying your lacrimal glands out because you watched Augustus Waters die in the fault in our stars. It’s about the cloud nine we feel on someone or something that makes us beautiful.
Beauty is a state of mind. We are what we want to believe ourselves. If a person thinks she is ugly, then, it will be her reality, but if a person thinks she is beautiful, then, it will be her reality. It’s this care that we give to ourselves, the peace of mind we provide for ourselves that makes us beautiful. Cutting all of our toxic ties in the society. Putting ourselves first before the others. This is not selfishness. This is self-love that everyone needs. Self-love is the beginning of one’s beauty. It is when we look at ourselves with appreciation and proudness. This self-love protects people from the discrimination and insults from the society. Many people get insecure, afraid of what the society might say about themselves. Beauty may come from different things, but true beauty comes from within; self-love. “when there is no enemy from within, the enemy outside cannot hurt you.”- African proverb
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