What is Beauty?


When we think of beauty, we more than often think of flawless models advertising expensive designer products on a huge billboard in the most expensive streets of New York City. However, according to Stanley Diamond in the article “The Beautiful and the Ugly are One Thing, the Sublime Another: A Reflection on Culture”, beauty is ethnocentric. Meaning that what one considers beautiful and desirable in his or hers culture might be completely opposite of what someone with a different cultural background may think. Therefore, the build boards we pass by in New York City may actually get the opposite reaction from its audience dependent upon the passer.

What a culture might consider disharmonic or ugly, another might consider a beautiful imperfection. When it comes to drawing a conclusions or debating the level of beauty in an object of individual, it should be done carefully. Anthropologists would look at this as a very objective matter; as what might be appealing to someone’s eyes may be unappealing to someone else’s. There are no standards on how beauty should be perceived because every person in their own culture has their own definition of beauty. Many cultures avoid judging people by their external features and instead take an alternative route in focusing on their internal beauty. And as the world renowned saying dictates never judge a book by its cover. So, in our society today what is considered beautiful and what not?


One thought on “What is Beauty?

  1. You have brought into context an overgrowing issue that seems to be the protagonist of many social conflicts. Indeed beauty has multiple angles of perception and you have stated the most prominent ones accordingly. It is interesting how you have infused your own view in combination to an anthropologist’s perspective. In addition to that to maximize that output of this blog, I would try to use more examples of these instances where beauty is ‘misperceived’, as well as the potential side effects upon humans.

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