Am I Beautiful?

Am I Beautiful?

What is beauty? How to describe someone beautiful? What is the definition of beauty? What makes someone attractive and the other person not? Is it influenced by weight or figure? There are as many opinions as people. Today let’s reflect on what beauty really is and what views people have had on it for centuries.

Beauty is commonly described as a feature of objects that makes these objects pleasurable to perceive. Such objects include landscapes, sunsets, humans, and works of art. Beauty is the main subject of aesthetics and one of the major branches of philosophy. Along with truth and goodness, it is one of the transcendentals often considered the three fundamental concepts of human understanding.

One difficulty in understanding beauty is that it has objective and subjective aspects. It is seen as a property of things but also as depends on the emotional response of observers. Because of its subjective side, beauty is said to be “in the eye of the beholder”. It has been argued that the ability on the side of the subject needed to perceive and judge beauty can be trained and that the verdicts of experts coincide in the long run. This would suggest that the validity standards of beauty judgments are dependent on a group of judges, rather than fully subjective or fully objective.

Conceptions of beauty aim to capture what is essential to all beautiful things. Classical conceptions define beauty in terms of the relation between the beautiful object as a whole and its parts: the parts should stand in the right proportion to each other and thus compose an integrated harmonious whole. Hedonist conceptions see a necessary connection between pleasure and beauty. Other conceptions include defining beautiful objects in terms of their value, a loving attitude towards them, or their function.

In ancient Greece, the rules of beauty were all important. Things were good for men who were buff and glossy. And for women, fuller-figured redheads were in favor.

A full-lipped, cheek-chiseled man in Ancient Greece knew two things – that his beauty was a blessing (a gift of the gods no less) and that his perfect exterior hid an inner perfection. For the Greeks, a beautiful body was considered evidence of a beautiful mind. They even had a word for it – kaloskagathos – which meant being gorgeous to look at, and hence being a good person.

A rather different story though when it comes to the female of the species. Hesiod – an 8th/7th Century BC author – described the first created woman simply as kalon kakon – “the beautiful-evil thing”. She was evil because she was beautiful, and beautiful because she was evil. Being a good-looking man was fundamentally good news. Being a handsome woman, by definition, spelled trouble.

In medieval Europe, the female body was seen as an inferior, subordinate version of the male body. While male bodies were praised for their heat, women were likened to children; smaller, colder, smoother. Where the male body excreted extra heat and four temperaments, the female instead used menstruation. It could be used to determine the health of a woman, her character, and even her intellectual ability. Saint Cecilia was famously put into a bath of boiling water, but, due to her cold female body, was not affected.

Along with the smell, a woman’s physical appearance was also indicative of her moral character. Outward physical beauty was a sign of high moral virtue, and physical ugliness was an indicated one of suspect morality.

As beauty was a gift of God, obvious attempts to augment or increase one’s beauty could indicate sinful pride. The medieval body was central to a process of social classification according to categories of age, health, sex, and purity. They were regulated through constructed categories such as stigma and gender. The body was not so much a self-chosen expression of the self as an outward marker of inner morality, worthiness, and station.

The middle ages saw the rise of thirty standards of beauty in European culture. Women were considered beautiful when they had well-shaped bright white shins and smooth thighs, carefully arranged golden blonde tresses, smooth, tender white shoulders, dark black eyebrows, and radiant skin. Some descriptions include “blackened skin” and “sores,” a reference to leprosy. The leper was the opposite of medieval beauty and another sign of God’s displeasure.

But do all these beauty standards really matter? Does the fact that they changed dramatically with time give food for thought? One day someone can be considered beautiful, and the next day they do not fit into the canons of beauty. So, does it really depend on the outside? Beauty is not about it. It is about how good you are from the inside. Beauty is reflected in your personality – the way you speak and approach people and the way you face challenges in your life. You are beautiful only because you are true at heart. You are beautiful because you are yourself both inside out.

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There are 20 questions.

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