Tuesday, June 28, 2005

The Meaning of Beauty

The meaning of beauty. What does beauty mean to you? What does "being beautiful" or "being pretty" truly mean and implicate?

We are well-familiar with the Society's definitions of beauty and perception of what type of women are considered "beautiful." Aesthetically beautiful women grace the covers of magazines and billboards as well as make TV appearances. Being aesthetically beautiful may be a job requisite (i.e., modeling). Society is made up of people, institutions and more. All these components interplay in the definition and so-called standards of beauty. Such standards affect how we define the meaning of beauty.

On the other hand, there's the concept of inner and outer beauty. Some women may be aesthetically beautiful on the outside but not beautiful on the inside. There are women who are beautiful inside yet don't meet society's standards of beauty. Some people believe that inner beauty blossoms out and makes the woman beautiful on the outside like a rosebud blooming into a rose beholded by others.

According to www.dictionary.com, the word beautiful means (please ignore the pronunciation key):


beau·ti·ful ( P ) Pronunciation Key (byt-fl)

adj.

Having qualities that delight the senses, especially the sense of sight.
Excellent; wonderful.

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beauti·ful·ly adv.
beauti·ful·ness n.


Synonyms: beautiful, lovely, pretty, handsome, comely, fair

1 All these adjectives apply to what excites aesthetic admiration. Beautiful is most comprehensive: a beautiful child; a beautiful painting; a beautiful mathematical proof. Lovely applies to what inspires emotion rather than intellectual appreciation: “They were lovely, your eyes” (George Seferis). What is pretty is beautiful in a delicate or graceful way: a pretty face; a pretty song; a pretty room. Handsome stresses poise and dignity of form and proportion: a very large, handsome paneled library. “She is very pretty, but not so extraordinarily handsome” (William Makepeace Thackeray). Comely suggests wholesome physical attractiveness: “Mrs. Hurd is a large woman with a big, comely, simple face” (Ernest Hemingway). Fair emphasizes freshness or purity: “In the highlands, in the country places,/Where the old plain men have rosy faces,/And the young fair maidens/Quiet eyes” (Robert Louis Stevenson).

Source: The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition
Copyright © 2000 by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.


beautiful

adj 1: delighting the senses or exciting intellectual or emotional admiration; "a beautiful child"; "beautiful country"; "a beautiful painting"; "a beautiful theory"; "a beautiful party" [ant: ugly] 2: aesthetically pleasing 3: (of weather) highly enjoyable; "what a beautiful day"

Source: WordNet ® 2.0, © 2003 Princeton University

Keep these definitions in mind.

I typed in www.beauty.com. It was a website for make up, cosmetics, skin care, hair supplies and tips and secrets. What kind of message does this send us - girls and women alike? Does it imply that outer beauty is to be factored in when considering whether or not a woman is beautiful? Or, is it a way to cover up things women may not consider attractive on natural external selves? In my personal opinion, some women wear make up like a mask to hide themselves. When they remove their make up and all beauty care products, how they view themselves and accept themselves as their natural external selves is important. For me, it's more important than what brand or product one puts on or wears. Yet, I admire women who wear products by choice because it is a way of expressing who they are and how they embrace and enhance their natural beauty. It can be a form and outlet of loving self.

We as women need to develop a filter and choose what to accept and weed out when it comes to different definitions of beauty communicated to us by society, friends, peers and people; we need to filter and be aware of our perception of what it means to be beautiful and how to live as beautiful women.

In my personal dictionary, living as a beautiful woman means being able to filter all these messages about inner and outer beauty, maintain a sense of beauty and know how to live as beautiful women. A body part or a scarred emotional past may challenge a woman's sense of beauty and her definition of how beautiful she is as a woman. Mirrors will not lie about it reflects. But, a mirror does not always tell you the truth about how you think of yourself as a woman, a beautiful or ugly woman on the inside and/or outside. What matters to me is what you think when you look in the mirror and see a reflection of yourself. Do you look at how you look on the outside only? Do you also take a moment to look at yourself in the eyes or look at what your body language is communicating to you about your beauty? Looking into a mirror is a subjective experience because how you think and feel affects what you see in the mirror. Mirrors do not have captions saying, "You are ugly," nor does it have captions like in Times Square saying "You are beautiful" or "You have a huge butt." It's all subjective. I have made a personal choice to think, believe and live as a beautiful woman. I know I am beautiful. I may not be considered beautiful by some people based on my weight or other standards people may have subjectively scripted in their personal dictionaries and filter systems. Nonetheless, I am beautiful. I feel comfortable in my own skin, and I am pleased with who I see in the mirror. I think to myself that I am a "beautiful sizzling Sarah." I am not going to choose to think that I am ugly based on a physical feature, weight or other people's definitions of beauty. I choose to not make myself suffer, regardless. I believe that we all have choices as women to define our own meanings of beauty and what it means to be beautiful women. Yes, sometimes previous experiences and messages from others may color our definition and perception of who we are and how we view our inner and outer beauty. This is a tragedy in itself. Yet, it's important to not let the past hold power over you today. There will and always have been some people who consider you ugly, inside and/or outside. And, there will always be people who know we are beautiful on the inside and/or outside. I'd rather listen to these people who know and see the beauty in me and people in general.

Think about the meaning of beauty and how you define beauty. After all, we do have choices; we have choices in:

1 - how we view ourselves in the mirror;
2 - who we choose to interact with;
3 - how we deal with the people we meet up;
4 - developing and refining the type of filter we use to define and deal with the definitions of beauty in this society we live in;
5 - loving ourselves inside and outside