The Concept of Beauty in Its Various Forms

Beauty is often defined as a subjective aspect of objects which makes these objects enjoyable to see. Such objects may include nature, sunsets, humans, and artistic works of art. Beauty, along with personal preference, is the most significant part of aesthetics, one of the most important branches of applied philosophy. According to the principle of aesthetics, beauty is primarily a matter of proportion and balance. Beauty is therefore a value judgment based on the standards of a particular culture, society and time.

Social media have given us many tools to be able to discern what’s beautiful. One tool is visual culture, which uses such factors as beauty to generate self-knowledge, which is necessary for the creation of a culture. Social media such as Facebook allow users to define the parameters of beauty through their profiles and wall pictures. Sagmeister likens this to the way a painter might decide what is beautiful in terms of colors. In his opinion, the definition of beauty is determined by cultural norms and the social media that support them.

Beauty products are one of the ways that we use to enhance our beauty. The products of modernity include cosmetics, shampoo, makeup, perfumes, soaps and other forms of beauty products. It seems that there is a new beauty product or cosmetic every other day, appearing on television or the Internet. This proliferation of beauty products has contributed to the notion that beauty is a commodity and that there is a wide array of beauty products available in the market today.

However, this kind of beauty is not necessarily the most beautiful. Some forms of beauty are in fact very attractive and appealing; they are what differentiate ugly from beautiful. One’s attractiveness is determined by one’s personality, which is in turn influenced by cultural expectations and socialization. Beauty products however, do not contribute to the beauty criteria; rather, they serve as a means of enhancing one’s appearance and in fact, can even be considered as a means of enhancing one’s existence.

While it may seem strange that beauty is linked to one’s personality, the notion that beauty is a cultural construct may seem superficial at first glance. However, it is a more accurate one. Far from being static or a given concept, beauty in fact has particular meanings and particular associations based on different cultures and traditions.

A product’s aesthetic appeal may be defined according to one’s culture, as many beauty products are designed to enhance one’s looks for different occasions. For instance, one French fashion designer suggests that the contemporary female face should look like a bowl that has been decorated with little jewels, while another suggests that an Asian beauty should have slender features and be her own set of personal accessories. Thus, depending on the type of cultural practice one belongs to, the definition of beauty may vary. In fact, beauty is something that is relative, something that varies from one culture to the next, and this is where the idea of beauty becomes a bit vague. Nonetheless, the ideas that are embedded in the concept of beauty are universal, and may be found in any culture that values beauty.

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