Perception of Beauty Essay

Custom Student Mr. Teacher ENG 1001-04 3 June 2017

Perception of Beauty

The term ‘beauty’ is used in multiple contexts. These can be divided into ‘inner beauty’, describing a goodness of personality, and ‘outer beauty’, concerned with aesthetic appearance. On the surface, disfigurement affects outer beauty, but it has been found that changes in appearance can cause anxiety, depression, grief, and a lowered self-esteem. These strongly affect a person’s disposition. Thus, defects in outer beauty can indirectly alter inner beauty. How do human beings decide who is attractive and who is not? Society is full of messages telling us what is beautiful, but what are those definitions based on?

Do we consciously decide whom we are attracted to? The issue of beauty and how we define it has been studied for centuries. Scholars from all fields of study have searched for the “formula” for beauty. Darwin in his book “The Descent of Man” wrote, “It is certainly not true that there is in the mind of man any universal standard of beauty with respect to the human body. It is however, possible that certain tastes in the course of time become inherited, though I have no evidence in favor of this belief. ” Beauty is an idea. Everybody’s idea of beauty is unique. Beauty is a function of culture also.

When ideas about beauty make powerful impacts, they can become beauty ideals. What is ideal beauty? We see it everywhere, from paintings, to magazines to TV. Douglas Yu of the University of East Anglia in Norwich, England, agrees. “It’s true by definition. Beauty is always judged by the receiver,” he says. At the same time, he says in an email “there is inter-observer concordance, a measure of objectivity,” so that individual perceptions of beauty, factoring in other characteristics such as personality and intelligence, can often be aggregated to form a consensus opinion.

Judgment of Beauty According to Kant, the judgment of beauty is different from cognitive or moral judgment because it is affected subjectively, that is, exclusively in reference to the person making the judgment. For a judgment to be truly “aesthetic”, rather than merely idiosyncratic, the person making the judgment must be adamant that their opinion be consensus. “A person who describes something as beautiful insists that everyone ought to give the object in question his approval and follow suit.

Plato, one of the earliest philosophers to concern himself with beauty, defined it as a “property intrinsic in objects” which could be measured in “purity, integrity, harmony and perfection. ” Media and Perception of Beauty Research shows that media play a dominant role in influencing females’ perceptions of the world around them, as well as helping them to define their sense of self. The media can definitely change our perception of beauty. It can indeed create a distortion in what a person considers to be ideal beauty or not.

It is proven that those that are under the influence of media, either the TV or Print media may unsavorily change what is their idea of beauty by wanting to measure up the ideal or standard portrayed by the media. Another major influence on this century’s attitudes towards beauty was the growth of the film industry. For the first half of the century, all the major beauty icons were film actresses. It was a medium that allowed women who would have previously been overlooked to shine. For instance, the 19th century aversion to redheads was still in place as late as the 20s.

It was that black-and-white medium that allowed Clara Bow to be the exception. However, stars such as Bette Davis and Katherine Turner who could not be described as “conventionally beautiful” invariably came from middle or upper class backgrounds. Beauty was an essential attribute for a working class woman to become successful in Hollywood. This period was also the beginning of the ties between the film and fashion industries, which would continue for decades to come.

References

Journal of Young Investigators Undergraduate, Peer-Reviewed Science Journal http://www. jyi. org/volumes/volume6/issue6/features/feng. html Utah Education Network http://www.uen.org/Lessonplan/preview.cgi?LPid=4527

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