World Lit

Only available on StudyMode
  • Download(s) : 80
  • Published : December 4, 2012
Open Document
Text Preview
Can beauty be defined or is it merely a social construct?

Every individual perceives the world in different ways. When it comes to beauty, one begins to wonder what beauty really means, and what we classify as beautiful from our point of view. Perception of beauty can either be something that is ingrained in our biology, or something we learn to perceive in culture. Both factors play a role in the perception of beauty of our everyday lives. It can either have a positive or negative impact. This leads into the nature and nurture debate of attractiveness, which ties into ideas such as facial symmetry and mass media to gain greater insight into what shapes and influences our perceptions of beauty.

So what is beauty?
To best understand the complex nature of beauty we first need to define it, which is often easier said than done, for there are many myriad definitions and characterizations of beauty throughout history that can be applied. Philosophers have framed it in terms of a moral equation of beauty as goodness, while others abide by the legitimacy of the simple modern day dictionary, merely expressing beauty in terms of “qualities in a person or thing that gives pleasure to the senses or pleasurably exalts the mind or spirit”. While these definitions bear accuracy, they don’t quite fit in with the psychological question of perceptions of beauty, for other complex elements are involved-biological, environmental, non-physical that are necessary to include in order to analyse beauty. Perhaps defining it can be best understood in terms of the common adage ‘Beauty is in the Eye of Beholder’. Although this appears cliché on the surface, the phrase correlates the nature and nurture elements that complete the meaning of beauty.

Personally I think the most important factor here is the determinants that influence the ‘eye’ of beholder. Behind those ‘qualities’ are subjective cultural influences and objective biological elements that ultimately define what...
tracking img