Is Beauty in the Eye of the Beholder?
The perception of beauty is subjective. Beauty is for each individual to see, not what society sees as a whole. It’s natural for us to consider our values and opinions when looking at works of art. If you see a work of art that interests you or you take pleasure in it, it will be deemed as beautiful. What you perceive as beautiful may not be beautiful to someone else and that is why beauty is in the eye of the beholder. Beauty is truly in the “eye” and the “I” of the beholder. Different people possess different standards of beauty and not everyone agrees on whom or what is beautiful. It’s very difficult to see things without having your own opinion and considering your personal views. Beauty, in simpler terms, is all a matter of personal taste. Something that you may find ugly or displeasing is beautiful to someone else, and vice versa. Examples of how beauty is in the eye of the beholder are endless. Nowhere is the saying beauty is in the eye of the beholder more relevant than when it is said in relation to different cultures. What one culture may find beauty in; another culture may be repulsed or offended by. People of all cultures have customs that are considered beautiful. But, if you’re not a part of that particular culture, you might find the look of the people deceiving or ugly. For an example, a custom in Africa is called ‘scarring’ where they cut themselves and make scars. It’s considered a fine art and beauty, but to the modernized American, this custom would most likely not be looked at as beautiful. It’s difficult for us to see their side in how cutting themselves is a fine art, but this shows that beauty is a matter of opinion. Another example of the cultural differences in outlooks on beauty is another African tribe is to insert a plate into the lower lip. Viewing this, today’s society views this as disturbing or painful in appearance, not representing beauty at all. Some perceptions of beauty are based on religious beliefs within the culture. Past experiences and interests play a role in critiquing art. You cannot simply put aside your likes, dislikes, and your past experiences. It’s always considered whether you actually like or find pleasure while looking at work of art. If there is an artwork that you find beautiful, chances are that you have a connection or relation to, it’s something you find interesting, or it’s a work of art that is of something you enjoy. An example of this is if someone grew up their whole life listening to classical music, the chances of them liking dub-step or rap is very unlikely, because their only past experience has been classical music and that’s what they like and enjoy. Another example of taking your likes and dislikes into consideration is, maybe you have a strange fear, spiders for example, if there was a huge painting of a spider, you couldn’t simply erase your fear. You’d step back and take into consideration of your own thoughts, which would be that you didn’t like the art piece. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder. It’s your opinion that matters and we often don’t consider others opinions when looking at art. I believe it is unlikely and not possible to view art with a blank mind, not considering your likes, dislikes, past experiences, and other culture’s customs. Beauty depends on the person examining the art piece. It is completely subjective and different things are beautiful to different types of people.