Beauty

Beauty

Overview
Beauty is a characteristic of a person
Person
A person is a human being, or an entity that has certain capacities or attributes strongly associated with being human , for example in a particular moral or legal context...

, animal
Animal
Animals are a major group of multicellular, eukaryotic organisms of the kingdom Animalia or Metazoa. Their body plan eventually becomes fixed as they develop, although some undergo a process of metamorphosis later on in their life. Most animals are motile, meaning they can move spontaneously and...

, place
Location (geography)
The terms location and place in geography are used to identify a point or an area on the Earth's surface or elsewhere. The term 'location' generally implies a higher degree of can certainty than "place" which often has an ambiguous boundary relying more on human/social attributes of place identity...

, object
Object (philosophy)
An object in philosophy is a technical term often used in contrast to the term subject. Consciousness is a state of cognition that includes the subject, which can never be doubted as only it can be the one who doubts, and some object or objects that may or may not have real existence without...

, or idea
Idea
In the most narrow sense, an idea is just whatever is before the mind when one thinks. Very often, ideas are construed as representational images; i.e. images of some object. In other contexts, ideas are taken to be concepts, although abstract concepts do not necessarily appear as images...

 that provides a perceptual
Perception
Perception is the process of attaining awareness or understanding of the environment by organizing and interpreting sensory information. All perception involves signals in the nervous system, which in turn result from physical stimulation of the sense organs...

 experience of pleasure
Pleasure
Pleasure describes the broad class of mental states that humans and other animals experience as positive, enjoyable, or worth seeking. It includes more specific mental states such as happiness, entertainment, enjoyment, ecstasy, and euphoria...

, meaning
Value (personal and cultural)
A personal or cultural value is an absolute or relative ethical value, the assumption of which can be the basis for ethical action. A value system is a set of consistent values and measures. A principle value is a foundation upon which other values and measures of integrity are based...

, or satisfaction
Contentment
"Contentment" seems realistically defined as "enjoyment of whatever may be desired". That definition is realistic because the more contented an individual or community becomes the less extreme so more acceptable their desires will be...

. Beauty is studied as part of aesthetics
Aesthetics
Aesthetics is a branch of philosophy dealing with the nature of beauty, art, and taste, and with the creation and appreciation of beauty. It is more scientifically defined as the study of sensory or sensori-emotional values, sometimes called judgments of sentiment and taste...

, sociology
Sociology
Sociology is the study of society. It is a social science—a term with which it is sometimes synonymous—which uses various methods of empirical investigation and critical analysis to develop a body of knowledge about human social activity...

, social psychology
Social psychology
Social psychology is the scientific study of how people's thoughts, feelings, and behaviors are influenced by the actual, imagined, or implied presence of others. By this definition, scientific refers to the empirical method of investigation. The terms thoughts, feelings, and behaviors include all...

, and culture
Culture
Culture is a term that has many different inter-related meanings. For example, in 1952, Alfred Kroeber and Clyde Kluckhohn compiled a list of 164 definitions of "culture" in Culture: A Critical Review of Concepts and Definitions...

. An "ideal beauty" is an entity which is admired, or possesses features widely attributed to beauty in a particular culture, for perfection. Beauty begins as an organic entity which can be thus altered by new means.

The experience of "beauty" often involves the interpretation of some entity as being in balance and harmony
Harmony
In music, harmony is the use of simultaneous pitches , or chords. The study of harmony involves chords and their construction and chord progressions and the principles of connection that govern them. Harmony is often said to refer to the "vertical" aspect of music, as distinguished from melodic...

 with nature
Nature
Nature, in the broadest sense, is equivalent to the natural world, physical world, or material world. "Nature" refers to the phenomena of the physical world, and also to life in general...

, which may lead to feelings of attraction
Sexual attraction
Sexual attractiveness or sex appeal refers to an individual's ability to attract the sexual or erotic interest of another person, and is a factor in sexual selection or mate choice. The attraction can be to the physical or other qualities or traits of a person, or to such qualities in the context...

 and emotional well-being.
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Quotations

BEAUTY: An aesthetic radiance that delights the soul; a quality much admired in women, landscapes and tropical fish, but curiously out of favor in art throughout the modern era.

Rick Bayan|Rick Bayan, in The Cynic's Dictionary

Beauty. The power by which a woman charms a lover and terrifies a husband.

Ambrose Bierce, The Devil's Dictionary

Beauty is unbearable, drives us to despair, offering us for a minute the glimpse of an eternity that we should like to stretch out over the whole of time.

Albert Camus, Notebooks

We fly to beauty as an asylum from the terrors of finite nature.

Ralph Waldo Emerson, The Poet

Beauty without expression tires.

Ralph Waldo Emerson, The Conduct of Life

Things are pretty, graceful, rich, elegant, handsome, but, until they speak to the imagination, not yet beautiful.

Ralph Waldo Emerson, The Conduct of Life

Il n'y a de vraiment beau que ce qui ne peut servir à rien; tout ce qui est utile est laid.

There is nothing truly beautiful but that which can never be of any use whatsoever; everything useful is ugly.

She who is born a beauty is born betrothed.

Italian proverb

Beauty is an ecstasy; it is as simple as hunger. There is really nothing to be said about it.

W. Somerset Maugham, Cakes and Ale
Encyclopedia
Beauty is a characteristic of a person
Person
A person is a human being, or an entity that has certain capacities or attributes strongly associated with being human , for example in a particular moral or legal context...

, animal
Animal
Animals are a major group of multicellular, eukaryotic organisms of the kingdom Animalia or Metazoa. Their body plan eventually becomes fixed as they develop, although some undergo a process of metamorphosis later on in their life. Most animals are motile, meaning they can move spontaneously and...

, place
Location (geography)
The terms location and place in geography are used to identify a point or an area on the Earth's surface or elsewhere. The term 'location' generally implies a higher degree of can certainty than "place" which often has an ambiguous boundary relying more on human/social attributes of place identity...

, object
Object (philosophy)
An object in philosophy is a technical term often used in contrast to the term subject. Consciousness is a state of cognition that includes the subject, which can never be doubted as only it can be the one who doubts, and some object or objects that may or may not have real existence without...

, or idea
Idea
In the most narrow sense, an idea is just whatever is before the mind when one thinks. Very often, ideas are construed as representational images; i.e. images of some object. In other contexts, ideas are taken to be concepts, although abstract concepts do not necessarily appear as images...

 that provides a perceptual
Perception
Perception is the process of attaining awareness or understanding of the environment by organizing and interpreting sensory information. All perception involves signals in the nervous system, which in turn result from physical stimulation of the sense organs...

 experience of pleasure
Pleasure
Pleasure describes the broad class of mental states that humans and other animals experience as positive, enjoyable, or worth seeking. It includes more specific mental states such as happiness, entertainment, enjoyment, ecstasy, and euphoria...

, meaning
Value (personal and cultural)
A personal or cultural value is an absolute or relative ethical value, the assumption of which can be the basis for ethical action. A value system is a set of consistent values and measures. A principle value is a foundation upon which other values and measures of integrity are based...

, or satisfaction
Contentment
"Contentment" seems realistically defined as "enjoyment of whatever may be desired". That definition is realistic because the more contented an individual or community becomes the less extreme so more acceptable their desires will be...

. Beauty is studied as part of aesthetics
Aesthetics
Aesthetics is a branch of philosophy dealing with the nature of beauty, art, and taste, and with the creation and appreciation of beauty. It is more scientifically defined as the study of sensory or sensori-emotional values, sometimes called judgments of sentiment and taste...

, sociology
Sociology
Sociology is the study of society. It is a social science—a term with which it is sometimes synonymous—which uses various methods of empirical investigation and critical analysis to develop a body of knowledge about human social activity...

, social psychology
Social psychology
Social psychology is the scientific study of how people's thoughts, feelings, and behaviors are influenced by the actual, imagined, or implied presence of others. By this definition, scientific refers to the empirical method of investigation. The terms thoughts, feelings, and behaviors include all...

, and culture
Culture
Culture is a term that has many different inter-related meanings. For example, in 1952, Alfred Kroeber and Clyde Kluckhohn compiled a list of 164 definitions of "culture" in Culture: A Critical Review of Concepts and Definitions...

. An "ideal beauty" is an entity which is admired, or possesses features widely attributed to beauty in a particular culture, for perfection. Beauty begins as an organic entity which can be thus altered by new means.

The experience of "beauty" often involves the interpretation of some entity as being in balance and harmony
Harmony
In music, harmony is the use of simultaneous pitches , or chords. The study of harmony involves chords and their construction and chord progressions and the principles of connection that govern them. Harmony is often said to refer to the "vertical" aspect of music, as distinguished from melodic...

 with nature
Nature
Nature, in the broadest sense, is equivalent to the natural world, physical world, or material world. "Nature" refers to the phenomena of the physical world, and also to life in general...

, which may lead to feelings of attraction
Sexual attraction
Sexual attractiveness or sex appeal refers to an individual's ability to attract the sexual or erotic interest of another person, and is a factor in sexual selection or mate choice. The attraction can be to the physical or other qualities or traits of a person, or to such qualities in the context...

 and emotional well-being. Because this is a subjective
Subjectivity
Subjectivity refers to the subject and his or her perspective, feelings, beliefs, and desires. In philosophy, the term is usually contrasted with objectivity.-Qualia:...

 experience, it is often said that "beauty is in the eye of the beholder." In its most profound sense, beauty may engender a salient
Salience (neuroscience)
The salience of an item – be it an object, a person, a pixel, etc – is the state or quality by which it stands out relative to its neighbours...

 experience of positive reflection about the meaning of one's own existence
Being
Being , is an English word used for conceptualizing subjective and objective aspects of reality, including those fundamental to the self —related to and somewhat interchangeable with terms like "existence" and "living".In its objective usage —as in "a being," or "[a] human being" —it...

. A subject
Subject (philosophy)
In philosophy, a subject is a being that has subjective experiences, subjective consciousness or a relationship with another entity . A subject is an observer and an object is a thing observed...

 of beauty is anything that resonates with personal meaning.

There is evidence that perceptions of beauty are evolutionarily determined, that things, aspects of people and landscapes considered beautiful are typically found in situations likely to give enhanced survival of the perceiving human's genes.

The classical Greek noun for "beauty" was κάλλος, kallos, and the adjective for "beautiful" was καλός, kalos. The Koine Greek
Koine Greek
Koine Greek is the universal dialect of the Greek language spoken throughout post-Classical antiquity , developing from the Attic dialect, with admixture of elements especially from Ionic....

 word for beautiful was ὡραῖος, hōraios, an adjective etymologically coming from the word ὥρα, hōra, meaning "hour." In Koine Greek, beauty was thus associated with "being of one's hour." Thus, a ripe fruit (of its time) was considered beautiful, whereas a young woman trying to appear older or an older woman trying to appear younger would not be considered beautiful. In Attic Greek, hōraios had many meanings, including "youthful" and "ripe old age."

Historical view of beauty



There is evidence that a preference for beautiful faces emerges early in child development, and that the standards of attractiveness are similar across different genders and cultures. Symmetry
Facial symmetry
Facial symmetry, is one element of bodily symmetry, including fluctuating asymmetry. Along with traits such as averageness and youthfulness it influences judgements of aesthetic traits of physical attractiveness and beauty, and is associated with fitness-linked traits including health, It is also...

 is also important because it suggests the absence of genetic or acquired defects.

Although style and fashion
Fashion
Fashion, a general term for a currently popular style or practice, especially in clothing, foot wear, or accessories. Fashion references to anything that is the current trend in look and dress up of a person...

 vary widely, cross-cultural research has found a variety of commonalities in people's perception of beauty. The earliest Western theory of beauty can be found in the works of early Greek philosophers from the pre-Socratic period, such as Pythagoras
Pythagoras
Pythagoras of Samos was an Ionian Greek philosopher, mathematician, and founder of the religious movement called Pythagoreanism. Most of the information about Pythagoras was written down centuries after he lived, so very little reliable information is known about him...

. The Pythagorean school saw a strong connection between mathematics
Mathematics
Mathematics is the study of quantity, space, structure, and change. Mathematicians seek out patterns and formulate new conjectures. Mathematicians resolve the truth or falsity of conjectures by mathematical proofs, which are arguments sufficient to convince other mathematicians of their validity...

 and beauty. In particular, they noted that objects proportioned according to the golden ratio
Golden ratio
In mathematics and the arts, two quantities are in the golden ratio if the ratio of the sum of the quantities to the larger quantity is equal to the ratio of the larger quantity to the smaller one. The golden ratio is an irrational mathematical constant, approximately 1.61803398874989...

 seemed more attractive. Ancient Greek
Ancient Greece
Ancient Greece is a civilization belonging to a period of Greek history that lasted from the Archaic period of the 8th to 6th centuries BC to the end of antiquity. Immediately following this period was the beginning of the Early Middle Ages and the Byzantine era. Included in Ancient Greece is the...

 architecture is based on this view of symmetry and proportion
Ratio
In mathematics, a ratio is a relationship between two numbers of the same kind , usually expressed as "a to b" or a:b, sometimes expressed arithmetically as a dimensionless quotient of the two which explicitly indicates how many times the first number contains the second In mathematics, a ratio is...

.

Plato considered beauty to be the Idea (Form) above all other Ideas. Aristotle saw a relationship between the beautiful (to kalon) and virtue, arguing that "Virtue aims at the beautiful."
Classical philosophy and sculptures of men and women produced according to these philosophers' tenets of ideal human beauty were rediscovered in Renaissance
Renaissance
The Renaissance was a cultural movement that spanned roughly the 14th to the 17th century, beginning in Italy in the Late Middle Ages and later spreading to the rest of Europe. The term is also used more loosely to refer to the historical era, but since the changes of the Renaissance were not...

 Europe, leading to a re-adoption of what became known as a "classical ideal". In terms of female human beauty, a woman whose appearance
Human physical appearance
Human physical appearance refers to the outward phenotype or look of human beings. There are infinite variations in human phenotypes, though society reduces the variability to distinct categories...

 conforms to these tenets is still called a "classical beauty" or said to possess a "classical beauty", whilst the foundations laid by Greek and Roman artists have also supplied the standard for male beauty in western civilization. During the Gothic era, the classical aesthetical canon of beauty was rejected as sinful. Later, the Renaissance
Renaissance
The Renaissance was a cultural movement that spanned roughly the 14th to the 17th century, beginning in Italy in the Late Middle Ages and later spreading to the rest of Europe. The term is also used more loosely to refer to the historical era, but since the changes of the Renaissance were not...

 and the Humanism
Humanism
Humanism is an approach in study, philosophy, world view or practice that focuses on human values and concerns. In philosophy and social science, humanism is a perspective which affirms some notion of human nature, and is contrasted with anti-humanism....

 rejected this view, and considered beauty as a product of rational order and harmony of proportions. Renaissance artists and architect (such as Giorgio Vasari
Giorgio Vasari
Giorgio Vasari was an Italian painter, writer, historian, and architect, who is famous today for his biographies of Italian artists, considered the ideological foundation of art-historical writing.-Biography:...

 in his "lives of artists") criticised the Gothic period as irrational and barbarian. This point of view over Gothic art
Gothic art
Gothic art was a Medieval art movement that developed in France out of Romanesque art in the mid-12th century, led by the concurrent development of Gothic architecture. It spread to all of Western Europe, but took over art more completely north of the Alps, never quite effacing more classical...

 lasted until Romanticism, in the 19th century.

The Age of Reason saw a rise in an interest in beauty as a philosophical subject. For example, Scottish philosopher Francis Hutcheson
Francis Hutcheson (philosopher)
Francis Hutcheson was a philosopher born in Ireland to a family of Scottish Presbyterians who became one of the founding fathers of the Scottish Enlightenment....

 argued that beauty is "unity in variety and variety in unity". The Romantic poets, too, became highly concerned with the nature
Nature (philosophy)
Nature is a concept with two major sets of inter-related meanings, referring on the one hand to the things which are natural, or subject to the normal working of "laws of nature", or on the other hand to the essential properties and causes of those things to be what they naturally are, or in other...

 of beauty, with John Keats
John Keats
John Keats was an English Romantic poet. Along with Lord Byron and Percy Bysshe Shelley, he was one of the key figures in the second generation of the Romantic movement, despite the fact that his work had been in publication for only four years before his death.Although his poems were not...

 arguing in "Ode on a Grecian Urn" that
Beauty is truth, truth beauty ,—that is all.
Ye know on earth, and all ye need to know.


In the Romantic period, Edmund Burke
Edmund Burke
Edmund Burke PC was an Irish statesman, author, orator, political theorist and philosopher who, after moving to England, served for many years in the House of Commons of Great Britain as a member of the Whig party....

 pointed out the differences between beauty in its classical meaning and Sublime
Sublime (philosophy)
In aesthetics, the sublime is the quality of greatness, whether physical, moral, intellectual, metaphysical, aesthetic, spiritual or artistic...

. The concept of the Sublime by Burke and Kant permitted us to understand that even if Gothic art and architecture are not always "symmetrical" or adherent to classical standard of beauty as the other style, Gothic art is by no mean "ugly" or irrational: it's just another aesthetic category, the Sublime category.

The 20th century saw an increasing rejection of beauty by artists and philosophers alike, culminating in postmodernism
Postmodernism
Postmodernism is a philosophical movement evolved in reaction to modernism, the tendency in contemporary culture to accept only objective truth and to be inherently suspicious towards a global cultural narrative or meta-narrative. Postmodernist thought is an intentional departure from the...

's anti-aesthietics. This is despite beauty being a central concern of one of postmodernism's main influences, Friedrich Nietzsche
Friedrich Nietzsche
Friedrich Wilhelm Nietzsche was a 19th-century German philosopher, poet, composer and classical philologist...

, who argued that the Will to Power was the Will to Beauty.

In the aftermath of postmodernism's rejection of beauty, thinkers, such as Roger Scruton
Roger Scruton
Roger Vernon Scruton is a conservative English philosopher and writer. He is the author of over 30 books, including Art and Imagination , Sexual Desire , The Aesthetics of Music , and A Political Philosophy: Arguments For Conservatism...

 and Frederick Turner
Frederick Turner (poet)
is an American poet, polymath and academic. He is the author of two science fiction epic poems, The New World and Genesis, several books of poetry, and a number of scholarly works on topics ranging from beauty and the biological basis of artistic production and appreciation to complexity and Julius...

, have returned to beauty as an important value. American analytic philosopher Guy Sircello
Guy Sircello
**Guy Sircello was an American philosopher best known for his analytic approach to philosophical aesthetics.-Biography:Guy Sircello was a Professor of Philosophy at the University of California Irvine from 1966 until his death in 1992 at the age of 55. He earned his PhD from Columbia University...

 proposed his New Theory of Beauty as an effort to reaffirm the status of beauty as an important philosophical concept. Elaine Scarry also argues that beauty is related to justice.

Human beauty




The characterization of a person as “beautiful”, whether on an individual basis or by community consensus, is often based on some combination of inner beauty, which includes psychological factors such as personality
Personality type
Personality type refers to the psychological classification of different types of individuals. Personality types are sometimes distinguished from personality traits, with the latter embodying a smaller grouping of behavioral tendencies. Types are sometimes said to involve qualitative differences...

, intelligence
Intelligence
Intelligence has been defined in different ways, including the abilities for abstract thought, understanding, communication, reasoning, learning, planning, emotional intelligence and problem solving....

, grace, politeness
Politeness
Politeness is best expressed as the practical application of good manners or etiquette. It is a culturally-defined phenomenon, and therefore what is considered polite in one culture can sometimes be quite rude or simply eccentric in another cultural context....

, charisma
Charisma
The term charisma has two senses: 1) compelling attractiveness or charm that can inspire devotion in others, 2) a divinely conferred power or talent. For some theological usages the term is rendered charism, with a meaning the same as sense 2...

, integrity
Integrity
Integrity is a concept of consistency of actions, values, methods, measures, principles, expectations, and outcomes. In ethics, integrity is regarded as the honesty and truthfulness or accuracy of one's actions...

, congruence and elegance
Elegance
Elegance is a synonym for beauty that has come to acquire the additional connotations of unusual effectiveness and simplicity. It is frequently used as a standard of tastefulness particularly in the areas of visual design, decoration, the sciences, and the esthetics of mathematics...

, and outer beauty (i.e. physical attractiveness
Physical attractiveness
Physical attractiveness refers to a person's physical traits which are perceived to be aesthetically pleasing or beautiful. The term often implies sexual attractiveness or desirability, but can also be distinct from the two; for example, humans may regard the young as attractive for various...

) which includes physical attributes which are valued on a subjective basis.

Standards of beauty have changed over time, based on changing cultural values. Historically, paintings show a wide range of different standards for beauty. However, humans who are relatively young, with smooth skin, well-proportioned bodies, and regular features, have traditionally been considered the most beautiful throughout history.

A strong indicator of physical beauty is "averageness
Averageness
In attractiveness studies, averageness is one of the characteristics of physical beauty in which the average phenotype, i.e. outward appearance, of the individual theoretically characterizes averaged genotypes, thus indicating health and fertility. The majority of averageness studies and theories...

", or "koinophilia
Koinophilia
Koinophilia is a term used by biologist Johan Koeslag, meaning that when sexual creatures seek a mate, they prefer that mate not to have any unusual, peculiar or deviant features....

". When images of human faces are averaged together to form a composite image, they become progressively closer to the "ideal" image and are perceived as more attractive. This was first noticed in 1883, when Francis Galton
Francis Galton
Sir Francis Galton /ˈfrɑːnsɪs ˈgɔːltn̩/ FRS , cousin of Douglas Strutt Galton, half-cousin of Charles Darwin, was an English Victorian polymath: anthropologist, eugenicist, tropical explorer, geographer, inventor, meteorologist, proto-geneticist, psychometrician, and statistician...

, cousin of Charles Darwin
Charles Darwin
Charles Robert Darwin FRS was an English naturalist. He established that all species of life have descended over time from common ancestry, and proposed the scientific theory that this branching pattern of evolution resulted from a process that he called natural selection.He published his theory...

, overlaid photographic composite images of the faces of vegetarians and criminals to see if there was a typical facial appearance for each. When doing this, he noticed that the composite images were more attractive compared to any of the individual images.

The modern french figure has been regarded to epitomize the classical convention of beauty; usually consisting of dark hair and a tall figure. This archtypical figure of beauty has been known to go by ambre pronounced (ambra). Plato often characterized the form of beauty not in the characteristic sense of shape but rather defined as "juicy"
Researchers have replicated the result under more controlled conditions and found that the computer generated, mathematical average of a series of faces is rated more favorably than individual faces. Evolutionarily, it makes logical sense that sexual creatures should be attracted to mates who possess predominantly common or average features.


A feature of beautiful women that has been explored by researchers is a waist–hip ratio of approximately 0.70. Physiologists have shown that women with hourglass figures
Female body shape
Female body shape or figure is the cumulative product of a woman's skeletal structure and the quantity and distribution of muscle and fat on the body. There are, and have been, wide differences on what should be considered an ideal or preferred body shape, both for attractiveness and for health...

 are more fertile than other women due to higher levels of certain female hormones, a fact that may subconsciously condition males choosing mates.

People are influenced by the images they see in the media to determine what is or is not beautiful. Some feminists and doctors have suggested that the very thin models featured in magazines promote eating disorder
Eating disorder
Eating disorders refer to a group of conditions defined by abnormal eating habits that may involve either insufficient or excessive food intake to the detriment of an individual's physical and mental health. Bulimia nervosa, anorexia nervosa, and binge eating disorder are the most common specific...

s, and others have argued that the predominance of white women featured in movies and advertising leads to a Eurocentric concept of beauty, feelings of inferiority in women of color, and internalized racism.

The black is beautiful
Black is beautiful
Black is beautiful is a cultural movement that began in the United States of America in the 1960s by African Americans. It later spread to much of the black world, most prominently in the writings of the Black Consciousness Movement of Steve Biko in South Africa...

 cultural movement sought to dispel this notion. Mixed race children are sometimes said to be more attractive than their parents because their genetic diversity arguably protects them from the inherited errors of their individual parents.

The concept of beauty in men is known as 'bishōnen
Bishonen
is a Japanese term literally meaning "beautiful youth ". The equivalent English concept is a "pretty boy".The term describes an aesthetic that can be found in disparate areas in East Asia: a young man whose beauty transcends the boundary of gender or sexual orientation...

' in Japan
Japan
Japan is an island nation in East Asia. Located in the Pacific Ocean, it lies to the east of the Sea of Japan, China, North Korea, South Korea and Russia, stretching from the Sea of Okhotsk in the north to the East China Sea and Taiwan in the south...

. Bishōnen refers to males with distinctly feminine
Femininity
Femininity is a set of attributes, behaviors, and roles generally associated with girls and women. Though socially constructed, femininity is made up of both socially defined and biologically created factors...

 features, physical characteristics establishing the standard of beauty in Japan and typically exhibited in their pop culture idols
Japanese idol
In Japanese culture, are media personalities in their teens and early twenties who are considered particularly attractive or cute and who will, for a period ranging from several months to a few years, regularly appear in the mass media, e.g...

. A multi-billion-dollar industry of Japanese Aesthetic Salons
Japanese Aesthetic Salons
Japanese Aesthetic Salons are popular establishments in Japan where men and women go to receive a great variety of mostly non-surgical beauty treatments, including hair removal, slimming treatments, and facial care...

 exists.

Effects on society


Beauty presents a standard of comparison
Social comparison theory
Social comparison theory is a theory initially proposed by social psychologist Leon Festinger in 1954. It explains how individuals evaluate their own opinions and desires by comparing themselves to others.- Basic framework :...

, and it can cause resentment and dissatisfaction when not achieved. People who do not fit the "beauty ideal" may be ostracized within their communities. The television sitcom Ugly Betty
Ugly Betty
Ugly Betty is an American comedy-drama television series developed by Silvio Horta, which premiered on ABC on September 28, 2006, and ended on April 14, 2010. The series revolves around the character Betty Suarez and is based on Fernando Gaitán's Colombian telenovela soap opera Yo soy Betty, la fea...

portrays the life of a girl faced with hardships due to society's unwelcoming attitudes toward those they deem unattractive. However, a person may also be targeted for harassment because of their beauty. In Malèna
Malèna
Malèna is a 2000 Italian romantic drama film starring Monica Bellucci and Giuseppe Sulfaro. It was directed and written by Giuseppe Tornatore from a story by Luciano Vincenzoni.-Plot:...

, a strikingly beautiful Italian woman is forced into poverty by the women of the community who refuse to give her work for fear that she may "woo" their husbands. The documentary Beauty in the Eyes of the Beheld
Beauty in the Eyes of the Beheld
Beauty in the Eyes of the Beheld is 2008 American documentary that explores what it is like to be a beautiful woman through interviews of eight American women considered physically beautiful...

explores both the societal blessings and curses of female beauty through interviews of women considered beautiful.

Researchers have found that good looking students get higher grades from their teachers than students with an ordinary appearance. Furthermore, attractive patients receive more personalized care from their doctors. Studies have even shown that handsome criminals receive lighter sentences than less attractive convicts. Studies among teens and young adults, such as those of psychiatrist and self-help author, Eva Ritvo
Eva Ritvo
Eva Ritvo MD is an American television and radio personality, author, and psychiatrist most noted for her work on women's empowerment issues and self-help books....

, show that skin conditions have a profound effect on social behavior and opportunity.

How much money a person earns may also be influenced by physical beauty. One study found that people low in physical attractiveness earn 5 to 10 percent less than ordinary looking people, who in turn earn 3 to 8 percent less than those who are considered good looking. Discrimination against others based on their appearance is known as lookism
Lookism
Lookism is a term used to refer to discrimination against or prejudice towards others based on their appearance. The term was first coined within the Fat acceptance movement...

.

St. Augustine
Augustine of Hippo
Augustine of Hippo , also known as Augustine, St. Augustine, St. Austin, St. Augoustinos, Blessed Augustine, or St. Augustine the Blessed, was Bishop of Hippo Regius . He was a Latin-speaking philosopher and theologian who lived in the Roman Africa Province...

 said of beauty "Beauty is indeed a good gift of God; but that the good may not think it a great good, God dispenses it even to the wicked."

Ugliness



Ugliness is a property of a person or thing that is unpleasant to look upon and results in a highly unfavorable evaluation. To be ugly is to be aesthetically unattractive, repulsive, or offensive. Like its opposite, beauty, ugliness involves a subjective
Subjectivity
Subjectivity refers to the subject and his or her perspective, feelings, beliefs, and desires. In philosophy, the term is usually contrasted with objectivity.-Qualia:...

 judgment and is at least partly in the "eye of the beholder." Thus, the perception of ugliness can be mistaken or short-sighted, as in the story of The Ugly Duckling
The Ugly Duckling
"The Ugly Duckling" is a literary fairy tale by Danish poet and author Hans Christian Andersen . The story tells of a homely little bird born in a barnyard who suffers abuse from his neighbors until, much to his delight , he matures into a beautiful swan, the most beautiful bird of all...

by Hans Christian Andersen
Hans Christian Andersen
Hans Christian Andersen was a Danish author, fairy tale writer, and poet noted for his children's stories. These include "The Steadfast Tin Soldier," "The Snow Queen," "The Little Mermaid," "Thumbelina," "The Little Match Girl," and "The Ugly Duckling."...

.

People who appear ugly to others suffer well-documented discrimination, earning 10 to 15 percent less per year than similar workers, and are less likely to be hired for almost any job, but lack legal recourse to fight discrimination.

Although ugliness is normally viewed as a visible characteristic, it can also be an internal attribute. For example, an individual could be outwardly attractive but inwardly thoughtless and cruel. It is also possible to be in an "ugly mood," which is a temporary, internal state of unpleasantness, or may refer to the way one views themselves at the moment.

For some people, ugliness is a central aspect of their persona. Jean-Paul Sartre
Jean-Paul Sartre
Jean-Paul Charles Aymard Sartre was a French existentialist philosopher, playwright, novelist, screenwriter, political activist, biographer, and literary critic. He was one of the leading figures in 20th century French philosophy, particularly Marxism, and was one of the key figures in literary...

 had a lazy eye and a bloated, asymmetrical face, and he attributed many of his philosophical ideas to his life-long struggle to come to terms with his self-described ugliness. Socrates
Socrates
Socrates was a classical Greek Athenian philosopher. Credited as one of the founders of Western philosophy, he is an enigmatic figure known chiefly through the accounts of later classical writers, especially the writings of his students Plato and Xenophon, and the plays of his contemporary ...

 also used his ugliness as a philosophical touch point, concluding that philosophy can save us from our outward ugliness. Famous in his own time for his perceived ugliness, Abraham Lincoln
Abraham Lincoln
Abraham Lincoln was the 16th President of the United States, serving from March 1861 until his assassination in April 1865. He successfully led his country through a great constitutional, military and moral crisis – the American Civil War – preserving the Union, while ending slavery, and...

 was described by a contemporary: "to say that he is ugly is nothing; to add that his figure is grotesque, is to convey no adequate impression." However, his looks proved to be an asset in his personal and political relationships, as his law partner William Herndon
William Herndon (lawyer)
William Henry Herndon was the law partner and biographer of Abraham Lincoln.-Biography:Born in Greensburg, Kentucky, Herndon and his family moved to Illinois in 1820, and they settled in Springfield when he was five. Herndon attended Illinois College from 1836-1837. In 1840 he married Mary J....

 wrote, "He was not a pretty man by any means, nor was he an ugly one; he was a homely man, careless of his looks, plain-looking and plain-acting. He had no pomp, display, or dignity, so-called. He appeared simple in his carriage and bearing. He was a sad-looking man; his melancholy dripped from him as he walked. His apparent gloom impressed his friends, and created sympathy for him - one means of his great success."

See also

  • Adornment
    Adornment
    An adornment is generally an accessory or ornament worn to enhance the beauty or status of the wearer. They are often worn to embellish, enhance, or distinguish the wearer, and to define cultural, social, or religious status within a specific community. When worn to show economic status, the items...

  • Beauty pageant
  • Glamour (presentation)
    Glamour (presentation)
    Glamour originally was a magical-occult spell cast on somebody to make them believe that something or somebody was attractive. In the late 19th century terminology a non magical item used to help create a more attractive appearance gradually became 'a glamour'...

  • Processing fluency theory of aesthetic pleasure
    Processing fluency theory of aesthetic pleasure
    The processing fluency theory of aesthetic pleasure is a theory in psychological aesthetics on how people experience beauty. Processing fluency is the ease with which information is processed in the human mind. The theory is based on four basic assumptions:...

  • Sexual capital

External links