Beauty is often defined as a subjective aspect of objects which makes these objects enjoyable to see. These objects can be human works of art, nature, landscapes and sunsets. Beauty, along with personal taste and aesthetics, is today the most important subject of aesthetics, among the various branches of science. According to Sigmund Freud, beauty has a decisive role in shaping our behavior, and its definition is a significant factor in aesthetic psychology. The etymologist of aesthetics, Jean Paul Grosch studied beauty in great detail and proposed nine aesthetic principles.
According to this school of thought, beauty is not a physical trait but a personal standard or personal attitude. This school also suggests that there are seven basic kinds of physical beauty: body symmetry, face shape, hair length, skin color, the quality of eyes, personality and the use of cosmetics or clothes. The idea that beauty is a subjective state is also present in this school of thought. However, it is frequently used in everyday life as we can easily point out the ugly face or ugly clothes of someone we like.
Bellit’s Thematic System deals with beauty in terms of a particular order, which he calls “the alphabetical order of beauty.” For example, the beautiful animals are the arboreal species such as deer, salmon, pike and duck. Birds such as the swan, pelican and white-throated sparrow are aquatic species while birds such as the means and the penguin are terrestrial.
According to the Thematic System, there are seven levels of beauty according to their order and orderliness. Among these seven levels, the most beautiful animal is that which is least associated with instinct, with sex, with prey and with death. A beautiful woman, on the other hand, is often associated with all of these. In fact, instinct is considered to be a secondary, less important part of beauty. The order of beauty then, is further divided into two: beauty associated with sex and beauty associated with non-necrosis. It should be noted that while sex and non-sex beauty are often used interchangeably, they actually represent two different aspects of beauty.
In more modern times, the beauty standards associated with Eastern philosophy and culture are different from those of Western culture. For example, while the majority of Eastern societies place great emphasis on beauty, they place lesser importance on intelligence and other such things (including intellectual ability, which is often seen as feminine), while Western societies place a greater value on intelligence and bodily appearance. Furthermore, Eastern societies have historically placed greater emphasis on material beauty than their spiritual beauty standards, while Western cultures place a greater importance on spirituality and emotional beauty. In most cases, the line between beauty and ugliness is blurred in both Eastern and Western cultures. This has led, for some, to the labeling of certain things as being both beauty and ugliness. For example, the “beauty cult,” which was popular in the United States during the latter part of the twentieth century, was considered to be a form of cultural promotion of the ugly, the fat, and the otherwise unsightly.
Beauty is subjective. What may be attractive to one person may not be considered beautiful by another, even if that person has the same body type or facial shape. While the beauty standards that we all have come to embrace and understand are based upon our own personal preferences and experiences, the beauty model that each culture’s beauty standard represents is unique. No matter how beautiful one culture’s woman might be, that beauty is still only beauty to that individual – whether that individual is a man woman, child, or animal. Beauty is always in the eyes of the beholder.