Beauty is commonly defined as a subjective quality of certain objects which makes these objects appealing to see. These objects include sunsets, landscapes, beautiful humans and beautiful works of art. Beauty, along with beauty and aesthetics, is perhaps the most significant part of aesthetics, among the various branches of science. The word ‘beauty’ was first used in relation to art in the 18th century. It first enters the cultural circle when the beauty of a work of art is appreciated by a person.
As human beings, we have always been fascinated by beauty and its effects on us. This curiosity has led to a lot of different attempts to understand beauty, through different cultures and periods. Art, literature, music and cinema have shown us the beauty around us, in our natural environments and on historical monuments. Each of these forms of beauty and aesthetic art has had a positive or negative impact on our culture. Beauty in general has therefore become an essential part of all of our lives, regardless of our social status.
Society has created a framework around beauty that is both subjective and objective. Subjective beauty, such as beauty displayed in magazines and advertisements is usually associated with beauty found in nature. On the other hand, objective beauty is usually associated with beauty that can be objectively measured. Examples of such beauty includes social media icons like Beyonce Knowles’s beautiful blonde hair, the flawless skin of Kim Kardashian, and the beautiful bodies of athletes like Usain Bolt and Justin Timberlake.
The word ‘beauty’ has various meanings depending on the place and time of its application. In fact, beauty has been used in many contexts since the start of time, from classical Greece where beauty was equated with virtue, to medieval Europe where the concept of beauty was associated with religious virtues like chivalry and saintliness. However, the most common definition of beauty remains that of an aesthetically pleasing body shape.
The practice of beauty varies widely according to culture, country, and time period. For instance, while the Western society typically associates the concept of beauty with physical appearance, some Eastern cultures consider beauty to be a state of mental health. This difference in cultural perspective explains why some fashion trends may seem odd or even unfashionable in one country but may be considered stylish or even fashionable by another. For example, it would be unusual to see a pregnant woman wearing revealing clothes in Japan, but in most European countries, a pregnant woman’s body shape is typically considered beautiful.
The pursuit of beauty encompasses a wide range of human actions and thought. It can be compared, then, to the quest for happiness in that the pursuit of beauty does not necessarily have a single goal. Some people pursue beauty in order to be happy, while others are driven by desire for financial success, status, and/or love. True beauty, then, is something that transcends these individual motivations and finds its own path to happiness and true aesthetic value.