Beauty is frequently defined as the aesthetic quality of beautiful things which make these things pleasant to see. These things include sunsets, landscapes, art and humans. Beauty, along with aesthetic sense, is probably the oldest subject of aesthetic science, among the many branches of natural philosophy. The word “beauty” was first used in a French essay written by Sartre in 1903.
“A word to the wise-doer: aesthetic beauty is nothing more than a mental attitude that may be trained.” –Sartre What does beauty involve? Experts do not agree on the definition of beauty. Some believe beauty to be deep things-the essence of life. Others define beauty as the end result of evolutionary development. Still, others insist that beauty is something that everyone can experience, regardless of race, country, and station in life.
Aesthetics scholars have categorized five aesthetic ideals into two groups: the representational and the non-representational. The representational beauties are those that are found in nature or objects and the ones that we make, imitate or adopt for ourselves. Examples of representational beauties are beaches, nature, wildlife, paintings, and furniture. Non-representational beauties are the beauty products and fashion trends that are seen in our society today such as advertising, music, and celebrities.
Beauty is also discussed in the context of social media. Experts in the field of fashion and beauty agree that social media has an impact on the way we see ourselves and the clothes we wear. For instance, social media sites like Facebook allow people to show off their bodies through pictures and videos. Users comment on these images and the conversations that arise is what gossip experts call “winked conversations.” Fashionistas can comment on the beauty trends shared by other users and the content shared in these sites also serve as a sort of visual guide to current beauty trends.
Fashion and beauty trends are also influenced by the visual language we use everyday. Some fashionistas argue that this visual language is a key to our understanding of beauty. In essence, beauty trends are a mirror into our societal norms, wherein beauty means what we see in our mirror every day. By looking at ourselves in the mirror, we begin to see ourselves in different cultural settings and different physical forms. This translation of our self-image is an aesthetic experience.
Aesthetics and culture do not just go together. They are indeed different and each is an essential characteristic of all the others. Aesthetics cannot be separated from culture. Aesthetics cannot be defined as merely an aesthetic quality; beauty can be considered an essential characteristic of culture and an essential characteristic of what a person considers to be beauty. We cannot define art as merely an aesthetic quality and beauty as merely a lack of aesthetic quality.