“That’s always seemed so ridiculous to me, that people want to be around someone because they’re pretty. It’s like picking your breakfast cereals based on color instead of taste.”
― John Green, Paper Towns
I don’t get it. I just don’t get it. The notion of physical attractiveness defining a person’s social status and success in life is, in a word, abhorrent. So why is it that physical beauty is so important in society if it’s something a person has a very limited amount of control over?
Some days I try and try to shrink myself down to the shallow mindset of an average person in society and see a person not for the internal depth of their soul but instead for just their physical characteristics. But I just don’t get it, because physical beauty is almost always accompanied with internal shallowness. And so I repeat, I just don’t get it.
What is beauty?
Beauty is defined as the following: a combination of qualities, such as shape, color, or form, that pleases the aesthetic senses, especially sight.
You could argue that beauty comes down to things like facial symmetry, natural glow, and keen fashion sense. And that may indeed fit most of the actual definition, but let’s face it, today’s idea of being beautiful comes down to one thing: weight. And I hate that, because the requirement for that form of beauty is to be unhealthily skinny.
If a woman is told they have a pretty face or pretty hair, it’s not a compliment. It’s a consolation prize. It’s also quite a bit offensive for the recipient of the “compliment.”
But the worst part is that it hasn’t always been like this. Back when food was more scarce, being overweight actually constituted as beautiful.
This leads me to believe the beauty is, above all, an element of culture. As a collective predilection towards skinny people began to occur, a herding effect began to occur. And suddenly being skinny was the only way to be pretty. Through the last 50 years, we’ve seen minor fluctuations where society showed preference to more average girls. But right now we’re living in the thinnest age yet, where skinny is the new plus-sized and bony is the new normal.
Why do we seek beauty?
I don’t know. There used to be some kind of evolutionary logic to the whole thing. People sought and admire pretty people because they had chances of living long lives, but with supermodels dying of heart attacks from being too skinny instead of too fat, that’s clearly not the case anymore. It’s probably just a cultural groupthink thing.
Beauty is in the heart.
You’ve heard this before I’m sure, but I’m serious about it. If you’re not considered gorgeous by the world’s standards. If you’re not bone skinny or just can’t get your hair to work correctly. If you have to use glasses or openly flaunt your love for “nerdy” things… you’re awesome! There is no greater calling than journeying beyond what the world says and into the uncharted territory that is being yourself. And the next one tells you you’re too fat, slap them in the face. Or at least ignore it.
Unless you are actually obese according to science. In that case you might want to go on a diet.
And if you are one of those people who looks at other people’s beauty based on strictly look, just know that you’re probably indirectly causing that girl a great deal of internal strife and lack of self-confidence. Your perception of beauty is bad, and you should feel bad. Beauty is located in the heart and not on the skin.
[Thanks to Tiea Martin for suggesting this topic.]
[And yes I’m allowed to use a “Mean Girls” meme.]