While the classical conception of beauty is one of the most common, it is not the only definition. Other definitions of beauty include symmetry, age, race, gender, and body shape and weight. These notions are all based on the conception that beauty is a complex mixture of qualities, which please the aesthetic senses and the eye. But what is beauty? How does it differ from ordinary appearance? And why is it important? There are many reasons for this distinction, including our contemporary society.
Classical conceptions of beauty define beauty as a harmonious relation between parts, while hedonists see beauty as a direct consequence of pleasure. This conception views beautiful objects primarily in terms of their value, the loving attitude they inspire, and their functions. But what is beauty and how is it defined? Which definition is right for us? Let’s look at some of the most common definitions of beauty. What is beauty to us? Why are we so attracted to it?
Aristotle and Plato disagree on what beauty is. Aristotle argues that beauty is a matter of proportion and mathematical proportions, rather than immediate, sensible experience. ‘The Canon’ (a Greek sculpture by Polykleitos) was the first example of a sculpture that could reliably be reproduced as beauty. That was a significant step in the development of aesthetic theory. And we should be mindful of the fact that we must also have our own personal aesthetic principles.
For example, the ideal female body shape varies depending on time and social expectations. In the Victorian era, the ideal female body shape was an hourglass shape. But by the 1920s, the ideal female body shape was a boyish shape. Changing the ideal woman’s physical appearance and body shape in society has resulted in a number of unsavory outcomes. Aristotle’s definition of beauty, in contrast to Plato’s, was much more objective. Rather than relying on the observer’s experience of beauty, Aristotle emphasized the physical characteristics of an art object to define beauty.
In terms of cultural context, the politics of race and beauty are deeply intertwined. Rooks argues that women are placed into different categories based on their appearance. Attempts to decolonize the beauty regime often face pushback from the outside world. Hampton University’s business school, for example, banned dreadlocks in 2012.
The Romans adopted Greek practices and even wrote a beauty manual. The ancient world was a more advanced time when makeup was invented and incorporated into daily life. Ovid’s instructions on makeup and beauty were followed by upper class women, who used them to color their gray hair, smear wax over their wrinkled skin, and replace their eyebrows with fur. Today, there are numerous cosmetic brands that have evolved. There are many unique ways to discover beauty products from the ancient world.