Defining Beauty

Beauty is most commonly defined as a subjective quality of certain objects which makes these objects enjoyable to perceive. These objects may include sunsets, landscapes, art and other works of art. Beauty, along with art and other aesthetics, is the core theme of aesthetics, another of the major branches of modern philosophy. In aesthetic school, beauty is defined as an attitude, a disposition towards beauty or a visual balance, harmony and proportion in the visual display. The word beauty in aesthetics is connected with emotion and subjective valuation of beauty. Beauty has also been used to refer to the intellectual or emotional quality of a work of art, especially in classical aesthetics.


In the late nineteenth century, American philosopher associated the concept of beauty with the concept of personal worth. According to him, “there is no universal beauty, for there is no standard of beauty, because the object of beauty varies with human culture, with the civilization of each country, with the inclinations of men, with the temper and inclinations of their artists.” He goes on to say that beauty is determined by the relation between a thing and its own ability to provide satisfaction, pleasure or happiness. Beauty is then defined as a subjective standard.

Modernists on the other hand, disagree with the idea that beauty is merely subjective. They maintain that beauty exists objectively and independently of humans, and is thus a universal standard. Some may worry that defining beauty with such clarity and precision may make it very easy for people to look like something they want to look like.

This worry may be concerned with two different things. One worry is that if every person were beautiful then there would be no need for beauty standards. Beauty is defined as an attitude and not a physical trait. We all have different attitudes towards beauty. People may look the same but still may look different if their attitudes are different.

Another worry is that beauty pageants may make women too conscious about themselves and not as self-sufficient as they could and should be. A pageant contestant is often seen as being fragile, small, delicate, etc. Women in beauty pageants are made to be perfect, and even flawless in their own eyes. Achieving beauty pageant success also requires one to be extremely confident, both in public and at home.

A beauty pageant contestant is under tremendous pressure from the judges, family, friends, sponsors, and the crowd. Many beauty pageant contestants find themselves becoming depressed and feeling overwhelmed at times. The weight of everything that they have to keep their appearances in can often cause them to feel mentally and physically exhausted. They will usually need professional support during this time.