The Concept of Beauty in Human Culture
Beauty is frequently defined as a subjective quality of particular objects, which makes these objects aesthetically pleasing to see. Such objects may be works of art, landscapes, humans and other beautiful things. Beauty, along with aesthetic sense, is a major field of aesthetics, among the major branches of psychology. It is also used in business as it plays a crucial role in customer attraction, making the product look attractive and improving its desirability. It has also come to play an important role in marketing of products and services.
According to some philosophers, beauty is often used as the basis of evaluating the worth of an object. Thus, beauty is often used to determine the monetary value of a work of art or of a beautiful woman. The word beauty itself may have different meanings. For some, beauty is defined by the beauty standards set by various cultures and societies. For others, beauty is considered to be the aesthetic quality, independent of cultural factors, that may be perceived directly and which may be measured using a variety of measurements.
Throughout history, the concept of beauty has been in constant evolution. Early writings on the Middle Ages often referred to physical beauty, which consisted mainly of physical attributes of the body of a person. In those times, beauty was often associated with spiritual values such as faith, courage, honesty and wisdom. However, modern beauty continues to vary according to individual perceptions. There are many people who believe that physical beauty is usually measured by the sum of a human’s physical and mental beauty.
According to the ideas of cultural psychology, the primary meaning of human beauty has always been linked to the ability to socially interact with others. Furthermore, it has been seen as the basic meaning of a person’s status in society. With the progress of social interaction between people through literature, movies, dance and other artistic forms, the idea of beauty has become more abstract and complex. However, the empirical research on this matter did not support the idea of an evolved human beauty criteria. For instance, it was found that the only universally accepted criterion for judging the physical appearance of people was by their skin color.
Most cultures around the world have their own unique ways of viewing and judging beauty. Usually, beauty standards for men and women differ extensively. However, both are beauty ideals that are widely accepted by the people. The concept of beauty is not uniformly present across cultures. On the one hand, it can be viewed as the ideal of human beauty whereas on the other hand, it may be regarded as the only standard or ideal of beauty.
Although the definition of beautiful remains to be a subject of debate among people from different cultures and societies, there is general agreement that people find attractive in a person those who possess the following characteristics: healthy and attractive body structure, symmetry in body shape, clean and tidy hair, long and slender face, wide shoulders, small waist and bright eyes. According to some scholars, physical attractiveness and inner beauty are also associated with each other. It has been found that the former is positively related to the latter while symmetry in body structure can be negatively associated with inner beauty. Some authors suggest that people may seek for someone who can add up to their superficial beauty while seeking for someone who is physically attractive. Others suggest that true beauty comes from within rather than from appearance.