The Concept of Beauty in Modern Society
Beauty is often defined as a subjective quality of objects which makes these objects enjoyable to see. These objects may be nature, humans or works of art. Beauty, along with personal aesthetic sense, is perhaps the most important concern of aesthetics, one of today’s major branches of study. It also forms the basis for much of the psychology of beauty, with research focusing on the psychological foundations of our concept of beauty. In addition, aesthetics courses incorporate elements of psychology, including perspectives on individual differences and motives, as well as the role of emotions in aesthetic appreciation.
Modern aesthetics has evolved into a multifaceted discipline. Initially, however, aesthetic theory referred only to paintings and other visual artifacts. Later, aesthetic practices became associated with social life and politics. Today, aesthetic theory and practice have also become an important part of contemporary philosophy, especially as it concerns itself with issues of gender and power. Philosophy of beauty has also become a prominent element of contemporary political debate.
Philosophy of beauty has become part of everyday life for many people, particularly those who participate in popular online social media platforms such as Facebook and Twitter. Many social media users automatically adopt certain criteria of beauty, which they interpret as socially desirable norms. For example, women may look at a woman’s face or body structure and decide whether she looks sexy, appealing or simply well-endowed. By adopting a standard of beauty, these users affirm the value of societal ideals of beauty, particularly those that are associated with physical attributes.
In recent years, however, the philosophical study of beauty has become a more complex enterprise, taking into account emerging cultural theories on beauty. Some philosophers argue that beauty has always been a matter of perception, and that culture may affect our interpretation of beauty. Others argue that beauty is subjective and only dependent on our personal experiences and perspectives. A third group of philosophers argues that the definition of beauty has nothing to do with anything objective, while a fourth might subscribe to both accounts, arguing that beauty and the idea of beauty are independent concepts.
Philosophy of beauty has taken a different path in recent years, especially in the realm of fashion. Fashion critics argue that beauty is a complex phenomenon influenced by multiple factors including sociocultural beliefs and expectations, desire, function, style, and advertising. Fashionable beauty is determined not only by aesthetic considerations but also by the critical analysis of how fashion relates to power, identity, and status. The beauty of fashion critics therefore offers a rich and multifaceted view of fashion as it relates to these other important areas of modern life. The increasing complexity of fashion and the significant influence of social media on the way it is perceived to have also helped to complicate the debate on beauty. Social media has, in effect, complicated the idea of what beauty really is, opening up a previously difficult debate to more complex analysis.
In recent years, the concept of beauty has increasingly become connected to the process of fashion. In the world of fashion, it is important to be both beautiful and successful, and these two aspects often feed off of each other. The success of a fashion design can be measured not only by the market it has generated, but also by the public’s reaction to it. For example, if a particular style of clothing fails to gain attention or is criticized critically, it could prove disastrous for the reputation of the fashion designer and company. In this way, beauty and success are closely intertwined with each other.