The statement, beauty lies in the eyes of the beholder is one of the most popular Shakespearean clichés. Its popularity seems partly because beauty is one of the most fascinating attributes of objects including man and, partly because it fits the common sense understanding of the nature of beauty. It also provides us with a short form definition of what beauty is all about. Most of what makes a woman beautiful comes from the inside, thus it reflects in the eyes.
Deriving from this common sense understanding, an interesting definition of beauty is ‘a combination of qualities, such as shape, colour, or form, that pleases the aesthetic senses, especially the sight’.
In this definition, the experience of beauty is understood only from the vantage point of the observer of the object. While this may be true for most other objects, it is not so when the object of beauty is human. There is a mutual experiencing of the qualities of beauty both by the observer and the object of beauty. To me, true beauty is that which a woman feels, distinct from what others judge. It is ‘I feel beautiful’ not just ‘you are beautiful.’
The pressures thrown by society at the female gender has never been higher than in our age. As such every woman wants to be the ‘perfect woman’ that is paraded on tv, fashion shows, internet, and everywhere you turn. The woman who sacrifices all of her body, all of her freedom (yes freedom!) and all of her comfort to satisfy the demands of the increasingly misogynist society we live in. Some women even go to the extent of changing their body parts to meet that.
It is vital that every woman is able to differentiate between being beautiful and being sexy. All the ‘perfect women’ portrayed have one thing in common- they are meant to be sexually attractive. As a result, in our age, the notion of beauty has become tainted and lost all meaning.
Every woman is born beautiful. Though our social background sometimes enhances or destroys this innate beauty by affecting our self esteem, most of the time, it takes only a little effort to nurture it. When we develop self love, self esteem and confidence, all of which are matters of life and death for the contemporary woman, we feel beautiful. This is so because at the end of it all, the significance of being beautiful to the woman is to what extent it makes her feel secure and confident, to what extent she derives inner peace, happiness and harmony in living.
The expression of beauty as earlier highlighted consists of the outer physical form which appeals to the aesthetic sense, and the inner dimension which enhances the aesthetic experience of the observer. When you balance the two, inner and outer beauty, you find true beauty. And then you will find that even the process of aging (every woman’s fear, right?) will come gracefully. Because you will find happiness and contentment. Beauty is not just about looks afterall!
But for those of us who want to enhance our looks (show me a woman who does not), that too can be done without the conventional idea of having to spend huge sums of money, and more importantly, without damage to our health, especially that of the skin. We only need to look around us, and we will see that there is so much we can use, from nature’s reserves, to make us as beautiful as we were all born to be.
There is no perfect woman, but there are ‘beautiful’ women! But can we revive this notion of what beauty really means?