What is your definition of "beauty"?
Have you ever met an attractive man or woman and thought to yourself "wow, they are GORGEOUS"...but then after speaking to them, you realize they have an ugly personality?

"Beauty" is incredibly subjective, and we all have our own views as to what makes someone beautiful. A person's outward appearance, in my opinion, has little to do with their overall beauty. To me, a man or woman who is sincere, funny, compassionate and full of integrity is beautiful. I believe there is a distinct difference between being attractive and being beautiful.

What about you? What are some of the traits and characteristics which make a person beautiful in your eyes?
Jun 10, 2018 5:21 PM
Comments · 43

I also think it's interesting the idea that "beautiful" only applies to the physical as a set definition just doesn't. At least not in English where it is also equally defined as "of a very high standard; excellent" (Google), "generally pleasing : excellent" (Merriam-Webster dictionary), "Of a very high standard; excellent" (English Oxford Living Dictionaries), "very attractive", "very pleasant", "very kind" (all three of those are from the Cambridge dictionary), "highly enjoyable; very pleasant" (Collins dictionary).

And none of's definitions say anything at all about a physical appearance : "having beauty*; possessing qualities that give great pleasure or satisfaction to see, hear, think about, etc.; delighting the senses or mind:", "excellent of its kind", "wonderful; very pleasing or satisfying."

*Where the first definition under "beauty" from is "the quality present in a thing or person that gives intense pleasure or deep satisfaction to the mind, whether arising from sensory manifestations (as shape, color, sound, etc.), a meaningful design or pattern, or something else (as a personality in which high spiritual qualities are manifest)."

June 10, 2018

Actually, most dictionaries (at least in English) are descriptive rather than prescriptive: they describe how the language is used.

But you're choosing to limit "beautiful" in a way that it just isn't restricted in regular usage. A song or scent or feeling can also be beautiful and none of those are physical.

Our current culture does venerate signs of sickness (which is why anorexia in the modelling industry is being called out) and we think we know when someone is "too skinny" but, just by looking, we don't. The idea that facial symmetry is what we find beautiful has been discredited.

And you make heavy assumptions about those actresses/models. Some of them I agree I consider beautiful, some of them I only know that other people would find beautiful even though I find them to be very ordinary or unremarkable and the claim does need justification. We take for granted how much of our ideas of beauty are social learning.

There are tribes in the world that do what the West would consider extreme body modification and that would not be considered beautiful in the West–but those body modifications are considered beautiful in those regions. It's very much more subjective than we like to believe. I do think there are some aspects that we can agree on more universally....but the idea that it's objective seems to ignore a lot.

I find it odd the way we sometimes want to think that the only way to view something is the way we see it.

June 10, 2018

I don't like this bending of words. If someone looks beautiful but has a bad personality, they are still beautiful.

Sure, I'll want nothing to do with them, but no need to twist the meaning of "beautiful" just so it doesn't seem they have any good qualities.

June 10, 2018

Someone's personality can definitely change whether you think they are beautiful or not even though they physically have not changed. The idea of beauty requires interpretation and conditioning on our part in the first place. Beauty standards have changed with time because who is "beautiful" is not objective nor is it restricted to the physical. Even though we often agree on the whole on who is beautiful and who is not, it is largely subject and it is largely moulded by our times.

The common example is how the beauty standard of past centuries saw women who would now be considered too fat to be conventionally beautiful held up as beauty icons contrasted with the era of Twiggys and the Kate Mosses of more contemporary times. That's all sociological interpretation of physical aspects that don't change. And there is so much else to get into when we consider Western influence on the world's idea of who is or isn't beautiful......

Our constantly changing collective ideas about beauty are really fascinating.

June 10, 2018


June 10, 2018
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