What is beauty? According to Wikipedia, beauty is described as “a feature of objects that makes these objects pleasurable to perceive”. These objects can be landscapes, sunsets, artwork, buildings, sculptures, or even humans. We can all agree that watching the sunset from the west coast or watching the sunrise from mountain tops of the east is truly a sight to behold, but what is it about these sights we deem to be so beautiful? The same thing goes for works of art, architecture, and other inanimate objects. Why is it that we perceive beauty in different ways, especially when it comes to our own species as humans?
As a society of people, we perceive beauty as a type of cognitive bias known as the Halo Effect. The Halo Effect is our judgement toward someone where our impression of that person dictates our assumptions about them. When you walk into a shop or a store, meet someone for the first time, or listen to what a physically attractive person says, your mood tends to change and you are subconsciously put at ease because this person appears to be friendly and trustworthy. Have you ever prejudged someone by saying “that person looks mean”, or “he/she looks hateful”, and have you ever went as far to choose to talk to someone solely based on their looks? Society preaches anti-prejudice, but when you look at us from a distance you see that we are very prejudice from many aspects.
Physical Traits Of Beauty
When we look at a person we immediately start drawing conclusions about them based on how they look or how they dress. We study the features of their face, distance between eyes, hairline, ear size, lips, complexity, weight, height, arm and leg size, hips, waist, hair, teeth, and any other minute detail we can easily notice. When we look at people, what is that we subconsciously look for as beauty traits? Are we hardwired to think a certain way and not even realize it?
According to Psychology Today, what we are drawn to in people remains a mystery, but there are a few things that science can tell us about this. Not surprising, men and women are drawn to different traits.
I think most women will agree with the fact that we tend to like guys taller than us. Maybe it’s that fairy tale we all dream of having the man who’s tall, dark, and handsome, or could it be that tall men are a sign of status and power. The realistic truth is taller people do actually earn more, and tall men are more likely to win the popular vote in presidential elections and to be re-elected once in office. For some, it can also be a sign of a protector and provider, and that bring security and peace of mind to some women.
Not only is this the envy of all women from all walks of life, but this is a trait that men find attractive in women too. A skinny waist and curvy hips in women is preferred. This shape indicates a good environment for future child-bearing and a higher likelihood of giving birth to healthy children, and the smaller the waist is, the more attractive the woman.
I have to admit this is one of my weaknesses. A beautiful set of eyes is the first thing I notice when speaking to someone. Eyes can be…captivating. Our eyes are drawn to the limbal ring, which is the circle around the iris, this line separates the colored part of the eye from the white part. This ring fades as we age. Therefore, prominence of the ring signifies youth, health, and beauty.
Perfect symmetry is the distance between the eyes or the distance from eyes to mouth, and is considered beautiful. Essentially, it is easier for us to process symmetry than asymmetry. This also signals health and the ability to produce healthy offspring.
Non-Physical Traits Of Beauty
It goes without saying that hardly anyone in our society who has lived any kind of life, endured struggles, birthed children, suffering from health issues, or any other non-perfect life occurrence does not have the “perfect” body we always dreamed of. However, that doesn’t mean we don’t have our own beauty traits which are non-physical. There are many traits we have as humans that are non-physical that are beautiful and draw us toward someone.
intelligence is a big one for me. I don’t expect someone to have multiple degrees, or any degree really, but I do like to engage with people who show at least a certain level of intelligence. Genius-level IQ is not as desirable though, and could bring trade-offs with other desirable characteristics, such as social skills and interpersonal functioning Though this is often more perception than reality. In general, very smart people appear particularly appealing—especially as long-term partners.
Confidence is something that both men and women find desirable. A less confident person may look for someone who brings confidence to a relationship to help balance them out. Confidence can bring reassurances in decision making, problem solving, leadership (not just in life but in the relationship), and taking care of certain family business when needed. It pays to have someone confident and intelligent when buying big ticket items like a car or home. Sometimes it’s just too overwhelming for some. Confidence in how you feel about yourself and your body can spread to others and help them to be more accepting of themselves. If you are confident in all of your imperfections and short falls, others tend to find solace in themselves as a result.
Personality and Attitude
Many of you will agree with me that you can have all the physical beauty in the world, but if nothing flows out of your mouth but negativity and unhappiness, then people will not want to gravitate toward you. I know I avoid people are always negative or display traits that not compatible with me. If you project happiness and a positive attitude, people will generally that a more beautiful feature than your picture perfect face.
What Is Beauty, Really?
Now that we have briefly went over the psychological science of beauty, I want to talk about a few observations of mine regarding the not so…tangible aspects of beauty. When we make a judgement of whether someone or something is beautiful, we would be remiss if we didn’t l take into consideration all aspects of beauty. Of course, this is all my opinion on my view of beauty, so it may differ from yours. That’s alright. The old saying’s “beauty comes in all shapes and sizes”, “beauty is in the eye of the beholder”, and “there is beauty in everything” show their truths a bit here.
I don’t really think it is something cliche if you believe what is being said. I think these hold true and are beliefs for a lot of people. Out twisted human minds and society lead us to believe there are expectations for what is held in beauty. Lets take art for an example. If you go into an art museum and ask 10 different people their opinion on a piece of art, then chances are you will get ten different answers. Each person will see the beauty from a different perspective, and everything that has brought them to this point will influence their view on it. You may even have a few who find the work of art ugly or unattractive, but that is okay because we each see things differently. I think the same mentality holds true when you are measuring the physical beauty or attractiveness of a person.
Beauty is a State of Mind
I truly believe this. I see beauty as a way to express yourself confidently without any fear of what someone may think, say, or react to how you look, are dressed, or your general attitude toward things. You have to admit that someone who is confident (not over confident and narcissistic) in who they are can bring a certain attractive energy into any situation. If you take a look at celebrities like Lady Gaga or even Miley Cirus you can tell pretty quickly they don’t really give two flips about what people think of them, their actions, or how they look.
…being nude is more about creative expression rather than a political statement.Lena Dunham, HBO, Girls
Beauty is Self-Acceptance
From conception our lifelong physical, emotional, and psychological make is being formed, and we have no idea what that will consist of 20, 30, 40, or even 70 years from now. We are made the way we were intended to be and there is nothing anyone can really do about it, well short of surgery at least. That’s another topic I won’t get started on today. Everything in our DNA make up is hard coded and unable to be changed. This goes from eye color, body hair, size of your nose, your lips, and even the size and shape of the parts we keep so private most of our lives. I hate that we are “forced” to think we need to be a certain way when are just the way God intended. Beauty is who you are and knowing no one else wants you any different…physically or otherwise.
Beauty is Laughter
I saw a meme not too long ago that said something like this: “Be careful of the guy who can make you laugh. You’re talking and laughing, talking and laughing, and the next thing you know you’re both naked”. Apparently funny guys are dangerous. Who knew? However, there is some truth to that statement though. There’s always that funny person who is the life of the party, or who is always cutting up, smiling, and laughing. Laughter can bring a beautiful attractiveness to someone who you would not otherwise consider based on their looks. Not saying this person would be unattractive, but their features or may not meet your original expectations of what you are thought you wanted. Laughter can break that original thought and break down barriers you didn’t know were there. Laughter can bring happiness, which quite beautiful to say the least. We all want to be happy.
Beauty is Understanding
How many of you crave to be understood? Everyone, right? There is nothing quite like building a relationship (friendship or romantic) with someone who actually “gets you”. I guess that is why nudists make great friends, we get one another, and we are understanding of those who choose an alternate lifestyle compared to the “norm”. However, let’s step outside of the nudist community and think about people we meet or make friends with, and they understand (or at least try to understand) who we are and why we made the decision we did.
How much of a relief was it that you were able to express yourself, become vulnerable, and finally get that “approval” of being understood? I know it’s been great for me as I have ventured out to meet some people local to me. They may not choose the same lifestyle as me, but to have that understanding of this is who I am and what I need to do is golden.
Beauty is You
The final point I’m going to make is that beauty is you. You are unique to everyone else and there is no one else around who is like you. Do you fit the mold of what society sees as beautiful? Great, you are beautiful. Are you the person who carries a few extra pounds around the waist, hips, or butt? Great, you are beautiful. I bet a few of you are the 30-40 year old Cos-Play attendees. Guess what? Yep, you are beautiful too.
By now you’re probably thinking I’m crazy or I’m just being nice to make people feel better. No, not really. What I am trying to say is that beauty really is subjective and can’t be measured by a societal norm. Who are we to pass judgement by the way someone looks? It’s just like judging a book by it’s color. You can’t. Some of the best books have plain, basic covers, but the story behind it is unlike nothing you have ever read before.
Now, for your homework. I want each of you to locate that one thing (or things) which makes you beautiful, and I want you to stop focusing on the things that make you feel ugly. Don’t pass judgement on your beauty because you have scars on your belly, a little flab under your arms, a birthmark on your neck, or even the size of you butt. Focus on what makes you a beautiful person, and what brings people to you. I think you will be much happier. I know I am after releasing my demons.
Selfless promotion…If you are suffering from any kind of body image issues, then please try to spend some time naked looking at your body. The more you do the more accepting you will be of yourself, and the more you will find beauty in others.
Stay naked, my friends.
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Original Posted on July 24, 2021Photo by ᕈ O W L Y on Unsplash