When thirteen year old Korkor complained to her father about her broad forehead and huge diastema been mocked and called ugly by her classmates in school, her father was surprised. He recalled how women with these features were deemed very beautiful in his youthful days. As he consoled his daughter, he had only one question in mind: what are people’s perceptions of beauty in today’s world?
World change and technological advancements have warranted varying opinions concerning beauty. One mutual factor in all these opinions is physical appearance. From how a person dresses to the shape of one’s toes, all these and those in between are all determinants of beauty. In short interviews conducted, one guy said beauty to him is about kindness, compassion, empathy, sympathy, generosity and lovingness even though physical appearance makes up 40% of his idea of beauty. One lady also said, “a beautiful person is not just a pretty face but also one with good inner qualities and thoughts”. Another guy said though people may pretend and blabber about inner beauty, beauty in his perspective is the physical appearance of a person. All these different opinions agree with the mutual factor that in all the ideas of beauty, there is the element of physical appearance.
They say, “beauty lies in the eyes of the beholder” and as everyone is somehow a beholder, there is just a question to ask: what do the eyes of a beholder see to determine a person’s beauty? This saying in some way resonates one lady’s opinion that, “beauty is what you see when you look in the mirror and not what others say”. As interesting and sensible as this opinion is, it holds no grounds in contemporary times where everyone seeks validation from everyone about the perception of beauty.
In today’s world, where social media is dominant, the idea of beauty is on a whole new level. Today, people confidently judge one another when their perceived standards of beauty are not met. Some men and women want lighter skin as that is viewed as beautiful by many. It does not help that most cosmetic companies seek out light skinned men and women for advertisement and endorsement deals. Now, liposuction and plastic surgeries have become the newest trend amongst both men and women. Everyone wants to be seen as ‘perfect’.
This raises the question of who a perfect person is. Is a perfect person tall or short? Is a perfect person slim or plump? Is a perfect person fair or dark? Christians believe God created humans in His own image and seeing as everyone is different in their own way and the judgmental mentality of most people, does that mean God is imperfect?
Beauty is in the mind. It is how one sees himself or herself. It is how confident one can be in their own skin, embracing and appreciating themselves. It is how enough one sees himself or herself without seeking validation from anyone. It is how one can live without abiding by the beauty standards set by others. Beauty is about one’s ability to do things for themselves because they want to and not that someone says to. Beauty is about acknowledging that being one’s own self is enough and that not everyone can be pleased. Beauty is just life’s way of saying being one’s own self is okay.
As much as the opinions of others matter, it should not be a yardstick for one’s validation. In as much as people will see what they want to see or hear what they want to hear, doubts will always arise.
Yet, at the end of the day, when all answers are laid on the table, people will always find themselves asking, what makes a person beautiful?