Beauty is a complex social process. The standards that are held to for beauty can be quite different from one culture to the next. Whether it is a matter of body proportions, hairstyles, or colour, the ideal look has changed throughout time.
During the Renaissance, plumpness was a sign of wealth. Cosmetics were sold at fairs. Even potions were available at home. In fact, the perfect Greek chin was round and smooth with no dimples. A head louse, on the other hand, is a bit of an adult creature.
However, the most interesting aspect of beauty is that it is a complex multi-sensory experience. It is a perceptual experience that satisfies the aesthetic, psychological, and moral senses. As such, it is a powerful tool in the political and economic arsenals of many societies. This makes it an important subject to discuss in times of turmoil, especially as a facet of power.
In the modern day, it is more important than ever to take care of ourselves. There are many products marketed as the ultimate in self-care. These include skin creams, lotions, and cosmetic surgeries. Many are geared towards individuals, while others are aimed at groups. Most of these products are not particularly inexpensive and are mainly sold to those with the capital to pay for them.
The search for the perfect beauty formula has been an active one since ancient Greece. Artists like Leonardo da Vinci and Albrecht Durer studied facial proportions. Antoine Mengs, an art teacher, devised a complicated formula to recreate the perfect Greek chin. He calculated the best possible shape for a chin, the best distance between the tip of the nose and the lips, and the best hairline start on the brow.
However, the rudimentary cognitive process that is responsible for making these decisions is present from an early age. In fact, the ideal chin is one of the first things we notice about an infant.
It was also a good measure of a well-rounded personality. One of the most important factors in judging a person’s suitability for marriage was their physical appearance. Fortunately, society in the west did a much better job of ensuring women were aesthetically pleasing. By the 17th century, herbal creams had been fashioned.
During the 1960s, counterculture emphasized social protest and feminine decorations. The punk look, or more aptly described as the look of disenchanted youth, is now the standard for a small minority.
While the best of the best is a matter of personal preference, society has a vested interest in defining what constitutes beauty. For instance, beauty products are usually marketed as a means to gain power over one’s image. They are largely profitable for those with the capital to purchase them.
Despite all the controversies, there is no denying that beauty has always been a major part of society. But the definition of beauty is as variable as the people it adorns. Some say it is the most complicated and confusing concept to grasp.