Beauty isn’t in the eye of the beholder


Photo courtesy of James Santiago

Beauty isn’t in the eye of the beholder. It’s a complex concept that we misconstrue. If it were truly in the eye of the beholder, then why do all the models on the magazine covers in the grocery store checkout lanes have strikingly similar qualities?

They are typically low in body fat, high in muscular definition and rocking the tiniest bathing suit possible. All of this usually comes underneath a caption like, “HOW TO GET YOUR PERFECT SUMMER BODY IN 1 WEEK” or something equally ridiculous. If beauty were actually in the eye of the beholder, then companies wouldn’t try to sell the same image of what beauty is. 

One thing is certain: Beauty is important to us. It affects our self-esteem, socialization and can have direct impacts on our mental health. It can cause ridicule in grade school, and in adulthood too.

The problem is that there is a culturally created, narrow image of beauty. When people don’t fit that mold, we usually perceive them as less healthy. For some reason, there seems to be a belief that beauty is correlated to a “healthy” body. But what is a “healthy” body?

We fail to remember that there are many types of healthy bodies. Health isn’t determined by magazine covers: It’s something personal to be discussed between you and your doctor. No one else should be able to look at you and assume your level of health based on the body you hold.

Confidence, elation and pride are vital components of beauty. Those aren’t things that 1,000 reps of ab crunches a day can get you. If you can’t take it from me, take it from the celebrities themselves. No matter how fit or famous you are, you can struggle with body image issues.

The expectations of a beautiful body image are getting harder and harder to attain across the board. Typically, women are pressured to maintain certain body image standards more than men. But make no mistake, men can be victims of this trap too. This is an issue that everyone should have some level of interest in.

It’s altering our thought process about beauty and health too. Younger people are becoming preoccupied with looks to a dangerous amount. In some extreme cases, it can lead to eating disorders.

People are hurting their own bodies in search of the perfect body. If this is how able-bodied people react, imagine the implications for those with physical disabilities. It’s not a secret that those with visible disabilities are often left out of the “beauty” conversation. We’ve only recently seen disabled models begin to appear prominently in the fashion world, and that trend needs to continue.

Beauty isn’t in the eye of the beholder because it is located in the heart of the individual. It’s not a state of being. You can’t measure your body fat and calculate how attractive you are on a universal scale. It’s a feeling. That’s something that happens on the inside. No one can give it or take it away. I’m aware that may sound corny, but you clicked on an article about beauty. I’m assuming you’re okay with a little corny.

Start practicing beauty. Give yourself little boosts of self-esteem when you need it. Acknowledge yourself for things you like about your image, inside and out. It doesn’t matter if you have freckles, love handles or chiseled abs.

You deserve to feel confident in your skin.  You don’t need to wait to drop those extra five pounds to be beautiful. You already have the capability.