What is Beauty?

March 06, 2015

As I write this I am sitting in front of my laptop, my day two hair scrapped back into a messy top not without a speck of make-up on my face. I'm wearing comfy joggers, a plain blue t-shirt and hoodie without a second thought. Why? Well because no one is going to see me today. I plan on staying indoors getting a mixture of writing and housework done before having an evening shower and throwing on my pajamas and crashing in front of the television. If I was going out... that would be a very different story.

When people other than my husband (who has to wake up next to me every morning, the poor sod) are likely to see me I feel like I have to make more of an effort, to conform. I'll curl my hair (it looks better that way) and at least pop on some basic make-up. I won't leave the house in my joggers unless it's for some physical activity which is virtually never. I don't do exercise. 

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Now don't confuse my ability to walk around my own home looking somewhat a mess as confidence in myself and my appearance. It's not like that at all. If I wanted to I could pick holes in how I look: my skin looks dull, my teeth aren't beautifully straight and white, I've not got long, lean legs. I'm not classically beautiful, I won't ever be, but that isn't to say that I shouldn't be happy with what stares back at me each time I look in the mirror. There's a couple of things I want to change and make better (skin and teeth) but I'm working on that. However I'll never be able to change how I look in general. This is my face. This is my body. I might as well embrace it.

All this got me thinking about what we as a society in the UK deem beautiful, what the media thinks that we should be striving for. Most of us will never truly look like an A-lister - we don't have their personal trainers and team of stylists or make-up artists to help us to look like that. I can watch all the YouTube tutorials in the world but unless I a) have the incredible genetics of the "most beautiful" celebrities and b) a wad of cash to throw about (I don't), it's not likely that I am going to go to bed looking like Debi and wake up looking like Emma Watson.

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The thing is beauty is such a subjective term. What I find attractive physical qualities aren't likely to be identical to the next person I meet in the street albeit we might have a similar idea of what is beautiful. If we all liked the same thing or indeed looked the same the world would be a very boring place, lacking in imagination and individuality. So why is it that we try to conform to a certain standard of beauty? Does the perfect body/person even exist?

Of course not. You can't be everyone's cup of tea.

Around the world and throughout the years the idea of what makes a woman physically attractive has varied. From curvy women to athletic, from blonde to brunette, from tanned to pale, what each of us looks for or strives to be differs according to where we are from and, in my opinion, what the media subjects us to. Just because how you look isn't considered typically beautiful in the UK doesn't mean that those in Australia or Africa would see things the same way. It doesn't even mean that the whole of the UK thinks you're unattractive.

The truth is what is termed beautiful is sort of a trend. We have transitioned between thinking that voluptuous women are the most desirable to thinking that slender and lean is the ideal body type to declaring that "real women have curves".* We flip-flop between whether smokey eyes are in style or if the au naturale look is better. Some people want to be blonde, others brunette, others red and we'll float through what is more popular and form opinions on when such-and-such was more beautiful, before or after she went brunette.

I think that there needs to be more of an acceptance of who we are as individuals instead of what  standard beauty is. There needs to be more of a focus on being healthy first and foremost instead of worrying about the outside. In my honest opinion, so long as you are healthy and happy in yourself you are beautiful.

*Incidentally, real women may well be lacking in the curve department too. I really don't like this saying along with "nothing tastes as good as skinny feels." Bullshit! Pass me my chocolate cake please.
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  1. I feel like talk about beauty will be one of those topics that we will debate over and over until the world ends! In a way it's like, depending on who has the most influential power to dictate the beauty standards, then that's what the right kind of beauty is. As soon as that person no longer holds the power, the right beauty changes and we go on and on.

    I can't be bothered with that. I can't even keep up with the weather let alone the beauty standards of today. I'd rather just dye my hair green ;)

    I've definitely reached an age where I'm very much 'to hell with this shit' - I have never felt so happy and beautiful since I made the choice to bleach my hair to white and move abroad. Granted it was minimal at the start and the ratio of good days to bad days has slowly improved over the last three years. I just wish I had reached that age a lot sooner!

    I'm quite sure I'm not everyone's cup of tea, but as long as I'm my own cup of tea, I don't really care :)

    You'll always be my cuppa tea!

    1. Ah but you are gorgeous ;) ah whit woo and all that!

      It'll always be one of those topics that no one agrees on but I'd love for people just to be accepting of others regardless of how they look. I don't get why people think there is a specific type of beauty and try to conform to it but we've all done it at one point or another.

      Debi x

  2. You're right, it's so subjective and in that way it feels like a battle noone will ever win - which makes me sad.
    Also, and I 100% mean to be all hippy dippy about this, beauty is all on the inside and what shows up on the outside is a reflection of that so that's the bit we should work on, the bit we can change.
    M x

    1. As I said, I just wish there was an acceptance in individuality and an understanding that we are all beautiful in our own way. I completely agree about beauty coming from within. I think someone who is a good, nice person is immediately ten times more attractive that someone who is gorgeous on the outside but a bit of a dick inside. We should definitely try to be beautiful on the inside first and foremost.
      Debi x


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