Beauty in Society

Beauty is a word that can mean many different things to many different people. To some it means physical attractiveness, which includes physical attributes like hair and skin tones. To others, beauty is defined as subjective quality, the emotional response one gets when looking at certain objects. This view is different from beauty in that the reaction one gets is not always tangible. Thus, beauty is also commonly defined as a subjective aspect of human objects which makes these objects pleasant to see.

Such objects come under aesthetics, one of the larger branches of psychology. The branch itself traces its origins to aesthetic theory, the branch which says that “aesthetic taste is the only possible psychological foundation for the appreciation of beauty.” This means that all other theories of beauty are false. Aesthetics thus argue that beauty is a subjective feeling, an emotional reaction that is based on the thinker’s assessment of beauty in terms of how it relates to their particular culture. According to some philosophers, beauty exists independent of all culture, and each culture has its own definition of beauty.

Modern theories about beauty also stress the importance of beauty within the self. The idea is that human beauty is subjective, and only through the self can one really know what beauty is. In this way, beauty becomes not just a passive sense, but an active one as it is reflected in the self. As such, beauty is not merely a matter of physical appearance, but can also be related to personal power and accomplishment.