Studying in Oxford and seeing museums with figures from around the world opened my eyes to how unique beauty is to each culture. For centuries, ancient peoples saw rounder bodies as gorgeous signs of childbirth and new life. Being as pale as possible used to be ideal to show that one did not work outside but had wealth. Now I have come to realize that others regard my pale skin as gross because one should be tanned.
All of the different ways that people think of beauty is fascinating to me. It is interesting how we feel the pressure of the society that we are in instead of thinking of how our appearance would be seen as lovely in another part of the world or another era. Of course, it would make sense that we would want to be accepted where we are currently residing. However, maybe we should take more time to realize how subjective appearance is and how standards vary everywhere you go.
So what does beauty mean to you? Do you agree with how your culture see it? Is there a different part of the world that you agree with more?
I see beauty in everyone who I meet. PTSD sometimes gets in my way, but normally this task brings me great joy in the world. Just the fact that we have life is beautiful. We wake up each morning and survive each day. Someone gave birth to us and brought us into the world. Each step we take, each move we make, everything we do is a bit of a miracle. That to me is beautiful.
When I see someone’s eyes gleaming with joy or look at the freckles strewn across a child’s cheeks, that is beauty. Black, coarse, curly hair that is braided is just as lovely as soft, golden hair bleached by the sun. Someone with a warm, curved body looks just as pretty as someone with a toned, athletic body or delicate, petite body. But most of all, I love seeing the smiles all across the bodies of people. When you are truly joyful, every part of you radiates that smile. This can be quiet, hyper, caring, overwhelmed, silly, or serious but still has pure happiness. Eyes glitter, mouth expands, hands jitter, feet bounce, belly shakes – all of that is the most beautiful of all.
That joy, I believe, would be admired by every culture.