A QUESTION OF BEAUTY

Back to  Mind  |  Body  |  Spirit

by | Sep 6, 2021 | Beautiful You

 

Hello Beautiful Lady

 

Beauty is an enigma. It means different things to varying cultures around the world. A Question of Beauty is an age-old one. In this post let’s try to define it and look at ways we can enhance our own so we feel comfortable in our own skin

 

A Question Of Beauty – What Is It?

This is a really difficult question to answer as beauty isn’t just what a person looks like. There are two kinds of beauty in humans:

Physical – how we appear to others. Our proportions, facial bone structure, what we wear, how we walk, talk, style our hair, wear makeup.

Inner – this can be ethereal and intangible. It’s how we relate to others, our empathy, joy, inner light, elegance, personality, integrity. These traits are not immediately identified as beauty but they’re just as compelling.

 

We Are Drawn to Physical Beauty

In our Western society, we tend to define beauty as something we see. We are drawn immediately to the physical aspects of beauty.

Whilst a perfectly symmetrical face doesn’t actually exist, the combination of bone structure and tissue density can determine whether a person will be very photogenic. So when we see photos of a model, we instantly see beauty.

However, it’s not uncommon that someone who looks beautiful when photographed won’t turn heads in the street. Odd but true.

Actually, it can be very disconcerting as a person may look quite average (like most of us) but when seen through a camera lens they their facial bone structure and characteristics that are immediately enhanced by the camera.

I’m not talking about the enhancements made using Photoshop. Photographers say it’s how the light ‘plays’ on the bone structure.

This is what they look for and how young models are discovered walking on the beach or working in convenience stores. They possess that quality.

As humans we are predisposed to appreciate physical beauty.

Beauty Concept-Portrait of handsome young smiling man with cropped beard in white T-shirt looking at camera

Ok…yes! he’s way too young for me, but no harm in looking right?

The fact that it’s pleasurable to look at people, both men and women who fit this profile, whether it’s in a sexual context, or just shear appreciation, seems to be hardwired into us.

 

Beauty Is In The Eye Of The Beholder

Around the world, beauty is considered quite differently to our western cultures. The term ‘Beauty Is In The Eye Of The Beholder’ means that beauty is subjective depending on so many aspects like what culture, race, context.

Everyone’s perception of beauty is different.

Where our western societal norms may consider perky or full symmetrical breasts to be desirable, other cultures such as in Africa, consider ankles to be incredibly sexy and breasts are only viewed as a means to feed infants.

In Middle Eastern cultures, a woman’s hair is so alluring that viewing it is reserved for her husband and other immediate family members, lest it inspire desire in other men.

Beauty - Arabic woman wearing colorful hijab with beautiful eye makeup

To my mind, the hijab (head covering) draws my focus to the eyes, which if I were a man, I would find just as alluring as her hair…and Middle Eastern women know how to apply stunning eye makeup to showcase them.

Actually, let me qualify that…as a woman I do find it alluring as I appreciate all beauty. We are all predisposed to notice and react to it.

Here are some examples:

Masai women in Africa have extended earlobes which they draw attention to with brightly colored beaded earrings. Their lobes are stretched deliberately over a period of time by using increasingly larger pieces of stone or bone.

Masai woman with traditional elongated earlobes & ornaments Tanzania.

Asian women will go to great lengths to keep from getting any sun tanning on their skin, particularly their face. The paler the skin, the more desirable as it signifies a higher status in society.

I used to see Asian ladies using an umbrella in Australia. (Not such a stupid idea in our intense sun).

The darker their skin, the more likely they are to be considered part of an ethnic minority which is sadly not attractive to most men. This attitude is common in many countries where there are indigenous minority groups.

It often signifies poverty and low social standing so women don’t want to be mistaken for belonging to these groups.

South Pacific women, and also in parts of South America and Africa consider the (barbaric to us) practice of skin scarification where the skin is deliberately cut in specific patterns so that keloid scars form.

This is not only considered beautiful, but also has tribal and breeding-readiness significance.

Thai women from ethnic hill tribes are considered to be beautiful by having elongated necks. Mothers begin adding rings to their daughter’s necks at a your age so that their necks slowly stretch.

By the time they are teenagers they will be attractive to men as a partner. The more rings and the longer the neck, the more attractive.

Long neck with neck rings woman in Northern Thailand smiling at camera with textiles hanging in background

Australian women often aim to be slim and tanned. I think it dates back to the ideal of the tanned, longhaired blond surfer-chick persona we all aimed for as teenagers. Even now I’m older, I prefer to have a mild tan rather than white skin.

This is very risky BTW…in Western Australia where I’m from, we have the highest skin cancer cases in the world as there is not much atmosphere above us protecting from the UV rays.

We also need to always wear sun glasses outdoors as the glare is very damaging for our eyes.

Kenyan women go to great lengths to lighten their skin…often with bleaching products that cause long-term issues due to the chemicals they contain. Once again, the lighter the skin the higher status, AND the better jobs they are likely to get!

Maori women in New Zealand (some, not all) have tattoos on their chins and lips known as Ta Moko. Each is different and signifies the woman’s social standing within her tribe and her family’s tribal affiliations.

Although it isn’t seen as often as in past years, it’s still an accepted part of New Zealand culture.

Close up portrait of a Maori woman with Ta Moko tattoo on chin

French women tend to be considered more attractive be being ‘Au Natural’. The less or no makeup the better. Just a savvy flair for wearing clothes that you or I may look plain in…but they seem to have that ‘je nais se quois’ – meaning it’s difficult to define!

South American women are often more curvy which the men love…and incredibly sensual even without trying. I envy them. Shake that shapely booty!

Such are the differences in perceptions of Beauty…it’s quite fascinating!

 

What Is Your Inner Beauty?

 

There is no definition of beauty, but when you can see someone’s spirit coming through, something unexplainable, that’s beautiful to me – Liv Tyler

There’s something that’s almost impossible to define. This isn’t always immediately obvious and isn’t related to what a person looks like. It’s intangible but just as attractive, and it has nothing to do with ethnicity, skin color, education level, religion, or political views.

This is inner beauty.

Maybe we define this as the soul. We say things like ‘they have a beautiful soul or heart’. You can’t help but find it compelling to be in the company of a person who finds positivity and joy in life. (related post)

These inspiring people always seem to view the glass as half-full instead of half-empty, and have compassion and empathy towards others, no matter what they look like or their circumstances.

Some people have an aura about them…and I don’t mean in a religious sense. They are just compelling and we feel good when we’re in their presence.

 

Recognition Of Beauty Is Innately Human

Not all beauty is related to how a human looks. We see beauty in many parts of life. Beauty is everywhere, nature, art, music, poetry, animals, children.

The ability to be moved by beauty in other forms is innately human and adds to the richness of our lives.

Senses play an enormous part in this.

We appreciate life via our sense of sight, smell, taste, touch, hearing and of course pheromones.

Animals also use all these senses but there’s no proof that they experience beauty in the same manner.

More likely their appreciation is related to survival and reproduction as evidenced by a female’s attraction to the most dominant or flamboyant male.

She just sees a strong, fit breeding partner who will pass on the best genes to her offspring.

Actually so do we when courting. We may not actually think that but, we still share the animal instincts for a suitable mate. However, our advanced brain also allows us to appreciate beauty for beauty’s sake, not just related to sexual drive or an ideal baby-daddy.

Animals are also likely experience a sense of calm and peace in a beautiful environment due to a feeling of safety, protection and maybe the enjoyment of warmth from sunlight…but are unlikely to experience the sensation the way humans do.

 

We Strive To Achieve Physical Beauty

While it’s admirable, inspiring and compelling to find beauty in other aspects of life, we are still innately drawn to achieving our own physical attractiveness.

Let’s face it, we look in the mirror every day. We see ourselves more often than others do, and probably more critically than others. We want to feel good about the person looking back at us.

Beauty concept- Attractive blond mature woman smiling at her image in a mirror

We can be internally driven to achieve beauty for numerous reasons:.

  • Attract a partner
  • Get a better job
  • Make more friends
  • Be admired by society
  • Feel good about our image
  • Enjoy the admiration of others

There is nothing wrong with aspiring to beauty for any of these reasons. It’s natural…hard-wired even. It’s part of our human society and trying to wish it away with philosophy won’t change anything. It’s here to stay.

 

Beauty And The Fear Of Aging

This affects both men and women. We all panic about how our appearance changes as we get older. Maybe we start thinking of cosmetic surgery, Botox, fillers, and splashing out on expensive cosmetics.

Once again, perfectly natural. We want to maintain our youth. It hurts to feel our beauty is fading. It’s an everyday reminder that we are aging and that we don’t have as many years left as before.

I remember my mom saying, “I’d like to be 40 years younger but still knowing what I know now!”

Wouldn’t that be wonderful…be young again but with all your life-experience still available to you.

Yeah…maybe only in Sci-Fi movies but nothing wrong with dreaming.

 

Can We Slow The Aging Clock?

What can you do to slow the clock? Should you even try?

If you’re anything like me, these questions have become much more pressing now that I am showing my age. I don’t like it…it doesn’t fit with how I feel on the inside. I’m sure you can identify with this.

Questions like:

  • Should I choose a range of skincare for my older skin?
  • Do these cosmetics work as well as advertised?
  • Which is best, the more expensive or cheap drugstore versions?
  • Should I consider some cosmetic surgery, and to what extent.
  • What is the likely cost and what are the risks?

 

Honestly, I’ve met amazing women who don’t care about how they look as they age. I admire and applaud them!

They are totally immersed in living and not at all interested in changing any routine or fussing with their appearance.

That’s not to say they are scruffy, totally bohemian with hairy legs and arm pits, body odor and weird clothing combinations (and yes, I have met these women…and each to their own!)

No…what I mean is…

Those women who have made the decision to age naturally and just go with the flow of age…no surgery, special creams, or treatments for them.

Sadly, I’m not one of them.

I’m being totally honest when I say that even though I have an interesting and many would say even exciting life, I still fuss about my aging appearance.

Stop Aging Clock concept - Hourglass laying on its side with pink background

I make no apology for it. I would like to stop the aging clock.

I don’t see it as trying to recapture my youth.

My adult years have been much too interesting to do that. But cheating age appeals to me (related post). I’m having too much fun to either get physically sick, or give-in to an aging appearance if I can control it.

This change in my life perspective has also led me to take care of my depression and anxiety that I suffered from for years.

 

Ways To Feel In Control Of Your Appearance

Now I intend to make the most of life in every form. I feel like I’m reborn in some strange way. (related post)

I also totally understand if you don’t all agree with me. I’m certain there will be ladies who read this and feel I’m being unrealistic and vain.

And that’s ok.

We’re all different and our life-experiences have been different, meaning our personal motivations will be different.

But I can’t help wondering if deep down, you actually like the idea but don’t want to admit it to yourself.

This  ‘Beautiful You’ category is dedicated to all things related to what we can do to look younger and feel fabulous. I’ll discuss the pros and cons of treatments, creams, potions and yes, even the merits of surgery.

Jar of Natural skin cream. Pink almond blossoms and moisturizing cream on wooden board

We are all individual with different opinions. I’ll present the options in a non-judgmental way…then you decide. It’s your life to live however you choose and no other person’s place to judge you.

I’ll give recommendations about the best natural, eco-friendly and animal-friendly skincare that’s specifically formulated for our over 50’s skin.

Also, I’ll give you information on surgical procedures available, likely costs and more importantly, the possible risks. What you choose to do with the information is your personal choice.

 

Conclusion

I hope you enjoyed this post.

My aim is to try to clarify what beauty is, why it’s considered different around the world and touch on what you can do to slow that pesky aging clock…at least for your appearance.

In the next post, I’ll tell you about why looking after your skin is super important, and what nasty chemicals to look out for when buying cosmetics and skincare.

As always, I look forward to your comments

 

 

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Hi, I'm Amanda

My passion is helping 50+ women live their best life possible and follow their dreams.

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