‘Beauty is in the eye of the beholder’, a phrase coined in 1878 by Margaret Wolfe Hungerford. It’s an innocuous quote, as it stands, however, I dare say we have bastardized it to the point that we are hurting ourselves, and our morals; the very fiber of who we are a society.
This is not my typical blog post, and for that I seek your forgiveness, however, as of late, things have really touched me to the deepest core of my ‘sociological’ self. The news, and our everyday media, is laden with stories and images that portray ‘beauty’ and I simply ask the next time you view something as beautiful consider not only ‘the why’, but ‘the how’.
It is ‘the how’ that most concerns me. ‘The how’ is the process that folks knowingly forge ahead, and act upon, as they seek ‘beauty’. A tiny waist, a tan visage, a most perfect tomato, a horse with a winning gait; all beautiful, right? Sure, on the surface all those things are coveted by our culture, they have become our very definition of ‘beauty. However, I ask you to take a step back and consider ‘the how’; how did that woman, or man, achieve that most ‘perfect’ size body? What lengths did one go through to tan their ‘hide’? Why does that tomato look as though painted by Rembrandt not by nature’s paintbrush? How is it that the beautiful Tennessee Walking Horse, with those most trusting eyes and strong stature, presents with a gait that may well never have be seen had it not have been ‘trained’?
‘The why’ is so engrained in us as a culture, we’ve worked centuries to get to our most refined, narrow definition of beauty. Yes…consider that a tiny waist is a sign of malnourishment and weakness in many a culture (as it was ours not too long ago), and a tan face is seen as weathered and worn…a perfect tomato is seen as suspect because everyone knows that fruit borne of natural means, just like people, suffer some blemish and a horses gait, oh, those beautiful and kind creatures, they were not meant to walk, work or be treated as they are simply for us to look upon them and judge them within the scope of what we define as beautiful. Now, mind you, there are those that present and uphold our standard of ‘beauty’, naturally, and for that I give no condemnation, it is for the others, those that have to work too hard, do things unnatural, inhumane, or simply amoral, that I beg the questions of, ‘why?’
Rethink beauty, redefine your standards, reset your internal compass and consider beauty in a more natural form. Allow for blemishes, allow of deviation from our current set of norms, give each other, yourself, all creatures and nature a break and consider ‘the how’ when you assign your stamp of beauty. For this, you will not only find life a bit easier, but in fact, a lot more beautiful.