The Importance of Beauty


The British Isles have always associated beauty with pleasure. The eighteenth century was no exception. Empirical philosophers like Locke and Huxley began to separate beauty into its primary and secondary qualities. Color, for example, was treated as a phantasm of the mind, not an objective source of beauty. In contrast, the English poet William Wordsworth claimed that beauty can be found in nature and in art. Regardless of whether or not it is true, the importance of beauty can be attributed to the ‘complexity’ of the object, not the ‘immediate’ quality.

As the twentieth century progressed, beauty began to lose its role as the dominant goal of the arts. It became a less serious and urgent goal for artists, and political and economic associations discredited the concept of beauty. Ultimately, these associations weakened the status of art as a powerful tool for political and social justice. In the 1980s, artists and philosophers once again focused their attention on the political aspects of beauty. This new interest in beauty gave rise to a number of political and aesthetic issues that were neglected by early twentieth-century philosophy.

Beauty is a powerful aspect of power. Being beautiful can increase your power in certain settings, while being regarded as unattractive can have tangible consequences. In other words, beauty is a facet of power. Being deemed attractive can lead to a multitude of tangible consequences. This means it’s imperative to be confident in the way you look and express yourself. And while the aforementioned methods can be helpful, they are not a substitute for real empowerment.