Beauty – An Essential Part of Individualism

Beauty is commonly defined as the aesthetic quality of certain objects, which makes these objects aesthetically pleasing to perceive. Such objects can be sunsets, landscapes, art and humans. Beauty, along with aesthetic taste and knowledge, is the most significant part of aesthetics, among the major branches of aesthetic philosophy. The word ‘Beauty’ has several meanings in different contexts.

For most of the twentieth century beauty has been equated with the beauty found in nature. However, for a more contemporary era it has also been used to refer to the aesthetic quality of a culture, as in the statement ‘Culture is beauty.’ A second usage is ‘identity beauty,’ which relates beauty to the identity of a person or group, as in ‘acial identity beauty.’ Finally, the most common usage in the twentieth century is ‘normative beauty,’ which relates beauty to the standard of beauty recognized in everyday life. These definitions are not mutually exclusive; on the one hand beauty may be according to a particular type of aesthetic knowledge and on the other beauty may be based on the shared experience of many different types of aesthetic knowledge.

While all of these definitions are important to beauty, for many people (and, arguably, most people) they are not clear. This is because beauty is often discussed in relation to others. In fact, beauty is one of the most widely seen aspects of interpersonal interaction. It is particularly significant for people to feel beautiful in the eyes of another. As such, when one another feels beautiful it can have significant psychological and emotional consequences.