Beauty. What does it mean? Putting on makeup? Applying skincare routinely? Catching the eyes of strangers? Beauty can be interpreted in so many ways. But for some reason when many hear the word beauty they immediately go to the physical aspects. Beauty can be considered shallow or indulgent. The word beauty leads to thoughts of department store aisles, models, and maybe even for some, Beauty and The Beast.
But Webster defines beauty as… the quality or aggregate of qualities in a person or thing that gives pleasure to the senses or pleasurably exalts the mind or spirit. Beauty is more than what is on the surface. It refers to qualities both internal and external.
This made me curious about how individual women thought of beauty. From a societal level, you can obviously infer that the public loves beautiful people and beautiful things, yet they also seem so critical of those that put effort into their appearance. But in our everyday lives what do women think beauty actually means?
I was intrigued by the idea that some women may think of beauty as solely external. And others I expected to elaborate on a more personal definition. I didn’t know if a woman’s age, race, or social status would alter her opinions. To properly delve into this idea, I asked some women from different cultures, backgrounds, and ages to weigh in. But the outcome was even better than I hypothesized.
I asked these women to explain what beauty means to them in one sentence or less.
(These quotes will remain anonymous out of respect for the women’s privacy)
1 – “Beauty means feeling comfortable in your own skin and appreciating your imperfections.”
2 – “Beauty means feeling good about yourself, whether it is because of makeup or nice clothes or exercising, it is having confidence in yourself.”
3 – “Confidence.”
4 – “Beauty is power.”
5 – “Beauty is a means of empowering yourself.”
Surprisingly for the most part, these women all focused on the self-love aspect of beauty: saying what makes someone beautiful is confidence, finding strength in flaws, and feeling good gives a power to beauty. If you have that power and harness your beauty through confidence, it will be visible to everyone around you, and you, yourself, will feel the difference (which is the most important aspect).
I found it wildly refreshing to know that women in my life view beauty as a means to having pride in one’s self. And I’m no statistician, but if the majority of women in my life share this perspective, I’m guessing at least a few in your life do as well. And if they don’t, I hope this will be food for thoughts.
It seems that beauty is a mindset. You can feel like a queen, feel powerful, strong, and beautiful, through appreciating yourself, both your favorite and least favorite parts. Of course having that confidence is not always easy, as a matter of fact, it can be tremendously hard, especially when our society focuses so much on physical beauty. Acne issues, weight struggles, and hundreds of more problems women carry with them everyday affect our beauty.
But the important thing to remember in the context of this article is that whatever you need to do to gain that confidence is your choice. If you want to put on makeup to cover acne or wear certain clothes to feel more comfortable then do it. You can appreciate and love your curves, imperfections, and everything you and the world are critical of whilst still making choices that adds to your confidence. That is what gives beauty a feminist power. Making the decision to cover up a spot or darken your roots, is your right to beauty as a woman. Play up your look or tone it down, either way it is beautiful.
But as you go through these evolutions, don’t forget to take the time to look inwards and assess the whys of your struggles with beauty, pinpoint the pains, and rationalize them. This will help you navigate life a bit better.
Photo via BGLH Marketplace
As Zendaya said, ugly doesn’t exist. Loving yourself is what makes you beautiful. For some, it may seem easy for someone so striking to make this sort of claim. But everyone has their personal struggles and we don’t always know what they are. The idea that ugly just like beauty is a state of mind, is a healthy thought. Whether it comes from someone conventionally beautiful or not, this is a quote that goes great lengths with women all over the world.
Deep down I believe we all know the power that beauty has as a means to confidence. But on a day-to-day basis, we tend to forget. It is so easy to fall into the trap of beauty standards with social media, photoshopped ads, and more, but if we can continue to remind ourselves what beauty really means to us and not how it is seen in the public eye, perhaps we can gain that confidence and self-empowerment to consider ourselves and everyone else beautiful.
Where do you stand on what beauty means? How would you define this all encompassing word? Let us know in a comment below or on our social media… We would love to know and continue the conversation