- Politics and Social Issues
The Concept of Beauty in Different Culture : Culture and Beauty
What is Beautiful? Who is beautiful ?The concept of beauty and culture
Is Beauty really in the eye of the beholder?
So, what is beautiful? Who is beautiful? Clearly when you ask a group of men, students and women from different walks of life who they think is beautiful, wouldn’t you agree with me that they will tell you different names and they have different concept of beauty? Of course we have different preferences because we grow up in different times, culture , values and perceptions. We all have different take about what constitutes beauty.
Are there women who are naturally beautiful? Why are South American women always winning in the Miss Universe pageant? People who watched Ms Universe beauty pageant would expect a tall, slim with long hair woman to win in the pageant. The concept of beauty is evolving, whereas before a woman with big bosom is considered beautiful because it is related to their child rearing tendencies. however at present time the general notion of beauty is for you to be slim, tall, etc.
Why is tanning in demand nowadays? Why would all people like to become brown? And why do brown people would like to become white? Why do most white men prefer brown skinned women? And why do most brown skinned women prefer white men? Some people have preferences that is why, but media is also influencing the way people define what is beautiful. The cosmetics industry is a flourishing one and still growing specially. There is also growing market for enhancements purposes.
The power of media and the arts in influencing the concept of beauty is beyond question. The movie industry perpetuates the Hollywood type/kind of beauties. Cosmetic industries would popularize models who look like stick, and the motto THIN is IN thing.
There is a concept in cultural studies about cultural relativism and ethnocentrism.
First, I would like to say something about culture. Culture is defined simply as a way of life, or how the people do things, how they eat, how do they celebrate festivities, behavior, attitudes, moral values, religion. Culture refers to the cumulative deposit of knowledge, experience, beliefs, values, attitudes, meanings, hierarchies, religion, notions of time, roles, spatial relations, concepts of the universe, and material objects and possessions acquired by a group of people in the course of generations through individual and group striving. Culture is the systems of knowledge shared by a relatively large group of people. (www.tamu.edu/classes/cosc/choudhury/culture.html)
The concept of beauty is related to the prevailing culture which is perpetrated by print or visual media. Women would like to enhance their breasts and undergo cosmetic surgery because there is an obsession to it. Women would like to attract men for survival (to have a share in men’s resources for them and their children). This is still true until now.
Meanwhile, people in different parts of the world has different concept of beauty.
People will tend to look at their own people in their culture as beautiful because people in different cultures tend to have different notion of beauty. In some African countries, a big body and big buttocks would be considered beautiful for women. In western countries, there is a tendency for women to starve to comply to the notion of what's beautiful (thin or slim). So judging others by ones set of concept is wrong. I will try to introduce the concept of cultural ethnocentrism and relativism. Most of us are guilty of being an ethnocentric.
Ethnocentrism is the belief that one's own culture is superior to that of other cultures. You are ethnocentric if you despise other peoples culture and you judge their actions by your standard, in this sense beauty.
Different cultural groups think, feel, and act differently. There is no scientific standards for considering one group as intrinsically superior or inferior to another. Studying differences in culture among groups and societies presupposes a position of cultural relativism. It does not imply normalcy for oneself, nor for one's society. It, however, calls for judgment when dealing with groups or societies different from one's own. Information about the nature of cultural differences between societies, their roots, and their consequences should precede judgment and action. Negotiation is more likely to succeed when the parties concerned understand the reasons for the differences in viewpoints. (http://www.tamu.edu/classes/cosc/choudhury/culture.html)
So, is beauty really in the eye of the beholder? Of course yes.
For me, all women are beautiful, aside from physical appearance, all we need to do is to look at their hearts (what’s inside a woman’s heart), and what they are doing to care for the children, household and the world. Beauty emanates from the glow a woman shows every time she accomplishes her objective. If we look at women this way, then we will appreciate our sister, mother or girlfriend/wife more than ever.