Some say that beauty is in the eye of the beholder. And I believe there’s some truth to that. Your wife may be the most beautiful woman in the world to you, but to another man, she is just one of billions of women living on this earth. To the outdoor enthusiast, jagged mountain peaks, cascading waterfalls, and teeming wildlife are beautiful to see. For the urbanite, sheer skyscrapers, innumerable neon lights, and masses of people are beautiful to see. And for others, there may be beauty in certain parts of each life. Regardless, beauty is difficult to measure. It’s hard to define.
Is beauty just a cultural concept? For the West, beauty is wearing a bikini in the summer without feeling insecure. It is getting bronzed skin through natural or artificial means. It is spiking a volleyball in a game and flirting with the boys. For the East, beauty is holding a parasol in mid-July. It is having pearly, lustrous skin without needing artificial enhancements. It is cheering for your friends at a basketball game and smiling at the boys.
Or is it an artistic construct? The song that rends your heart or empowers you to fight another day. The story that beckons you into its world and its characters, leaving you changed for the better. The painting that reawakens dormant childhood memories. The movie that freezes time and grips your soul. Those who have mastered art have brought much beauty into this life.
Perhaps it’s an unreachable ideal. For every man, there is the ideal beauty. But often we don’t realize it’s an impossibly perfect beauty without flaw or blemish. We construct a fantasy world rather than living in reality. Some days are beautiful, but none are flawless. A sunrise may get close, and a fresh breeze on a sultry day might help, but it’s not the perfect day. A picture may almost capture the perfect moment, but it is never what the eye sees. It cannot be that beautiful.
Is it quantifiable? Joining a beauty pageant assumes you have natural beauty, does it not? Or perhaps being told you are beautiful means it must be so. A career in modeling must suggest attractiveness. And those who entertain us must have a certain degree of beauty. Why else would producers let them entertain audiences of millions?
It’s funny, though. The world’s so fixated on beauty, but often it can’t even tell us what it is. It tells us what it thinks it is, but it doesn’t know itself. Maybe some day I’ll be able to define it. One thing I do know is that beauty is not just the outer shell because there’s a core too. A beautiful woman is certainly desirable, but if she lacks moral character and integrity, then her beauty will soon fade. A woman who cares for others more than herself and honors her family far outranks the world’s most desirable women.
To some extent, beauty is in the eye of the beholder. We all have our own ideas of what beauty is from our culture, upbringing, and personal tastes. But I believe that whether we are rich or poor, young or old, rural or urban, we all recognize a woman with beautiful character. And that is where real beauty resides.