I’ve recently done a bit of research into the topic of beauty and the question just came across my mind, are we talking about physical beauty or another sort of beauty. When I typed “what is beauty” in google search most of the articles that came out were about physical beauty so I suppose this is what I will get into focus on.
During my last TOK session, my class discussed and watched some videos about beauty and two claims came out. Beauty is a result of cultural conditioning, and beauty as something written in our biology. For me beauty is something more biological in nature after going through some articles about beauty. For a long time in my life whenever someone would say “beauty is in the eye of the beholder” I would respond with something like “yeah that may be true, but physical attractiveness isn’t.” An article I came across said that even the standards we set right now are based on some biological thing. Big breasts and a big buttocks indicate health because underfed women would have to use those fats for energy. Men with more muscles are more attractive because more muscles would of course mean more capabilities and survival chances. A big waistline is also said to be a sign of unhealthiness. So we see these people as more “proper” mates essential for survival according to the article. We could also say that there are some universal standards, and an example would be the Miss Universe Pageant with the 90-60-90 measurements or something.
Of course the arguments of those that believe in cultural conditioning are also quite strong. Some african tribes have very strange beauty standards like an abnormally long neck or abnormally wide lips (which are kind of disgusting to look at) and yet they find these beautiful. This would of course be something sort of extreme already.