Time and time again, people have created photo projects of people being told they’re beautiful. Truthfully, I’m bored to death of this.
What if instead of placing emphasis on appearance we thought about people’s quirky mannerisms, dirty laughs and other odd attributes . That is exactly what we did, revealing to a group of strangers messages from their loved ones; explaining just why it is that they appreciate them.
As you can imagine, their friends weren’t going crazy for their fantastic faces or sets of steel abs. Alternatively, appreciating characteristics like their zest for life or their fascination to learn.
Moving away from home to University is odd. In my experience, I went from a small town where everyone looks like they’re photocopied straight from a Topshop Catalogue to a huge City. In Bristol, people more closely resemble the Tweenies. Since swapping Joni Jeans for Dickies, I’ve been questioning more than ever my own ideas of attractiveness, and what being beautiful really means.
Whether we do so consciously or not, the varying height on which we place beauty ideals in respect to our own lives is interesting. What are your ideas of standardised beauty? What ticks your boxes?
The origin story of the word beautiful is extensive, transcending all geographical and linguistic barriers. However, in almost all cultures it is a term solely reserved for women.
Why is this? Is it because our existence is valued more on the basis of our exterior?
The definition of standardised beauty ideals has changed through time, from the unibrowed women of ancient Greece to the porcelain coloured skin and accentuated foreheads of the Georgian era.
The digital era presents its own handful of new expectations. A recognisable theme throughout all these periods, is the lengths in which a lot of women feel they need to go to in order to visually appease and satisfy.
We’ve moved from scrawling charcoal across our eyes and putting leeches on our cheeks to achieve the perfect rouge to putting jelly tot looking blobs into our bodies so we’ve got the perfect boobs.
Who are the people you choose to have in your life? The ones that make you laugh till you’re in pain, the ones that remember how you like your coffee or the ones that you just look good in photos with.
Appreciating appearance isn’t worth nothing, it’s just not everything.
In the end, looks fade and what are we left with? I’m trying to place higher value on the things that take a little digging to find, in others and especially in myself.