Historically, beauty has been defined by several criteria. These include physical features, gender, race, and popular culture. Each of these factors has been subject to change over time. As a result, the standards of beauty have changed.
Ancient Greeks believed that beauty consisted of proportion, symmetry, and a harmonious whole. They also noted that beauty was not just a visual experience. They saw beauty as a form of spirit, as well. Their architecture was based on symmetry.
The Romans took up where the Greeks left off. Art teacher Antoine Mengs scrutinized Greek statues and devised a complicated formula to duplicate Greek beauty. His formula was a combination of the chin, the size of the eyes, the space between the eyes, and the hairline at the brow.
Renaissance artists like Sandro Botticelli, Raphael, and Leonardo painted many different faces. These paintings convey a sense of mystery, maternal tenderness, and a delicacy. Their Madonnas, for example, seem fragile yet destructable.
The Elizabethan era had an ideal for beauty. Elegant women mimicked Queen Elizabeth I’s facial features. They wore black velvet masks over their faces. Their teeth were powdered with crushed fruit peel and honey. They kept their mouths closed, knowing that rotting teeth were unattractive.
In the Victorian era, tiny rosebud lips were deemed the quintessential element of beauty. Upper class women replaced their eyebrows with fur or tinted their gray hair. Aside from this, they used thick layers of cosmetics to make their faces more beautiful. They sold potions at home and at fairs.
In the 18th century, beauty marks were used to hide smallpox scars. In the 1960s, the counterculture favored an androgynous look, and women were encouraged to wear makeup and decorations to accentuate their feminine looks. The punk look was a minority standard, characteristic of a disenchanted youth.
Today, good health is a key factor in beauty. A recent study found that people who are considered beautiful tend to be healthier than those who are not. While experts tend to agree on the criteria for determining beauty, it is the subjective aspect of the concept that makes it complex.
Various cultures have defined the body mass index differently. In addition to varying across cultures, it has also changed over time. It is important to note that while the average waist to hip ratio has remained relatively constant over time, the body mass index has fluctuated significantly.
In today’s society, the standards for beauty are constantly changing. Social media has played an integral role in defining beauty and influencing the way we perceive it. The standards of beauty have been driven by politics and fashion as well. As a result, the decision about who should be considered beautiful depends on class. In fact, beauty is a powerful facet of power. It can give individuals more power in certain settings, such as the courtroom.
Regardless of the context, beauty provides perceptual experience to the aesthetic, moral, and cognitive faculties. The perception of beauty is dynamic, and it can vary depending on the context, society, or historical period.