Beauty is a very abstract and emotional feeling, often difficult to define. Beauty is often defined as a subjective quality of objects which makes these objects enjoyable to see. These objects may include nature, humans, landscapes and artistic works of art. Beauty, along with beauty, is often the basis of aesthetic, one of the largest branches of modern philosophy.
In the early part of the twentieth century, aesthetic beauty became associated with fashionable forms of dress, art and architecture. In particular, the classical theories of beauty developed in the nineteenth century, focusing on the visual beauty of objects. However, with the coming of photography, the role of beauty in society declined, as photography tended to take the place of aesthetic beauty, rather than replacing it. The twentieth century saw the rise of a new concept, wherein beauty was seen to be an objective quality of an object.
We tend to look for the definition of beauty in terms of what we see when looking at something beautiful. Looking at a piece of work of art, a painting or a photograph may give us some idea about the appearance of that object. What we are not always aware of, however, is what exactly constitutes beauty. Is the object itself, or is it the way the object is constructed or the way the eye sees it? What about proportion, color and the like? All these aspects may concern us at some point, but they certainly do not tell us the exact definition of beauty.
Beauty beliefs are based on aesthetic appreciation, rather than scientific criteria. Beauty beliefs are most common in Western cultures, where nearly all of the population believes that beauty is something inherent in objects and that there are certain standards by which they must be judged. People who subscribe to this belief often look to objects to define themselves and their relationships with others. Those who do not share this belief may instead search out the beauty in nature and in their own minds.
Beauty beliefs can also be found in our own cultures and societies. People in these societies may believe that beautiful objects are representative of social and cultural norms. For instance, in parts of Asia, it is considered improper for a woman to wear revealing clothing or jewelry. Similarly, the West may insist that beautiful women are thin and/or dark-skinned. While these beauty ideals are generally not consciously held by most people, they are generally present in the social relationships of those cultures and nations.
For those who do find beauty beliefs and ideals agreeable, it is important to note that these ideals and beliefs are not absolutes. These truths may vary from culture to culture and from time to time even within a given country. Beauty in the face of a person, for instance, may differ drastically from the beauty ideals of another. Beauty beliefs, as any one can tell you, are nothing more than personal opinions. The fact is that everyone possesses a unique set of personal beliefs about beauty which may be different than those held by other people.