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The Judgement Of Beauty Essay

1585 words - 7 pages

The Judgement of Beauty

The judgments of beauty are universally consistent and biologically based, not influenced by culture and individual history. Argue for or against this statement using what you have learned from the course to support your point of view. You may use one or more examples from outside readings to illustrate your points.

“Beauty”, as defined in the Oxford Dictionary (2015), is a collection of pleasant qualities, especially those increase the attractiveness of a person or an object. It can be categorized into two different kinds: external beauty and inner beauty (Panek, 2011). External beauty mainly focuses on appearance and body shape (Etcoff, 1999), while inner ...view middle of the document...

(Klingerman, 2006) These practices were neither performed in other regions at the same period of time nor in modern society. This reflects that judgements of beauty varies across culture and time. Variations in standard of beauty can also be found in modern society. In the Western culture, skinny women are considered as attractive. However, skinny bodies are regarded as in need of costly treatment in Zambia. While plump-shaped bodies represent affluence, thus are more appreciated. (Visser, 2013) Difference in symbol of wealth leads to difference in judgement of beauty. This clearly shows that even in the same era, preference of beauty can still differ from culture to culture. These evidences can prove that the standards of beauty are inconsistent and differ across various cultures.
Some believe the presence of a universal standard of health and wealth in standard of beauty. Sociobiologist Symons (as cited in Jackson, 1992) convinced that there exists a consistent biological standard of beauty of facial attractiveness. Facial characteristics that represent healthiness and youth were bonded with beauty because of their association with fertility (as cited in Jackson, 1992). Moreover, opposite preferences of body figure in both Western countries and Zambia are in fact based on pursuit of a symbol of wealth. (Visser, 2013) This might be true but still, diversity occurs when comparison is made among various culture. For example, skin colors illustrating health vary among races (Bernstein, Lin & McClelland, 1982). Black teeth represent healthiness in ancient Japan (Meghan, 2014), which contradict sharply with the modern standard of white teeth (Höfel L, Lange M & Jacobsen T, 2007). Therefore, even though judgements might be made based on universal criteria, variations still exist in characteristics preferred.

Besides cultural influence, one’s individual history could cause impacts on his or her judgement of beauty. According to the Oxford Dictionary (2015), “individual” refers to a single person and “history” refers to the series of past events which are related to either him or her (Oxford Dictionary, 2015). Therefore, individual history could be defined as a series of past event, including education, family and friends and community of a particular person. Differences in individual history between people result in differences in the standard of beauty. This effect is revealed at childhood, when a child is developing his own judgmental power, including that of beauty. According to the social learning theory raised by N. E. Miller and J. Dollard in 1941, children acquire knowledge through observation and imitation of others’ actions (Miller & Dollard, 1945). Children would practice actions they have observed and examine reactions of people surrounding. Hence, observation provides an individual the major source of internal adjustment in order to develop and maintain consistent attitudes with the surrounding. This could be applied in the case of...

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