musings on life, love and laughter from my spoken heart to yours

Beauty: in the Eye of the Bolder?


This morning as I read one of my blog subscriptions: Deep Thinkings, Friday Question: What is Authentic Art? I started thinking. As with art beauty is a deeply personal concept, perceived and defined differently by each individual. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, yes? Well this thought would not leave my head and kept growing.

Who are we to judge one another, and to weigh what is considered beautiful or ugly? Why are we so hard on one another? Why are we so hard on ourselves? Who sculpts our minds, creates our perceptions? What is beauty? What is beauty? Really… what is it?

In 2011, Dove® released the findings of its largest global study to date on women’s relationship with beauty—The Real Truth About Beauty: Revisited. The study revealed that only 4% of women around the world consider themselves beautiful, and that anxiety about looks begins at an early age. In a study of over 1,200 10-to-17-year-olds, a majority of girls, 72%, said they felt tremendous pressure to be beautiful. The study also found that only 11% of girls around the world feel comfortable using the word beautiful to describe their looks, showing that there is a universal increase in beauty pressure and a decrease in girls’ confidence as they grow older…

Now I do not actually use a lot of Dove products and am in no way promoting any specific brand… I also want to state however, that I appreciate the direction Dove has gone with its advertising and wish more companies would follow suit. Promotion of all ages, sizes, colourings – hair, skin, etc. is important because they are all beautiful in their own ways. I also have to state that I find Dove’s reported statistics sad and troubling; I have to wonder why girls, and women, do not think they are beautiful. Why do we feel so much pressure to obtain an immeasurable thing? Even resorting to surgeries in order to obtain what we feel we do not have? And who says we don’t have it? Who taught us to loathe ourselves and our physical attributes? Why do we allow ourselves to fall prey to such thinking?
I will be the first to admit that I myself have body issues (they are getting better but I have a long way to go). I have had children, I am getting older, my body has changed – not for the better. I have been a poor example of self-image to my daughters, sighing, poking, prodding, hating… But through it all I have always held that in my own way I am beautiful. It is not a vain thing, I am not God’s gift to man, I do not ‘strut’ around (that would actually be ugly) but I am unique, and genuine and I believe I have a simple beauty – which is just as much inside as outside (maybe more). But apparently that puts me into a rare category of only 4% of women. That is so very sad. (And I have to wonder if my body issues nullify what I believe?)
I also have to wonder if guys are as hard on themselves as women are as this is not something we hear a lot about, and I am not aware of many advertisers or studies that have focused on male body image/beauty perception (or should that be handsomeness perception?).

Seabird – Don’t You Know You’re Beautiful


Author: myspokenheart

Blogger, life lover, silly-hearted daydreamer...

23 thoughts on “Beauty: in the Eye of the Bolder?

  1. I do believe that most many have similar reservations and concerns about the way they look. Yep, I’ve gone through phases of it myself but now, I’m learning to accept who I am and to start building my esteem and self confidence. I think the problem is that, as with many emotions and feelings, men don’t openly talk about it.

    Beauty is indeed in the eye of the beholder. What’s beautiful to one person may not be the same in the eyes of another. It’s often more than just physical, especially with people. I tend to think of it as being ‘natural’ in a person; something that cannot be achieved through plastic surgery, regardless of how much one person spends (they should put all that money in to therapy).


    • Thanks Brandon…I think you may be right – men do not seem to be as ready to get all open and touchy feely with their emotions and thoughts the way women often are… and I also agree that different things/qualities are beautiful to different people, that is part of what makes life so amazing… 🙂


  2. My two cents… I haven’t the imagination to color in the world. My concept of beauty is too limited. If it were up to me, I may have overlooked the nomads of Mongolia, or the Pygmies of the South Pacific. How could I have known to incorporate both the festival of lights in India and the fireworks display of Disney World. I would have left so much out, all beautiful in different ways, and with beauty in the diversity alone. I wouldn’t have known how to properly provide women their men. You like a worker with calluses, she a hipster, this one a biker, that one a doctor. What I find most beautiful is the unexpected of alternate perspectives. Fall foliage would not be as astounding if it were all just orange, unless of course you really love orange and are repulsed by diversity. So be beautiful. Surround yourself with things you find beautiful. Think and feel beautiful. And smile, because smiles are beautiful. So is laughing. Let life be the holder of beauty, or better yet, let life be the beauty. Be beautiful because you are alive, part of a beautiful design. And concern yourself only with those capable of seeing your beauty.
    And oh yeah, even young men struggle with appearance issues and insecurities, but nothing comparable to what women deal with, not even on the same scale.


    • Thanks for the words of beauty encouragement, it was very nice to get a guys perspective on this… and an honest take on appearance and insecurity issues…

      Let me start by saying that I have been reading your blog and I would have to say you do have imagination. You could create a world if you set your mind to it.

      Next perhaps your concept of beauty is limited… but at least you recognize diversity…. some people are very limited they have a ‘type’ as you mention (I have a friend who only seems to like guys who look Italian or Spanish – dark hair, dark eyes, bronze skin – not too tall, and another one who always points out tall blonde haired blue eyed guys) while some of us are all over the map. Because beauty is so much more than physical appearance and can be found in more than just first glance – like the way some-one’s smile can light up an entire room, or how their eyes dance when they talk about something that excites them… some people are just beautiful because of the energy they seem to project…

      Oh and I will surround myself with things that are beautiful, be beautiful, and smile and laugh… you are right I will only concern myself with those who can see my beauty (who can see me as me)… 🙂

      (Oh and I dealt with the double post)


  3. I really agree with your concept of beauty.Its not the face but the person that is pretty.


    • Thank-you – it is so hard not to judge based on the outside. Our appearance is the first impression made and we live in a world/society where first impressions are apparently everything. Yet true beauty is so much more than that. The old cliche “don’t judge a book by its cover” is true. Sometimes we can find the greatest treasures hidden behind some pretty battered and abused covers….


      • Human nature is always attracted to beauty,that’s just the way of things.Although every woman has the right to look beautiful but I believe they should not strain themselves with concern.

        There is an Urdu verse that says:
        ‘Apparent beauty temporary,inner one permanent
        The former pleases the eye,while the latter pleases the heart’
        (I am not very good with translations 🙂 )

        I think its not the person that’s ugly its their behavior that makes them so…

        And…..your most welcome 😉


      • I like that Urdu quote you mentioned…

        … but I like yours better…tis the behavior that determines the ugliness…or beauty … nod nods


  4. I think this topic resonates with all of us. I’d have been interested to see if men who read this would have commented, but none have so far. I wonder if their body issues are different, in some ways. Maybe we focus on our rolls and our sagging, and they focus on receding hairlines and other ummm parts… I do think women have been held more traditionally to standards of beauty and an emphasis on a “youthful look,” but from the research I’ve seen, men are starting to feel that a bit too. Steroids and exercise ads certainly sell to men as well as women the need to not only be slim but to be “buff.”
    Ok I’m rambling. By now I should have learned my lesson: no blogging before coffee….


    • I was thinking similar thoughts in regards to the men… I know there is pressure to not look old or out of shape, rather than having grey or thin hair a lot guys seem to shave their heads now (for some reason older men with dyed hair can often be spotted a mile away – why is that?)

      I think in many ways the double standards are slowly disappearing (a man is paunchy – a woman is fat, grey hair on a man is distinguished – but on a woman just looks old, a man gets wrinkles and they are his laugh lines – a woman gets wrinkles and she is haggard etc) I think the younger generations are perhaps more judgmental but its more evenly distributed no matter who you are, age, race or gender.

      IDK maybe I’m rambling now… and its time for my morning coffee 😉


  5. Self image, Oh could I go on here. What I see and have seen. It can be very sad. Parents, they can’t tell their children they are beautiful. Well they can and should, but it doesn’t mean the same. So you ask them… well then, what do you think is beauty. When watching tv.. point to features.. is that it? Hold a mirror to them.. see you have that too.. what else.. It is hard to do, to convince some. Media seems to have disjointed images of what is beauty. Models are too thin, they drive some to eating disorders as they try to emulate them.

    But real beauty, true beauty, is inside.


    • I feel this has the potential to be a real kettle of fish… there are so many directions and so many takes on defining beauty, self image, self esteem etc.

      I was hesitant to write on it but couldn’t shake the idea once it started forming in my head. And of course the whole area of thought on where and how do our judgments come from. I agree about models being too thin I have actually started following a FB page called Curves Ahead, it hi-lights plus sized models and healthy lifestyles – I have found it inspiring.

      Beauty – It is a hard subject.


      • How has beauty been determined? What makes someone beautiful.Beauty is of course in the eyes of the beholder, but there are preconceived ideas of beauty, so where have they come from. Training as we grow up? Look at her, she is beautiful? Thin is good.. fat is ugly.. “I don’t like my weight… why Mommy.. it is ugly”… hmmmm.

        it may not be healthy, but why do we perceive it as ugly? or not beautiful?



  6. This blog is a brain teaser…because this topic effects almost all females…big, small, and everything in between!

    I myself am a big woman…but thankfully feel that I am beautiful (Andrea as you know me well, I have negative moments about my body image and self worth)….sadly I sometimes cant see the “beautiful person inside and out” that people tell me I am…

    I am usually very surprised that “skinny girls” have body issues too! but no matter what size we all are, theres one thing in common….self confidence is not easily obtained!

    I loved the awarness that our negative attitudes towards one self is seen and heard by little ears….( I have two younge boys, so Im not sure how that effects them) but I’m 100% sure it does in some ways…



    • Aaawwe my beautiful April… you are wonderful and I know that you are one of the most giving, loving, precious people…

      and yes having a negative attitude about yourself that is outwardly expressed effects boys too, I am sure…


    • Nod nods … I do not think anyone really has the ownership on body image issues…you are right.

      That is what is so sad I think … we all KNOW we are grand … and we let others dictate what we think at times.

      I am tagging onto Andrea’s aaawwwee to you … because I see you and her gabbing all the time and I know you are special to her. Yah you!


  7. Once again, I am listening to the video you have posted as I write my response.

    I will get my silly thought from my head first…then delve into what you have posted on.

    Silly thought – When I saw that you had mentioned the Dove finding…my head INSTANTLY went to Dove Bars chocolates! Ack!

    Ok…now…I was also not shocked…but entirely saddened to see what the study found. On one hand, I am the epitome of their findings…and I am not pleased I am not in that 4% you are in. I wish to be there…I WILL be there one day.

    But what truly disturbs me is the age of that study group. My daughter in in that age group. Already she does show signs that television, advertising, and the frustratingly myriad of articles are affecting her self image. I try … I honestly do try, to let her know that beauty magazines, fashion models … tis not what is a reflection of what is real. And I also know … she picks up on the subtle and not so subtle things I say and do about myself.

    This is a reminder that our image of ourselves does not just do damage to us when we compare to the uncomparable …but it can have effects on those around us. So young….10 to 17.


    • I first need to say – I love Dove bars… YUM!

      that aside… my two younger girls (the ones still at home) are in that age bracket – and they have heard every sigh, every grumble, every negative thing I have said about the way my clothes do or don’t fit…

      I think my girls are soooo beautiful BUT I have been informed that I only think they are beautiful because I am their mother and even if I didn’t think so that’s what I would say… which is totally heart breaking…

      *BIG SIGH*


      • Who on earth told you that ???? Your daughters? Nooooooo.

        Tell them….tell them I said I think they are beautiful. No no, I have not “seen” them … but if they are anything half like their mum…they cannot help but be beautiful. Tell them I said that!


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