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What is Beauty?

by Michelle Sadowitz

Beauty, what is that?


The dictionary will say something like this, “A combination of qualities, such as shape, color, or form, that pleases the aesthetic senses, especially the sight.” 


That definition right there has everything to do with what something looks like outwardly. Many of us try to achieve that “ideal body” because that is what is beautiful or desired…or so society tells us. But it’s interesting to see over the course of history how that “ideal” has changed and really the “ideal body” is nothing more than a fashion trend that will continue to change. 


For example, the 1920’s were a time where women went for a more androgynous look; that meant flat chested, shorter hair, and clothing that gave them a curve less look. For the men in that time, the film industry was demanding more male actors and they wanted the men to be thin and dashing especially since the camera adds weight.  It wasn’t cool for men to be heavier set anymore. At one point that signified wealth but that was no longer the trend.  


The 1980’s was a time where “thin is in” but at the same time fitness was emphasized. Exercise crazed women put themselves at a higher risk for eating disorders. Being tall and athletic looking was all the rage. For men big, bulging muscles were in and bodybuilding became a popular thing.


Then today you have women going crazy to get a bigger rear end - to the extreme of plastic surgery. The trend for men is the lean and muscular look, but not to quite the bodybuilding body type as much…a little less bulk.


That is primarily in America, now add other cultures to the mix!!


Being back in Japan currently, it is pretty interesting because the standards of beauty and the ideal body here are so different from America.  If you have read my previous blog post, you know that I struggled with anorexia for awhile. Part of that was just going back and forth between two cultures that had two completely different trends and ideas of the beauty.


Many Japanese and other Asians are all about being very thin, and having white skin. Some of my friends never liked to play outside because of the fear of getting tan…all my friends in America were itching to lay out in the sunshine!  No one cares about a booty, they want to have a higher nose bridge, double eyelids…those are just some of the ideals over in this part of the world.


So as you can see, every culture has different ideas of what is beautiful, and it’s always changing! The thing is, it has nothing to do with true health and it’s all about aesthetics. It’s an exhausting chase and often times very unrealistic for most people. 


Focus on health, not a trend. Focus on beauty of your character, rather than outward appearance. There is a lot more value to building character than building a “perfect body.” I’m not saying that working out is bad or that it’s a waste of time to try to make your appearance look good…not at all! But don’t chase after a certain appearance over a healthy body!  


A healthy body is a beautiful body!

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