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“Is beauty just the average?”- Average faces from different countries

09 Apr

Image

 

(http://petapixel.com/assets/uploads/2011/02/averagefaces.jpg)

How do we define beauty? In my opinion, beauty can hardly be defined using only several quantified phrases. However, there has been some kind of quantified standard of beauty using science and technology going on currently. The above images was created by combining different portraits of women from their countries, namely these are “average faces” from various countries. 

I made a mistake in class by saying that they are the “perfect faces”, I guess one of the reasons that I remembered the term wrongly was because all these faces seemed very physically appealing, and they all look very beautifully to me. That’s probably why I thought they were “perfect”. It is very interesting to note that many commenters find these average faces very attractive like I did.

One more thing that I want to bring up here is do we see beauty a categorical term or a continuous spectrum? This question came up to my mind while I was reading Nguyen’s article when she compared beauty and ugliness. By saying a categorical term, I mean that there are only two categories for beauty; one is either beautiful or ugly. While for continuous spectrum, one can be described as less beautiful, more beautiful and very beautiful, etc.

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1 Comment

Posted by on April 9, 2013 in Uncategorized

 

One response to ““Is beauty just the average?”- Average faces from different countries

  1. mollyburness

    April 27, 2013 at 10:33 pm

    The categorical term pressures me into the following harsh claims: first, if there is one bit of beauty in a person, then he or she is beautiful. Second, if there is one bit of ugliness in a person, then he or she is ugly. So then the decision becomes, which quality is more worthy of defining this person? Beauty or ugliness? Perhaps this is a question that a classmate or I can analyze and answer later, but for now, I want to dismiss it for the following reason: it portrays identity unrealistically. In reality, both beauty and ugliness can exist in the same body, so it is only right to respect both of them in judging a person.

    I then thought about the continuous spectrum of beauty. It is more analytical and allows for the viewer to break down the viewed into its components. The beautiful and ugly elements then sum to some value of beauty on a spectrum. This perspective respects the viewed more holistically because it acknowledges all that goes into an identity instead of highlighting one aspect and projecting solely that onto the viewed. I also prefer the continuous concept because its structure values change. Individual components can become more or less beautiful, instead of a person being entirely beautiful one day and entirely ugly the next.

    The realism in the continuous spectrum concept reminded me of Pauline Breedlove from Toni Morrison’s “The Bluest Eye”. The mother, wife, and servant is tortured by constantly feeling inadequate and unloved. Between her brown skin and the limp in her gate, society’s value of physical beauty convinces her that she is ugly and therefore worthless: “In equating physical beauty with virtue, she strip[s] her mind, [binds] it, and collect[s] self-contempt by the heap.” When she gets a job working as a servant for a white family who truly values her, she finally finds an environment in which she can thrive and feel beautiful. However, she makes sure to separate her beautiful self from her ugly self: “Pauline kept this order, this beauty, for herself, a private world, and never introduced it into her storefront, or to her children.” Using the continuous spectrum concept of beauty, I can value both of Pauline’s worlds as components of her identity, and don’t have to value one above the other- don’t have to choose which is more reflective of her true self. Ultimately, her ugly home life and her beautiful work life are realities for Pauline, and because they are real, they should both have a place in her identity. The spectrum of beauty respects change, process, and details, and in doing so, respects reality.

     

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