Beauty: an often-controversial topic, usually associated with ideals many would like to see changed. It’s an idea that we often think of as simple, assigning approval or judgement within minutes of meeting someone. However, is it that simple? What really is beauty, and what, behind the façade, really is our definition? 

Morality often intervenes with our perception of beauty, or most commonly, what our perception turns to when we are asked about it. Of course inner beauty is the true definition, what detestable creature could possible argue appearance could play a factor in anybody's mind when aligning his or her opinion on others? This, though a common answer, is far from an assured belief. Our perspective of beauty, whether we want to agree or ignore the fact, is usually governed and influenced by modern society, particularly what should be or is considered to be conventional. This idea is magnified through social media, where hashtags such as 'peng', 'skinny', 'figure goals’ and 'fleeky eyebrows' are commonly used. This, combined with the growing Instagram-celebrity culture, where individuals are praised for highly-filtered, specially-lit glamorous ‘selfies’, means that social media now plays a huge part in promoting an idea of conventional but rarely achievable beauty. 

Possibly the most worrying aspect of this new reality in the digital age is that, whilst we know that this depiction of beauty is either highly augmented or completely fake, we still strive for this level of virtual perfection. We now accept that meeting these standards are not goals – they’re impossible expectations. 

True beauty, however, is usually defined by perception and perspective. Perspective lies within its own origins, its foundations upon that the fundamental basis of a person. Despite pressure from peer groups or influence from social media, it remains a mere thought and a simple vision that we see. Each thought and event orientates and dilutes our perspective and our definition of beauty as we age and mature. 

One could argue that beauty also stems from envy and desire: the realisation that others hold what we so covetously lack. Through our own discouragement and negative opinion on some of our own physical features, we notice what others have and embellish it thus defining this as 'beauty.' Hence, beauty in itself relies within our opinions and reflection on ourselves, which we reflect in our opinions on others. 

So the next time, you project your opinions of beauty that stem from yourself or unattainable figures (acceptance and expectation), think deeper as to what could be its true definition. A definition that will always differ through people and time, a perspective both finite and infinite. Most importantly, what do you think is the definition of beauty?

Vanessa Gardy

William Perkin high school