By: Victoria Asper

What is beauty? Well, the answer you get will depend on whom you ask. From a scholarly point of view, one might go by a definition from the dictionary, or one could look to industry influencers and social media, the main stage for sharing trends. Conflicting ideals of beauty are ever-present. You see a mix of thin and curvy figures, makeup that ranges from heavy to a more natural look or even no make-up at all. Beauty is complex.

With so many different ideals, is the saying ‘beauty is in the eye of the beholder’ true? In essence, it is. Different cultures define beauty by their own descriptors. I see American ideals of beauty as artificial. Tan skin, white teeth, wearing a full face of makeup and revealing clothing seem to be a part of what is considered ideal beauty here. To me, it is unrealistic, supported not by the fashion industry, but by Hollywood. This somehow becomes the norm.

The thing about beauty though, is there may be a societal or cultural ideal of beauty, but beauty ideals are largely singular. Therefore, it’s almost impossible to come up with a definition of the word. Beauty to me isn’t necessarily a defined look, but a feeling of confidence and empowerment. Whatever makes me, or anyone else feel strong, is beautiful and should be acceptable as well. Our society focuses on conforming to what others find appealing. In some ways, we’ve lost sight of our own happiness and staying true to ourselves.

All in all, I believe our beauty ideals should be individual, and what makes us feel like our best selves, without worrying about conforming to society’s norms. Whether our expression of beauty is from fashion or through other means, it should be just that, an expression of ourselves. We are all beautifully unique in our own ways.