Beauty has no true definition

By Monica Burke
April 26, 2007

When it comes to attraction between men and women, looks are definitely an important factor. This leads to the age old question, “What makes someone beautiful?”

If beauty is in fact in the eyes of the beholder then how does the beholder define beauty?

In an article from MSNBC, psychologist Ben Jones said, “We tend to think about things like attraction as reflecting a private decision or a personal choice, but our work shows that people’s attractiveness judgments can be influenced in pronounced ways by what other people appear to think of those individuals.”

This might explain why there was the one boy who every girl in the seventh grade thought was just so cute. In the study, women were shown a slideshow of men’s faces. Those depicted with a woman smiling at the man were considered more attractive then those with the man alone.

“We found that the slideshow caused women to become more attracted to the men who were being smiled at by other women,” Jones said.

But still, how do we define beauty? The conventions of beauty have undergone a great change in the last 100 years. At one time in America, being skinny was considered unattractive. Compare that to today’s waif-thin starlets. The 1980s saw the rise of supermodels and the beginning of a classic “all-American” look. As the times changed, so did people’s views of beauty.

Senior business administration and human resources major Nick Weiss said, “For me, beauty is about the personality. If a girl is confident she is going to come across so much more attractive. Looks are one thing but if she has a bad personality she just isn’t attractive.”

Personality may be key for a long-term relationship, but what gets someone noticed from the start?

Tara Evison, sophomore psychology major, said, ” I notice how a guy looks first, but then I have to get to know him. He could be the cutest guy in the world but if he’s a jerk I’m not going to want to be around him. It’s a two-way street though, just because I’m not physically attracted to someone off the bat doesn’t mean that the more time I spend with him couldn’t turn into something more. Ideally he’d have the whole package.”

Among college guys and girls alike, so-called bragging rights come into play. If one’s boyfriend or girlfriend is someone others consider attractive it gives them a boost of self-confidence.

Leon Wilson, sophomore psychology major said, “I can see how this study would be right. If I think a girl is cute and I say something to one of my friends and he agrees, well then that just makes her hotter. Every guy wants his friends to be jealous of him. It’s the whole ‘I’m with her’ aspect of things.”

Beauty may be in the eyes of the beholder but every opinion counts.

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Monica Burke

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