‘The beauty of a woman is not in the clothes she wears, the figure that she carries, or the way she combs her hair. The beauty of a woman is seen in her eyes, because that is the doorway to her heart, the place where love resides. True beauty in a woman is reflected in her soul. It’s the caring that she lovingly gives, the passion that she shows and the beauty of a woman only grows with passing years.’ – Audrey Hepburn
My husband told me MSN Canada had a headline a couple of days ago stating that only 4% of women consider themselves beautiful. He never read the article, but thought surely, this could not be true. There had to be more to it. Sadly I couldn’t find the article when I went looking for it today. I suspect it had something to do with the latest in a decade of Dove’s Campaign for Real Beauty documentary videos. In this one, women were asked to choose between two doors, ‘Beautiful,’ or ‘Average’ in order get into a building.
What door would I choose? It depends. If I’m in a hurry, really late for a meeting, I’ll pick the door closest to my line of sight – I won’t even see the sign as I rush through the opening. If I’m sleep deprived, worn out or had a very stressful day – I may not notice the sign either, or if I do, I might choose ‘Average’; or I might choose ‘Beautiful’, empowering myself to turn my day around. And if I’m having a good day, feeling confident and happy then I’ll automatically walk through that ‘Beautiful’ door. It’s all about how I feel, what I’m thinking about – not how I look – at that moment.
Apparently, the latest Dove video made the news, some of which was quite critical. I think what surprised me the most was the first and automatic interpretation of ‘beautiful’ and ‘average’ referred to a woman’s perception of their appearance. Do we still describe beauty exclusively in terms of physical attributes associated with photo-shopped models and celebrities in magazines? There’s a line in Shakespeare’s Love’s Labours Lost: Beauty is bought by judgement of the eye. To judge is to view the wholeness of something based on one aspect. Can’t we discern that the magazines entice us to read the articles through make-believe pictures? How many times have you seen a picture of someone and then met them in person and discovered they are totally different? Pictures may be worth a thousand words, but they don’t tell the whole story.
I checked Urban Dictionary for a more contemporary pulse on the definition of beautiful. Here’s a compiled section of what I found:
Beauty is a pure, non-sexual thing. Beautiful is a woman who has a distinctive personality, one who can laugh at anything, including themselves, who is especially kind and caring to others. She is a woman that you can trust and count on to brighten your day. Beauty is something that you don’t know what it is, but you think that person is wonderful.
I believe our definition of beauty has evolved. Beauty is the package – it’s more than just a photograph. It includes the warmth in your heart, your kindness and caring that shine through in your eyes. Smile – and let your beauty radiate from your inside out.