In the twentieth century, the pursuit of beauty was abandoned as the dominant goal of the arts. Beauty was trivialized, as artists moved toward more important and urgent projects. Political and economic associations with beauty tainted its meaning. Art critic Arthur Danto argues that beauty was abused, and his book The Abuse of Beauty explains why. In short, beauty was becoming an idol and a target of ridicule, with its attendant social and financial consequences.
One possible explanation for this misunderstanding of the meaning of beauty is that there are differences in the way we perceive the world. Some people are color-blind, while others are suffering from jaundice, which casts the world in a yellow hue. As the eye perceives objects differently under different conditions, so does beauty. Therefore, beauty is not one thing, but a range of qualities, and the way we experience them is also subjective. The way we experience beauty also varies, and it is crucial to understand these differences before you begin to judge the value of different objects.
African women use their beauty rituals to enhance one feature and keep it beautiful, such as their elongated heads. They also use halawa, a natural wax, to remove black pigmentation from their skin. South African women have a variety of hairstyles, ranging from braided designs to short cropped styles wrapped in colorful scarves. These looks are often influenced by fashion model Shante Gainsford. In contrast, Americans focus on the aesthetics of their face first, using dry shampoo and tinted sunscreen and lashes for days.
In contrast, Berkeley argued that beauty is not an immediate and sensuous experience but a result of intellectual activity and practical judgment. A person who appreciates beauty must know what they use a thing for and how well it fits into that use. Likewise, beauty cannot be constructed out of ugliness. A person must possess both intelligence and practical skill. This makes beauty a non-trivial task. The concept of beauty is a universal concept and has a strong historical precedent.
A common beauty ritual has its roots in ancient Greece. Ancient Greeks and Romans adopted Greek beauty practices and created the first “beauty manual”. The science of makeup was developed during this period, and upper class women followed Ovid’s instructions in order to look their best. During this period, women began tinting their gray hair, using wax on wrinkled skin, and replacing their eyebrows with fur. The result was a stunning and beautiful face that commanded respect.
In Greek mythology, beauty is associated with love. The goddess Aphrodite, who is the goddess of love, won the Judgment of Paris and promised Paris the most beautiful woman in the world. Then, in the aftermath of this, beauty and love began to have an association. Eventually, beauty was linked with virtue and a virtuous soul. This was the foundation of beauty. So, when we talk about the meaning of beauty, it should be understood in terms of the Greeks’ views on beauty.