Friday, July 19, 2013

What is beautiful?

I changed my profile picture on Facebook the other day and was pleasantly surprised by the number of "likes" and comments I received. Juxtapose that with an article (link provided below) I saw on the New York Times dated July 16, 2013 which talked about a woman who was fired by her boss for "being beautiful."

We all know that beauty is relative. What may seem pleasing to my eye may look horrible to others.

Do you like women with long necks?  The Kayan tribes of Myanmar  and Thailand apparently do. The longer her neck, the more attractive a woman becomes to tribe members. Now don't get any ideas. The heavy coils women wear around their necks starting at age 5 only give the illusion of a "giraffe neck."  Reality is that the neckbone and clavicle areas are deformed by the rings making the neck appear elongated.


Some of you may remember Twiggy, who first appeared on the beauty scene in the mid '60s. Twiggy became known for her thin, almost boyish, figure.  To this day, "thin" is a standard of beauty that some women, in their desperation, sadly turn bulimic  or anorexic to achieve that skinny look.


In contrast, some cultures prefer "big women."  The women of Hawaiian royalty in ancient times were so huge they had to be carried from one location to another.  In Mauritania girls used to be  routinely forced-fed through womanhood for the sake of beauty.

Queen Kaahumanu, widow of King Kamehameha ! of the Kingdom of Hawaii.

A woman's lips have always been a focus of attention all over the world.  To make their lips more attractive, the women of the Mursi tribe in Ethipia make it a point to enlarge their lips by using lip plates.  But what happens when they kiss?


The women of the Kalinga and other mountain tribes of the Philippines used to cover their bodies from head to toe with tattoos.

Chinese women used to bind their feet. The unnaturally small feet and the mincing way the women had to walk because of the deformity were said to be especially sexually alluring to Chinese men. A foot fetish?


Obviously there are varying standards of beauty all over the world. As for me, what I consider to be attractive be it in a man or a woman has little to do with the physical.  I  may be drawn to the expression of one's eyes or the way one talks or thinks or, even more important, what I sense of another's spirit.

I've always been attracted to personalities like Johnny Depp and Clint Eastwood.  But I'll agree to date R2D2 or even Yoda if any of them asks me. 

R2D2 source:

Yoda  source:
Plato was right, afterall, when he said that "beauty is in the eye of the beholder."

 Link to "Fired for Being Beautiful" :



  1. Loved it - happy to see you back :-)

  2. Great Article.. Glad to see you back, have missed your blog's. I too am attracted to another by the eyes and the way they walk, move, speak. 1st the eyes... As I have always known, the eyes are the Windows to the Soul...

  3. "Where have we heard that before — that men’s vulnerability to women’s sexuality and attractiveness is so great that women must be prevented from showing any part of their bodies to them?" Patriarchy is certainly still deeply entrenched in the Heartland! Intriguing blog, Ariel. And thought-provoking!

  4. It saddens me that women are coerced into doing some of these obviously painful concepts of beauty. I wonder how many of them, the women, actually think that the long necks, platypus lips, anorexic bodies and deformed feet are beautiful. Culture and the fear of rejection can be very strong influences. Especially in cultures where survival depends on acceptance. So is this really about beauty, or dominance?