Response to: Does seeing yourself as less mean you are more?

Alice Kogo, Contributing Writer

Most of us will agree that everyone has a different idea of what is seen as beautiful. The Merriam Webster dictionary defines beauty as “a combination of qualities, such as shape, color, or form that pleases the aesthetic senses, especially the sight.” Though we may approve of this statement, it is not clear whether the media influences what we see.

There are several factors that can impact a person’s idea of what is beautiful, but it is up to the person to decide if they want to accept them as true and try to conform to them.

Recently, actress Viola Davis was criticized for not being ‘classically beautiful’. Instead of replying with a backlash, she says that by “teaching a culture how to treat you”, instead of being pressured into its standards, “you define you”. What she says supports the fact that people have their own minds, and our opinions can’t be affected by what we see.

Every day, we talk about different things and people, and through those conversations we collect ideas about the way that things are supposed to be. Based on what others do, and how high or low of importance they hold in our minds, their opinions are drawn from and merged with those of our own. Because of the others in our lives, we feel like we need to change our mindsets, and ideas of beauty as well.

Earlier in the year, a journalist named Esther Honig sent an unaltered upper body shot of herself and sent it to photo shoppers in more than 25 countries, asking for them to “Make her beautiful”. The resulted pictures varied widely, and there were no two that were the same. As is proven in this experiment, a person’s opinion on beauty is affected by their cultural background and what they grew up with. A little bit above what ‘the norm’ happens to be is automatically called beautiful.

Opposing sides of this argument may suggest that due to the media’s influence on people, they may feel pressured into changing themselves to fit ‘the norm’. Although ‘the norm’ happens to be in place, it isn’t completely imposed by the media. People, and the environment a person grows up in play key parts in what beauty is to someone, and it is always the person’s decision whether they think something is beautiful to them. A person has his or her opinion, and just because the media may suggest that something is beautiful, that doesn’t mean that automatically opinions are changed to fit that standard.

People have different opinions, and due to all the factors that affect it, in the end, we chose what beauty happens to be.