Beauty is one of the most fundamental needs of people in general. It is often used to define beauty in relation to physical appearance. Beauty is also commonly defined as a subjective feature of objects which makes these objects enjoyable to see. These objects may be real or artificial, manmade or natural. Beauty, along with personal taste and aesthetic awareness, is the most important topic of aesthetics, among the many branches of modern philosophy.
Artistic beauty has been the subject of much debate and philosophy over the years. Some theories describe beauty as being a function of human creativity, others as the effect of culture and some as an independent factor. The subjectivity of beauty has been the subject of great speculation throughout history. Most of these theories have been used to explain the appeal of different artistic forms. Aesthetic theory differs from aesthetic experience, since the latter view beauty as an objective, independent factor that cannot be changed, whereas the former treats beauty as a subjective experience. Both these views contradict each other, leading to the famous divide between the two.
In aesthetic experience, beauty is thought to be the outcome of the beholder, a factor that can be manipulated in order to create a particular kind of experience. For example, while some may consider certain natural forms as beautiful, others may deny the beauty of flames or waterfalls. Beauty is a matter of personal choice, an internal state that can be experienced without reference to others.
Beauty therefore can be defined as the subjective view of beauty expressed by the beholder. However, this definition excludes those elements of beauty that are not the product of a person’s own creative imagination. For example, while some might consider the appearance of a woman on a runway to be highly aesthetic, others would view such appearance as trash. Such aesthetic standards may differ greatly from those applied by the social media. Social media, which includes television, magazines, and movies, place a high importance on attractiveness.
The difference between beauty and social media aesthetics lies in the fact that beauty is subjective, while social media is objective. If a woman walked on a runway wearing expensive clothes and accessories, the beauty she project to others would also depend on her attractiveness. However, when the runway is completely barren, the aesthetic value of the clothing and accessories would have no effect on her. The objectification of beauty in this case is not about aesthetics, but the reduction of it to a functional product. Aesthetic value is therefore determined by the beholder, not the creator.
Beauty therefore is a subjective state that can be influenced by social norms, personal beliefs, and personal preferences. It therefore follows that beauty is not a given, independent object. Rather, beauty is a complex construction that arises out of many other factors that the beholder finds important and significant. Beauty therefore cannot be reduced to a basic ideal or to a preset standard. Instead, beauty is an idea, an aesthetic standard, and a subjective construct, dependent on the individual who perceives beauty.