You Beauty!

I’m curious about your feelings toward the word “beautiful.” What sort of images come to mind when you hear or see the word “beauty”? I can tell you what Google image search thinks (warning–this may depress you, but it probably won’t surprise you):

How do these images compare to what you think of as beautiful? When I look at these pictures, all I can think of is how limited and narrow many conceptions of beauty end up being–I mean, where are the different ethnicities? skin colors? hair textures and styles? This is only the first page of image search results, but they look quite a bit like this through page 12, with a few exceptions. It’s pretty representative of what society considers the definition of beautiful: thin, white, and made-up (but mostly in a “natural” way, because “natural” beauty is the most appealing kind).

I’ve gone through periods in my life where I’ve thought that maybe beauty and beautiful are over-used terms. To a certain extent, they are. They get thrown around pretty casually, and we tend to use them to refer to or describe things that might not really deserve to be associated with them. But I don’t think that means that we don’t all have our own beauty. We are all beautiful, and we’re all beautiful in different ways. Given how often we see images like the ones above (and get told that these are what we should think when we hear about beauty), though, it can be easy to forget that there’s more to being beautiful than smooth skin and the right lip color. Beauty doesn’t have to be only skin deep.

I think it’s time we ditched the over-used concept of beauty that society is always trying to emphasize, and started thinking a bit more about the unique things about ourselves that make us beautiful, and what beauty really means in our eyes. In my case, I think my beauty comes from my strength, resilience, and honesty, among other things. Where does your beauty come from?

By Emilie

Runner, yogini, knitter, Manhattanite in spite of myself. Also blogging at

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