Life is an art and every day is another brush stroke on its canvas. It's up to us to choose the colors from the palette and create a serene landscape or a battle scene. The picture of our life can exude joy and tranquility, anxiety, or boredom. It can attract other people like a magnet or scare them off.
For centuries, human beings have been intrigued by beauty. Beauty is hard to define. It can be fragile, illusive, and subjective. Our perception of beauty is strongly connected with our emotions. Beauty is in the smile of your child and in the eyes of your beloved. We find music, art, or a piece of poetry beautiful is they are in tune with our mood or emotional state.
When we surround ourselves with beautiful objects selected with taste, when we wear beautiful clothes that make us feel great, we add harmony to our life and make it brighter and more fulfilling. We create the mood and atmosphere of our home by selecting the style that reflects our individuality.
Beauty attracts. Health and youth in human beings is attractive as they signify reproductive capacity. Men are usually attracted to younger women because they have a better potential for reproduction. Handsome, strong men attract women who are looking for a partner and father of their children. This stimulates competitiveness, as if we don't attract the other sex, we will not be able to pass on our genes. Women compete with other women to attract men. Men compete for power and dominance to be attractive to women.
For ages, women had to sacrifice health for beauty. In the 19th century, according the fashion style of the time, women had to wear tight corset since the age of four. Gradually these garments were lengthened and tightened. By the time they were teenagers, the girls were unable to sit or stand without the aid of a heavy canvas corset reinforced with whalebone or steel. The corset deformed the internal organs making it impossible to draw deep breath, in or out of a corset. Because of this, Victorian women were always fainting. In ancient China, where a small foot was a sign of style and beauty, girls' feet were bound tightly to prevent them from growing. Due to this practice the girls had difficulty walking, essentially becoming crippled. In some African tribes women still have to wear metal rings on their necks, as long necks are in fashion there.
Modern consumer cultures seem obsessed with beauty. Images of beauty are everywhere. Pictures of beautiful women and handsome men grace the magazine covers, television, billboards, consumer products and the Internet. In the modern world the concern about beauty is intensifying and the beauty industry is a multi-billion dollar a year industry with thousands of new beauty spas and salons opening daily and new beauty products coming to the market every hour. People are going to great extremes using beauty therapy to look beautiful. Cosmetic surgery is becoming more and more acceptable worldwide. People are willing to go through medically unnecessary operations for the sake of changing their looks. The number of TV makeover shows pursuing the idea of perfection and teaching us how to change the looks or the way we live is growing.
Transformations aren't only a business catering for people with money, says University of British Columbia psychology professor Steve Heine. They seem to be influencing society as a whole. Life has become a non-stop competition and we are investing money and time to look better which eventually makes us feel better.
Unfortunately, with this emphasis on the physical appearance other standards tend to get overlooked - being a good person, developing one's spiritual or intellectual side seems less important. Let's not forget about harmony in this endless race for beauty.