By Jessie Stracener
What is beautiful? What is beauty? How do we define it? How do we standardize it? Is it all in the eye of the beholder? When I think of beauty I do not think of supermodels, or the latest concealer that can hide my various facial flaws. I think of a three-year-old girl, asking me if I thought she was beautiful.
Let me back up a bit; I am probably not a good judge of conventional beauty standards. I was home schooled. I was not referred to as a pretty princess as a child and I have never bought a copy of a fashion magazine, in fact I do not understand the motivation for doing so. I don’t typically buy into the dress-to-impress mantra. I make or buy clothes because they make me happy and are comfortable and practical. I try and combine all three into every piece I wear. T-shirts and jeans, skirts, and tank tops, flowy dresses and real cotton pieces are what I wear. These things make me feel both comfortable and pretty. I am a simple person in the wardrobe department. I don’t have a problem with people who take more pride in their appearance or take time to be trendy, I’m just not really one of them.
However I do have a problem with a culture that pushes absurd beauty standards on a three-year-old child. There are a ton of people criticizing society for “unfair” beauty standards. I see no point in adding to that. I would rather discuss what influences our idea of what is beautiful. So what is beautiful? To me, beauty is the beach, at night or at dawn, or in a hurricane or in the middle of the day. The beach is the pillar of what I believe is beautiful. Beauty is a flower-filled uncut lawn. Beauty is watching a new mom and dad hold their baby for the first time. To be beautiful I believe something should illicit an emotional response or a feeling within us of joy or peace or even terror. I don’t think that supermodels with dull expressions are particularly beautiful. Some are attractive, but that is a different response. Curious children learning to discover are beautiful.
What is beautiful to you? I think everyone has a starting point in their life where they saw something and were awed by the beauty of it. I remember looking at the moon at two years old and being in awe. The next beautiful thing I remember was the Florida Keys when I wasn’t much older than that. I think that is why the beach is so awe-inspiring and beautiful to me. It helped shaped my perspective of the concept of beauty.
So what is beautiful to you? Why is it beautiful?
I am a happily married 24-year-old woman living in the heart of the south. By day I work primarily with children or doing some sort of clerical work. I’m an ace with excel spreadsheets and bandaging “boo boos”. I’ve had nearly every job you could think of and I have enjoyed most of them, from working at a museum, library, Microbiology lab, and a Music studio to being a birthday clown, a tutor, and pretty much anything else you can think of. I love to sew, cross stitch, embroider, and work with beads and wire to make awesome trees. I will try crafting anything at least once. I also love to read. I will read nearly anything. I also like to cook when I have the time.