Is beauty subjective?

Dr. Mehmet Oz, MD
Cardiology (Cardiovascular Disease)
We've all heard the adage "Beauty is in the eye of the beholder." It means that just as we all have different taste buds, we all have different beauty buds, as well. Some of us may like blond hair; others like brown. Some like their men to wear boxers; others prefer leopard-print G-strings. And we've all also heard "Don't judge a book by its cover." You know, don't make assumptions or judgments about people just because they may have big boobs, no hair, or a belt that's longer than a circus tightrope.

I hope it doesn't come as too much of a shock: Both of these sayings are much more myth than fact. Beauty is, in fact, quite objective and measurable. Trends and small changes in preferences come and go, but core aspects have remained the same throughout the world and throughout history. In fact, research shows that human beings have evolved universal standards of beauty, both within and across cultures. Hint: Much depends on the symmetry of our facial features, our waist-to-hip ratio, a mathematical principle called the Fibonacci sequence, and some other choice factors.

You might not consciously know how these particular details make beauty quantifiable, but your brain sure knows them when it sees them. When we spot a particularly attractive person, somewhere deep in our reptilian brains, a beauty alarm goes off. It tells us when we've struck gold, and it does so automatically and subconsciously. Just like a reflex, it's impossible to stop—and it's Annie Oakley accurate. Your beauty detectors have the mathematical precision of a Swiss watch, and they're rarely wrong. That's why outer beauty is nothing to take lightly. The good news? You can influence it to a large extent.

So you can also forget the adage "You can't turn a sow's ear into a silk purse." You're already beautiful. You wouldn't be here unless your ancestors were beautiful. You need to accept the fact that we're all beautiful; sexual selection guaranteed it because your ancestors mated with the most beautiful partners. We all have beautiful elements in us. You just need to use the right strategies to maximize them.
You: Being Beautiful - The Owner's Manual to Inner and Outer Beauty

More About this Book

You: Being Beautiful - The Owner's Manual to Inner and Outer Beauty

Most people think that beauty revolves around such things as lipstick, sweet eyes, or skinny jeans -- all those things that we can see (and obsess over) in the mirror. But the fact is that beauty...
Elizabeth TenHouten
Health Education
Yes, of course! Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, and beauty shines from within.
It is important to recognize that men and women reach for beauty in different ways. For one person, shaving your legs might be considered the best way to reach for the beauty of soft, silky legs. Meanwhile, another person may choose waxing, or laser hair removal. Yet, another person might choose to have hairy legs as their standard of beauty. Suspending judgment is a healthy way to accept that everyone reaches for beauty through varied avenues, and it is indeed subjective.
So, share your inner beauty to make the world a prettier place.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.