Beauty is in the eye of the beholder…

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder….

Do you agree?

This phrase was the focus of a recent lesson with my advanced English conversation class. We had been talking about stereotypes and cultural similarities and differences.

The well-known expression, has been accredited to Plato and Shakespeare, amongst others, but it was Margaret Wolfe Hungerford who is widely acknowledged as coining the saying in its current form.

Not long ago, this YouTube clip popped up on my Facebook feed, thanks to Diane who writes this great blog:

This clip showcases 100 years of beauty in France. Which was your favourite clip? I found it difficult to select only one but if you forced me, maybe the 1920s…most of them have their merits.

There are also lots of stereotypes around French beauty. You only need to search the internet to find all kinds of information about how to look like a French woman. Red lips? A bob haircut? Tousled Hair? How would you describe French beauty? In my opinion, French women wear less make up (huge generalisation?!) or maybe they are experts at applying a natural make up which, as we know, takes ages to apply!!!

So, back to my class. We concluded that beauty is very much based on culture. I was reminded of a previous post I wrote:

I included a video clip of journalist Esther Honig. She sent her photo around the world and asked for it to be retouched according to the beauty standards of a range of countries. The results are fascinating. Clearly, beauty is in the eye of the beholder, according to their culture.

I’d love to know your thoughts. I had some fantastic responses to my post on ‘French chic’. I’m sure you’ll have opinions on beauty!


6 thoughts on “Beauty is in the eye of the beholder…

  1. Wow, that YouTube video is amazing and brilliantly depicts cultural influences on ideas of beauty. Actually quite eye-opening and some ideas…………….. But what a lovely face Esther has when untouched. An interesting post, June x

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I hadn’t seen either of these videos previously June, how interesting and I might say shocking in the case of the latter. What the USA thinks beautiful goes some way to explaining what Michael Jackson did to himself. That young woman is very attractive already and in my view looks best with minimal make up. My preferred looks from the 100 years of beauty were 50’s and 60’s.
    I’d agree with you that French women tend to wear less make up, I’ve never seen any one with obvious foundation or tons of eye make up in rural France. The focus in France seems to be keeping skin in a good condition from an early age, there are beauty salons in nearly every village!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks for commenting, Fiona. I was equally shocked by the USA perception of beauty. I agree with you about French women and also about the number of beauty salons, nearly equal to the number of hairdressers where I am! If I’m feeling particularly adventurous, one of these days, perhaps I should venture into a beauty salon and have a make over French style!


  3. When I read the title of your post My immediate reaction was YES! My daughter in law thinks her pug is beautiful whilst I refer to her as ‘Pugly’! When it comes to beauty in women, what we perceive as real beauty differs. Some find more beauty in a ‘lived in’ face whilst others find it in the unlined perfection of a younger one.

    I love that first video; how clever. My favourite looks are 1920s and the most recent one. Cultural perceptions of beauty certainly differ, just as attitudes to ageing do.

    What a great idea in the second video…but 424 days applying make up! I’m going to have to do the maths because I just can’t believe that. My personal favourite -The Phillipines.

    Loved this post.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Ah pugs! My sister adores them whereas they do nothing for me. However, I love Bull Terriers, so I was taken aback when someone else said they look like pigs and could never own one.
      Beauty is definitely subjective and I agree wholeheartedly that a ‘lived in’ face can be beautiful. I also like the 1920s look. It’s interesting that you preferred the Philippines photo. The reactions I have had to this particular look could best be described as ‘marmite’; people either seem to love it or hate it!
      Thank you for commenting.


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