Thursday, October 27, 2005

What makes a person beautiful?

I am fascinated by Dove's "Campaign for real beauty" ( for two reasons:

  • It speaks to me on a human (OK, womanly) level.
  • I have dedicated part of my career to marketing, and I think it's a fantastic marketing concept. (I bet they're making money hand-over-fist these days.)

If you haven't checked out their website, I'd invite you to do so. It's pretty cool. They don't focus on Dove products at all, but instead on their "campaign" to help women build self-esteem.

All corporations donate money to charities. They have to or they don't look like good corporate citizens. Some corporations are particular about who they funnel money to, and others… not so much. This “campaign” funnels their charity dollars into associations that help people deal with eating disorders. Kinda cool.

If I take off my marketer’s hat and put on my human hat (though... can you ever really not have your human hat on?) this whole thing makes me think about beauty and how we define it.

I had this question on the brain today and so, all day I looked at people around me, thinking about their beauty. I spend my day at a university, and there’s a lot of people there. I probably scanned the faces and bodies of a few – or perhaps, several -- hundred people today, while thinking about beauty.

I don't mean beauty in the sense of "turn on". Of course, if you look at enough people there are those who do that too, but that wasn't the point of the exercise. Today was about any and all kinds of beauty.

That included the young, the old, the wizened, the tall, the short, the thin, the overweight, and even the obese…the brilliant, the not-so-brilliant and the developmentally delayed… people from various walks of life, of various colors and tones. You get the idea.

I had a hard time finding anyone that I did NOT think was beautiful in some way, shape or form. Every one seemed to have something about them that made them seem beautiful. I wasn't particularly looking for it to be like that... I just wanted to be aware of my own reactions to people around me.

I’m not exactly what you’d classify as an overly “romantic” sort of person and I wasn’t feeling particularly “warm and fuzzy” today, so I found it curious that I was not more critical.

Perhaps I’m just getting softer as the years go by? Dunno…

But let me put it out there and see what you think… What do you find beautiful? Or better yet… what don’t you find beautiful? And more importantly… why?


ipodmomma said...

thanks for the comment... :)))

beauty, to me , is very easy to define, but I would also like to think that I am open to seeing beauty in all its forms, and not just the surface, outside beatuy that so often is taken at face value.

personally, the most important aspect is sometimes the most hidden... that of love. I think that things done in love can be the most beautiful. they don't have to be big and noisy, but the smallest thing, if it is loving, can be most shining...

have a brilliant day!


Ralph said...

I choose to tell you what I find not beautiful, because as you've discovered, there is beauty everywhere, and in everything.

In very, very simple terms, "not beautiful" is anything that opposes beauty or causes beauty not to be. If you find beauty in someone's actions, the "not beautiful" may be repressing those actions. Ultimately the greatest beauty is in the human spirit, as I see it. So "not beautiful", to me, is anything that breaks down and destroys the human spirit - the essence of who we are.

Another thought:
The kid with the chocolate cookie all over his face is "not beautiful" if beautiful is defined as crumb-free. It's all a matter of perspective. I've seen some rather beautiful kids with chocolate cookie smeared all over their face.

I'll give this some more thought and post later.

Cheers to you for taking the time to notice the beauty in everyone. What you saw was their spirit. Your spirit too, is beautiful.

Blog on!

oldhall said...

It's probably a bad idea to start writing a response to something like this, IF you have no idea what your eventual point is going to be.

But we won't let THAT stop us.

I think...

Once you take the time to look for the beauty in others, that beauty jumps out at you. I mean, you see this 'shell', a mere exterior, of everybody walking by... one can mentally fill in the rest of the person...

And then an awful thing can happen, they can open up their mouths, and spout all manner of ugliness.

I agree that love is the answer... unfortunately so many people are so far away from it, don't understand love, never really experienced it... so then their morals and ethics are rooted elsewhere. (with predictably atrocious results!)

They become a template for beauty, corrupted by... whatever it was that corrupted them... At it's core, an absence of love.

Gosh, what a downer... I shouldn't comment on blogs BEFORE I eat... time for spaghetti, I think.

Sarah Elaine said...

Interesting that love has entered the dialogue. I purposely left it out, not wanting to confuse the two. But I'm glad to see others draw a link, too.

Thanks, ipodmomma, for linking them!

Ralph - sometimes it is useful to understand the antithesis of something in order to understand the thing itself.

Oldhall- agree w/ what you're saying about people opening their mouths. Reminds me of guy friends who say, "Yeah, she's gorgeous...until she opens her mouth! Then, she's not pretty any more..."

And not to worry... I've discovered that I can't run on an empty stomach, so don't worry that you can't blog on one! Bring on the pasta, baby!

ipodmomma said...

just went through your blog... thought I'd like to be a little more Sarah-knowledgeable... :)))

so, how ya like that ipod? :)))

unlike my husband, I am not a grammar person. grew up on a farm in Northern California around a lot of people whose education was just high school level, and a few with whom Emglish was not the native language...

it was German...

anyways, just thought it was pretty cool that you have an ipod... I have a regular, from last year, and I really like it... :)))

and as for the love thing, I am really BIG on love. think it's the cat's meow.. and I don't just mean that boy-girl thing. :))) it makes teh world go round; I love how Martin Luther King used it to describe how it was through love that black Americans would be able to non violently pursue their civil rights... really moving...

oh, and much to my husband's dismay, I like making little smiley faces...:)))

or as my friend Cat says, grin!

have a good evening...


Arrogant Polyglot said...

SEE, I have to completely agree with you: everyone does have some level of beauty, even those who don't have looks on their side. Far be it from me to decide who should be categorized in a ± beautiful dichotomy. Now, there are some people who, physically, I'd say 'Nice, I'd date him/her'. And there are others, who have lots of prettiness, then, when you get to know them, you think 'What the hell was I thinking?' Nevertheless, even the most homely person becomes more beautiful when you discover their generosity, compassion, honesty, etc. Meh, beauty is a totally relative term. Like when you come home after a stressful day, you feel/look like garbage and your partner still says 'I think you're beautiful'.

madcapmum said...

I find open faces beautiful, faces that make me feel like I'm seeing the real person rather than a persona.

ipodmomma said...

glad to know I'm not the only blog-hopper... I have a bad case of tennis (or rather crafting) elbow right now, and realized that in the evenings, instead of sitting and stitching or crocheting, I sit and blog-hop...

I suppose we do what we can do... :)))

yeah, it's a nice little family... I wish Peter wasn't in the situation he is, but I have been appreciating his time with us.

have a good day!