The words: beauty and beautiful are no strange words to the human race, I mean they’ve been used since as far back as man came into existence.
Remember when God looked at all he had made and said everything was beautiful? Yeah you do. I really don’t have issues with the word itself but the way it’s being used nowadays is quite interesting.
I want you to look around you as you read and see how many people are beautiful, its hard to really judge right? You probably wanna know why? Well its because the word has no essence on it’s own.
I mean it’s defined along theborders of various yardsticks, most of which are irredeemably subjective. Let me refresh your memory a little bit.
You must have heard, times without number, this cliché ” beauty is in the eyes of the beholder.” Alright, here’s the thing, when a guy comes over and tells you “you are beautiful”, how do you know that you and him use the word the same way? Think about it.
According to Ludwig Wittgenstein in his work(scholarly paper) “The Language Game”, where he argues that language is like a game whose rules one must master before effective use can be achieved, the real meaning of a word is in the mind of its user, (there we go) so the problem of definition is engendered right there.
I once stumbled on a poem that reads ” you are beautiful as the stars in heaven” (Really?) Okay, but we need to analyse this. I know, I know what you are about to say ” it’s a poem”, “nature is beautiful”, (long face activated) bla bla bla.
I get that but what if the reader is not a fan of stars, what if it’s tornado instead that appeals to him or her that would mean that they (writer & reader)are not on the same wave-length.
Let’s consider another vantage point on the same issue. Life is marked by time (think of centuries) and each period (generation) has it’s own ideology that shapes it’s world view.
The way fashion in the 16th and 18th centuries is different from what is obtainable in the 21st century. So also, the way beauty was defined back then is not the way we see it now.
These concepts are in a constant state of flux. There was a time when the whole tall dark and handsome (TDH fever) gripped ladies and it was chick for them. At a time it was all about abs (Six pack fever).
These yardsticks have been used by women as a standard for judging men. There was a time when BBW (big bold nd beautiful) was chick though but in this current dispensation, two kinds of women really get a man’s attention; the slim ones and the thick ones. So tell me, is the word beautiful still one and the same??
The quest of finding the meaning and true essence of a word can be an herculean task, so often times than not, we stick with assumptions borne out of ideologies, as strong as the Empire State building, that have guided our lives from the outset.
I’m no expert but trust me, next time someone uses the word on you, you won’t too eager to blush.
Written by: Daodu, Deji Cornelius.