exploratory essay

exploratory essay - Charlie Khoo Changing Faces Essay Prize...

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Charlie Khoo Changing Faces Essay Prize 2009 Changing Faces , Registered Charity 1011222 1 Perceptions of Beauty in a Western Society Introduction “Beauty is truth, truth beauty.” a Over the ages philosophers and poets, amongst them Aristotle, Plato and Keats, have associated beauty with virtue. 1 In modern society we like to think that we have discarded this simplistic notion; however, there is much evidence that it still prevails. 2,3,4 This paper aims to examine the evolution of attitudes to beauty, the psychosocial problems for people with disfigurements and how they can be solved. What is Beauty? The term ‘beauty’ is used in multiple contexts. These can be divided into ‘inner beauty’, describing a goodness of personality, and ‘outer beauty’, concerned with aesthetic a John Keats, Ode on a Grecian Urn , Line 49 (first published 1820). Abstract: Is beauty really skin deep? Historically, an association between ‘outer beauty’ and ‘inner beauty’ has been noted by poets, philosophers and writers. Does this attitude spill over into society today? Unfortunately, this seems to be the case- in research commissioned by Changing Faces 9 out of 10 people were found to hold subconscious prejudices. This essay will explore perceptions of what constitutes ‘beauty’ before examining how these apply to people with disfigurements. The social effect of disfigurement will then be examined, both externally due to popular beauty ideals (the role of the media is also discussed) and, internally, due to psychological problems causing self-imposed stigmatising behaviour. Solutions will then be proposed on both external and internal levels, as well as recommendations for future research.
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Charlie Khoo Changing Faces Essay Prize 2009 Changing Faces , Registered Charity 1011222 2 appearance. On the surface disfigurement affects outer beauty, but it has been found that changes in appearance can cause anxiety, depression, grief, and a lowered self-esteem. 4,5 These strongly affect a person’s disposition. Thus, defects in outer beauty can indirectly alter inner beauty. From ancient times outer beauty was revered as it was believed to be representative of inner beauty; Francis Bacon summarises that “virtue is nothing but inward beauty; beauty nothing but outward virtue.” b However, perceptions of what constitutes beauty have evolved. The ‘Venus of Willendorf’ is a paleolithic sculpture discovered in 1908 believed to represent the ideal woman of that age. The blank face suggests she is an “anonymous sexual object. .. it is her physical body and what it represents that is important.” 6 In stark contrast, the ‘Venus de Milo’ depicts Aphrodite, the Greek goddess of beauty, as a very slender figure. The veneration she inspired is bluntly put in Homer’s ‘The Odyssey’ when Hermes says “ all ye gods be looking on and all the goddesses, yet would I lie by golden Aphrodite. c Her image is paralleled by the iconic 20 th century beauty, Marilyn
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This note was uploaded on 08/02/2011 for the course ENGL 1302 taught by Professor Salcedo during the Summer '07 term at UT Arlington.

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exploratory essay - Charlie Khoo Changing Faces Essay Prize...

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