where do beauty standards come from

By M.Farouk Radwan, MSc.

where do beauty standards come from

Where do beauty standards come from?
Are there certain universal beauty standards?
How does the media affect the perception of beauty?

In order to answer all of these questions i first need to let you know about the findings of recent studies. Recent studies have found that there are certain biological hard wired beauty standards in the human mind that humans are born with.

A man is hard wired to look for the most fertile female while the woman is hard wired to look for the most suitable protector of the family. (see What attracts men & What turns women on)

But because human beings are much more complex than simple organisms, who live their whole lives under the effect of the initial programming they were created with, they have a capacity to learn.

How learning can affect a person's beauty standards

The media, the culture you live in or the beliefs of your tribe can strongly affect the way you see beauty to a certain extent. (see Physical attractiveness perception)

A man will always look for the the most fertile woman in all tribes and a woman will always look for the best protector in all cultures but some factors, that are related to the learning process, will change the way they perceive the other sex.

Here are some of those factors:

  • 1) The individual's learning process: In my article Why do people like certain facial features i explained how people learn to associate certain facial features with certain personality traits based on their own personal experiences and as a result some people start developing preferred types. (see also What to do if you are not his/her type)
  • 2) Being affected by the media: Throughout history men sought women with low waist to hip ratio with regardless to the weight of the woman. Today, the media has placed extra weight on the slimness of a woman's body even though this requirement is not biologically hard wired in the minds of men. in other words, men learned to love slim bodies because of what they saw in the media.

  • 3) Cultural beliefs: In my book The attraction psychology i said that the beliefs you acquire in your culture or the beliefs of a certain tribe can affect the perception of beauty the same way the media does. In one tribe a woman with a long neck is thought to be more beautiful and that's why women use metal collars to elongate their necks just to appeal to men. Outside of this tribe, this rule doesn't work! (see also Attractiveness and cultures)
  • 4) The people a person comes in contact with: The people a person comes in contact with strongly affects his perception of beauty. The father, the mother, the good friend and the people who affected a person's life either positively or negatively strongly affects the way he sees human faces. A person usually associates the good traits good people had with their facial features and the bad traits people had with their facial features then as a result he either becomes attached or repelled by certain human faces (see also The psychology of love)

Is beauty in the eye of the beholder?

So the question is: is beauty in the eye of the beholder?
The answer is: Part of beauty is in the eye of the beholder (the part that results from the learning process) and the other part is hard wired in the human mind.

Perceived beauty = What you learned + You're already born with beauty identification software



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