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By: Antía Vazquez & Regina Neumann
Transcript of By: Antía Vazquez & Regina Neumann
To what extent is our perception of beauty shaped by the ways of knowing?
In 2006, Dove launched this short film as part of it's campaign "Dove Campaign for real-beauty". It shows how a normal and real woman undergoes this
process of being transformed into an "extremely beautiful" supermodel.
Are our minds being shaped by the stereotypical views on beauty?
Is beauty really in the eye of the beholder?
It is possible to argue that each individual perceives information from its senses in a unique way: one thing may seem attractive to an individual and less aesthetic to the other
However, we should consider that the way in which we are
to process and interpret external stimuli also plays a key role in defining our judgement of certain people and situations.
The video shown, clearly illustrates the many ways in which are senses are tricked and deceived by technological devices such as Photoshop.
So, can we trust the information we get from our senses in terms of deciding what is beautiful or not? Is our sense perception reliable?
Beauty in the different AoK
Is beauty a universal concept?
A Victoria secret model, the view of Mt. Fiji at dusk, scoring the winning goal at a world cup and a Broadway show. Although they are extremely different, these are all examples of situations that are commonly regarded as beautiful. Is it really possible to define beauty?
It is clear that our minds are shaped by the ways of knowing, and they exert a strong influence over our perception of the environment around us. We use our senses to perceive something and the process of judging our perceptions undergo the stereotypes set by authority and reason. Similarly, Language plays a key role in transmitting the messages the fashion industry is delivering.
Individuals should be careful when handling external information, and especially careful when capturing information from advertisements that can easily trick us into believing things are different to the way they really are.
Our reality is shaped by our ways of knowing, and using them to understand the world that surrounds us is essential. When perceiving beauty, we must understand the extent to which our ways of knowing are shaping our perception. We must me careful with the degree of accuracy of the information obtained through our ways of knowing
What role does culture play in the definition of beauty?
By authority we refer to all those external sources that provide us with knowledge or information. This information may be second, third or nth-handed therefore individuals should be careful when using it. However, everyday we are bombarded with information (which is not always precisely accurate! ) from authority figures such as the mass media or the government that are extremely influential in our everyday lives.
Fallacies with authority:
: When an individual's status makes people believe whichever claim they make. For instance, popular or famous figures may be trend-setters as their claims will be positively embraced by society.
Example: If your classmate said having a teeth-gap is fashionable, you would reject the idea. However if Madonna suddenly got a teeth-gap people will be willing to embrace the change and even get a teeth-gap themselves!
Mathematics and the Golden Ratio
Beauty Throughout the world
Measure used to determine if a face is mathematically beautiful.
The golden ratio evaluates facial proportion, and symmetry.
But still, are beauty and the golden ratio limited to one culture only? Does it work to define beauty around the world?
Is physical beauty so relevant in al cultures?
Perception of beauty varies dramatically all around the world.
In Africa, voluptuous women are attractive as it is a symbol of wealth
In Australia, the teeth-gap is considered attractive and favorable trait.
In Burma, Women with long necks exemplify beauty.
As part of our reasoning processes, there are a series of pre-established assumptions which always influence the way in which we judge specific events or situations.
"Skinny, long legs, tall height, clean skin, pale eyes, smooth hair"
Since society determines that this is the perfect stereotype of an ideal body, this is a starting point in deciding whether or not an individual is beautiful or attractive
Our judgements are usually affected by our culture: Based on what seems acceptable and adequate, we develop a series of mental frameworks to decide whether or not our perception of beauty will appear as "reasonable" or not. Therefore, it is possible to question the authenticity behind our thinking processes since external influences exert a lot of pressure upon individuals
Reasoning fallacies in beauty
: Due to stereotypical prejudices, we assume that something may only be beautiful or ugly. The whole spectrum of aesthetics is not taken into consideration.
Hasty Generalizations: Believing that just because someone is thin, blonde or tall they are beautiful. Beauty can come in many different shapes, sizes or colours.
Language also plays a key role in shaping our perception of everyday life. As previously mentioned, we live in an era of advertising, in which we are constantly saturated with facts and information.
Many advertising and marketing firms nowadays take advantage of the creativeness that language has; they have the ability to distort or modify the meaning of words and visual language to influence the way in which we interpret beauty, The way in which we perceive aesthetics.
Changing denotation and connotation in advertising campaigns changes the meaning of the message being transmitted, thus affecting our perception of it
History is a clear example that illustrates how, firstly, beauty is not a universal concept and secondly, how our perception of beauty changes in time, along with the stereotypes established by society. Along with women's status in society, the stereotypes on what is attractive have changed drastically over time.
History and Beauty
Other real life examples
The concept of perception of beauty not only applies to the fashion industry and physical beauty. In our everyday life we encounter a series of situations that also involve aesthetics and which are shaped or influenced by our ways of knowing.
A few years ago, a very renowned violinist had a concert scheduled in London. People were willing to pay thousands to attend this exclusive event. The day before the concert, this musician stood in a subway station entrance and played for a few hours. People would barely pay attention. Those who donated money, gave him a few pennies. Our minds are designed in such a way that we only give value to certain individuals in certain contexts. Are our senses are blocked by the knowledge we already posses? Why are we only able to appreciate beauty in a theater and not in a subway?
Visiting a museum
Art, and especially contemporary art, can be very abstract. Some people question why should we believe that a piece of string on the floor or a painted can in the wall is art. How do we know this is art? It can be argued that our senses are affected by authority figures or institutions like museums or art galleries (MoMA, TATE gallery, Guggenheim, etc), For example, A few years ago, a painting done by a child was placed in well known museum. There was an auction and, suddenly, a piece of classwork made by a stranger was now valued in millions.