We all want to get noticed and look attractive. It is very unlikely to like something or someone if that thing is not beautiful and appealing in some way or the other. There is more to beauty than meets the eye. In other words, mind’s eye plays an important role in gauging the true beauty of a person.
The intellectual fitness is essential part of a beautiful woman. It is important to look good, but it is also important to feel good. Physical and intellectual beauty is complementary. Beauty is a perception and, as Abraham Maslow said, “This is not so much about a perception of something that already exists, but about bringing something into existence by sheer belief.” Beauty has a narcissistic bias. One need not be ‘perfectly perfect’ to get noticed. There are many beautiful people who don’t need make-up to look beautiful. “Beauty basically depends on what you have been exposed to and what is therefore easy on your mind.” That is perhaps the reason why prototypical images attract us more. We must, however, remember that we are not merely “DNA packets as far as the aesthetics of beauty is concerned.” Although we find average faces attractive, but we also know that the faces we find most attractive are not average. Love at the first sight seems to work on many occasions.
Our beauty radar may forget many important details about a person, but our initial response stays in our memory for a long time.
Beauty in a woman comes in various forms: youthfulness, personality, intelligence, grace, charm and elegance. The observations of a survey conducted more than eight decades ago are quite interesting. It said that to a girl of 16 years, beauty matters the most. To a woman of 30 years, beauty is important but equally important are mental and physical coquetry, intelligence, and generosity. To a woman of 50 years, it is generosity and intelligence that are most significant. The conclusion of the survey was ‘as women grow older, other charms evolve and outweigh beauty.’ I suppose the perception of beauty vis-à-vis age has not changed with time. Psychologists say that attractiveness depends upon the beholder’s mental processing ease. Beauty, it is said, is asymmetry resting on symmetry.
Beauty is a matter of attention and orientation. It is influenced by culture, learning, and experience. It comes in all sizes and specifications. One size doesn’t fit all. What about Size Zero? One wonders how an impoverished look can be beautiful and where is the sanctity of glamourising a person who has “to starve to feed herself”? The model-turned-sociologist Ashley Mears says that the supply-demand imbalance in the glamour industry leads to unhealthy competition. Size Zero perhaps is one of the outcomes of such competition.
Beauty thrives on diversity. “If everyone were cast in the same mould, there would be no such thing as beauty,” is how Charles Darwin reflected. There is no such thing as perfect beauty. “The human image has been subjected to all manners of manipulation in an attempt to create an ideal picture that does not seem to have a human incarnation,” writes Nancy Etcoff.

( The writer is a biotechnologist and ED, Birla Institute of Scientific Research, Jaipur)
Purnendu Ghosh