Definition Essay: Beauty
Almost two and a half months ago, back on the 10th of August, I was sheltering myself from the torrential rains of the Cambodian rainy season in a small community center on the outskirts of Siem Reap. A local NGO, the BFT center was hosting a Peace Building event, a monthly occurrence, and I was excitedly there to photograph the event and the attendees. I was walking around as people were arriving and I noticed this elderly woman sitting by herself, looking up at me, this strange, pale teenager. She did not shy away when I raised my camera to my eye, and she held her gaze long enough for me to be able to capture the moment, and I thought to myself ‘I have just captured something beautiful’. Not something that would be considered beautiful by skewed modern perceptions, but something that was truly beautiful. Beautiful in a sense that through the actual aesthetic appearance of her exterior, the lines of age on her face, her shone head, her traditional Khmer dress, her piercing eyes, so much more could be seen. A beauty of the exterior that lent itself only to a deeper inner beauty, the beauty of the stories behind those eyes, behind the deep wrinkles on her face, behind her shone head, behind even her attendance of this very event, one that is supposed to sponsor peace and cooperation. For, when we define beauty in the sense that the exterior aesthetic elements are mere reflections of the extensive beauty of the interior, which works appeal to emotion and thought, this is the true definition of beauty.
Beauty that can be seen and appreciated with our eyes, or exterior beauty, has been the subject of scrutiny by various social systems throughout the years. This exterior beauty is associated with many things, but its correlation with the human image and the perfection of the human form has been the unfortunate focus of the media in contemporary society. This perception of beauty has gone so far as to sponsor a...