Is beauty in the eye of the beholder?

Thursday, 21 January 2016
Is beauty in the eye of the beholder?

When it comes to the dating scene, we are often faced with the question: "What, or rather who, is your type?"

Who said beauty is in the eye of the beholder?

It’s a vague story. Here are two possibilities:

1. The first ‘modern’ person to make use of the saying was an author called Margaret Wolfe Hungerford. The author first included the phrase in her novel ‘Molly Brown’ (1978).

2. According to some historians, the Greek philosopher Plato and his associates may have coined the expression back in the 3rd century BCE. Greek mathematicians discovered that ‘beauty is in the eye of the beholder’ manifests in a geometrical formula called the Golden Ratio, which conveys that a longer triangle should have a ratio of 1.618 to its shorter base. This applies to people's faces. With the maths behind it, the Greeks worked out that the symmetry of the face can be measured to establish a perfect looking face.

According to leading plastic surgeons, the above ancient formula helps to create pursued facial beauty appearances for patients. Wow.

What does the saying mean?

Answer: Beauty does not exist on its own, it is created by the observers, and therefore it is subjective.

This aphorism has become more than a memorable expression, it is a principle that controls our behaviour and evaluation when defining what we perceive attractive.

When it comes to the dating scene, we are often faced with the question: "What, or rather who, is your type?" While some people know the exact characteristics and features that they are attracted to, others find this question more difficult to answer, simply replying with "I don't have a type".

This suggests that the concept of beauty cannot truly be defined, but it doesn't explain why someone may be viewed as physically attractive to one person and not to another. So, this brings us to ask, is beauty really in the eye of the beholder?

The theory was put to the test in a study conducted by scientists at Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard University in the US. Looking at sets of biological twins, it was revealed that perceptions of beauty are based around individual experiences that are unique to each person.

Furthermore, while identical twins share the same genetic makeup, they don't necessarily share the same opinion about a person's level of attractiveness. Interesting, right?

Doctor Laura Germine, lead researcher of the study, explained: "We estimate that an individual's aesthetic preferences for faces agree about 50 per cent, and disagree about 50 per cent, with others.

"This fits with the common intuition that on the one hand, fashion models can make a fortune with their good looks, while on the other hand, friends can endlessly debate about who is attractive and who is not." What's more, society can play an important role in the ways in which physical attractiveness is perceived. For example, fashion icons such as Marilyn Monroe and Brigitte Bardot were viewed as having the most desirable curvaceous female body shape in the 1950s. Over time though, this societal view has somewhat changed, with models gracing the catwalks looking thinner than before.

It's safe to say though, that no matter what society portrays, we all hold our own personal views on physical attractiveness and there will never be one shared consensus about what is beautiful and what is not.

And don't forget that one's perception of beauty is entirely dependent on vision, which is why it's vital to ensure that your eyes are in good health. Here at Feel Good Contacts, we give you variety of contact lenses that suit your preference and style. Whether you are experiencing problems with your vision or not, remember to book an eye test just in case.

If you have any questions surrounding eye health, contact our optician today at

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