Appearances, an universal concern

Essay by SydneyHigh School, 11th gradeA-, July 1996

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A desire to appear attractive is universal; it permeates all cultures and peoples, and stretches from the past to the present. Throughout history, both men and women have gone to great lengths to become more attractive. In all parts of the world, people take many different measures to beautify themselves. Even move, the animal world also exhibits the desire to be attractive. Male birds of paradise, with their brilliant hues, contrast sharply with the females. Male peacocks have stunning tail-feathers that are obviously used to attract females as well.

Although it is true that a subgroup of all peoples have expended great sums of money and energy to put themselves through a great deal of usually self-imposed tribulation and suffering, it is easy to discern the different perceptions of beauty held by various groups. These perceptions vary greatly abetween groups, which are demarcated by class, cultural, geographical, chronological, and religious borders, to name a few.

What may be considered very attractive by one group may even be seen as repulsive in another. The gangster with tattoos all over his body, clothed in attire that is much too large, with rings in all the most unexpected places, and sporting an outrageous hairdo, considers himself very attractive indeed. Yet, so do the tall, smartly dressed businesspersons with their suit, tie, and white handkerchief. Men and women of the Victorian era, when women's ankles were not even permitted to be exposed, would surely be shocked at the revealing outfits that have been donned by members of today's society. In other words, one's perception of beauty is greatly influenced by the surrounding environment and the social groups to which he belongs. Yet, whatever one's perception of beauty, one thing is the same. This is that all have taken great pains about their appearance.