What Makes Something Beautiful?

What Makes Something Beautiful?

Is there a concrete way to measure beauty?
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The idea of beauty, and what is beautiful and what isn’t, seems to be one of those questions that doesn’t have an answer, or at the very least, not one that everyone can agree with. That may be because unlike certain characteristics, such as height, weight, or color, there is no objective way to measure a “quantity” of beauty. Instead, what it comes down to is personal opinion from others as to whether or not someone, or something, is beautiful. But even then, there is no general consensus on what characteristics constitute a “beautiful” person or object, because opinions generally vary depending on where you go, and everybody will have their own unique preferences. Attempting to concretely define “beauty” requires delving into the various questions that arise when trying to sort out exactly who or what should fall into the realm of the "beautiful".

The first issue that arises when attempting to discern beauty is the conflicting nature of physical beauty as opposed inner beauty. There is a saying that “beauty is only skin deep,” but certainly one’s inner qualities must have some influence on that person’s measure of beauty. Is a person who has physically “beautiful” qualities, but a terrible personality, considered holistically beautiful? If not, are they then just “half beautiful?” And in the reverse situation, if the way someone looks isn’t very appealing to your taste, yet you know how amazing of a person they really are, are they just “really nice,” or can they too be considered beautiful? In a way, it really depends on how much the individual assessing that person’s beauty values their specific inner and outer qualities, which in itself can be affected by a variety of factors or bias. For instance, if a man would be considered all around beautiful, both inside and out, but has a distinct resemblance to someone that a person has an intense hatred for, chances are that particular person would be hard pressed to find that man to be beautiful. No matter how widely accepted their attractiveness is, an individual’s level beauty is at the mercy of whatever preferences the one judging them holds.

But even beyond the realm of physical and inner beauty is the argument over whether or not beauty is limited to that which we can observe with our eyes. Though sight may be most widely associated with beauty, surely it couldn’t be the only one of five senses to be able to experience it. Plenty of people would be willing to describe a piece of music, or perhaps someone’s voice, as beautiful. And, unlike visual beauty, it is much easier to distinguish the good sounds from the bad, as there are certain pitches or tones that are universally regarded as unpleasant, and vice versa. But what about things that can’t be seen or heard? More abstract ideas, such as feelings, have been described as beautiful in the past. Spending time with someone you care about or just enjoy being around may produce a feeling inside that, although difficult to explain, can only be described as beautiful. Perhaps upon a first impression, one may not consider someone else to be particularly beautiful, but upon spending enough time with them, discovers how wonderful they really are through the beautiful feeling they get every time they’re with them. And what about actions? A man proposing to his significant other may or may not be visually appealing, but the atmosphere it creates could easily be described by those witnessing it as beautiful. President Obama giving a heartfelt speech on the tragedies surrounding gun control evokes emotion and commands respect because it is delivered beautifully.

So where does one go from here? The closest “definition” that one could come up with for beauty would have to encompass a broad spectrum of ideas and topics. Though objective qualifications of beauty are heard to come by, there is one general aspect that all things considered beautiful share: they all make us feel good inside. As simple as it may sound, this claim is undeniable. Think about what influence beauty has on you upon experiencing it. Whether it be a person, sound, or feeling, it always leaves you wanting a bit more, yet strangely content with the amount you have just witnessed. True beauty reminds you of just how amazing something can be, a sentiment that is often forgotten between glimpses of its magnificence. In a less philosophical sense, one could be left with this: Beauty is the sense created by a person, object, feeling, action, or anything else that leaves one dumbstruck at the idea that something could be so inherently amazing.

Cover Image Credit: women's health magazine

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​An Open Letter To The People Who Don’t Tip Their Servers

This one's for you.
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Dear Person Who Has No Idea How Much The 0 In The “Tip:" Line Matters,

I want to by asking you a simple question: Why?

Is it because you can't afford it? Is it because you are blind to the fact that the tip you leave is how the waiter/waitress serving you is making their living? Is it because you're just lazy and you “don't feel like it"?

Is it because you think that, while taking care of not only your table but at least three to five others, they took too long bringing you that side of ranch dressing? Or is it just because you're unaware that as a server these people make $2.85 an hour plus TIPS?

The average waiter/waitress is only supposed to be paid $2.13 an hour plus tips according to the U.S. Department of Labor.

That then leaves the waiter/waitress with a paycheck with the numbers **$0.00** and the words “Not a real paycheck." stamped on it. Therefore these men and women completely rely on the tips they make during the week to pay their bills.

So, with that being said, I have a few words for those of you who are ignorant enough to leave without leaving a few dollars in the “tip:" line.

Imagine if you go to work, the night starts off slow, then almost like a bomb went off the entire workplace is chaotic and you can't seem to find a minute to stop and breathe, let alone think about what to do next.

Imagine that you are helping a total of six different groups of people at one time, with each group containing two to 10 people.

Imagine that you are working your ass off to make sure that these customers have the best experience possible. Then you cash them out, you hand them a pen and a receipt, say “Thank you so much! It was a pleasure serving you, have a great day!"

Imagine you walk away to attempt to start one of the 17 other things you need to complete, watch as the group you just thanked leaves, and maybe even wave goodbye.

Imagine you are cleaning up the mess that they have so kindly left behind, you look down at the receipt and realize there's a sad face on the tip line of a $24.83 bill.

Imagine how devastated you feel knowing that you helped these people as much as you could just to have them throw water on the fire you need to complete the night.

Now, realize that whenever you decide not to tip your waitress, this is nine out of 10 times what they go through. I cannot stress enough how important it is for people to realize that this is someone's profession — whether they are a college student, a single mother working their second job of the day, a new dad who needs to pay off the loan he needed to take out to get a safer car for his child, your friend, your mom, your dad, your sister, your brother, you.

If you cannot afford to tip, do not come out to eat. If you cannot afford the three alcoholic drinks you gulped down, plus your food and a tip do not come out to eat.

If you cannot afford the $10 wings that become half-off on Tuesdays plus that water you asked for, do not come out to eat.

If you cannot see that the person in front of you is working their best to accommodate you, while trying to do the same for the other five tables around you, do not come out to eat. If you cannot realize that the man or woman in front of you is a real person, with their own personal lives and problems and that maybe these problems have led them to be the reason they are standing in front of you, then do not come out to eat.

As a server myself, it kills me to see the people around me being deprived of the money that they were supposed to earn. It kills me to see the three dollars you left on a $40 bill. It kills me that you cannot stand to put yourself in our shoes — as if you're better than us. I wonder if you realize that you single-handedly ruined part of our nights.

I wonder if maybe one day you will be in our shoes, and I hope to God no one treats you how you have treated us. But if they do, then maybe you'll realize how we felt when you left no tip after we gave you our time.

Cover Image Credit: Hailea Shallock

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'Captain Marvel' Shares An Important Message That Shouldn’t Be Underestimated

Captain Marvel is an important movie from the perspective of the young audience it addresses.

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(This article is without spoilers.)

From the time Captain Marvel was released, on March 8, there has been a lot of press surrounding the movie. There have been parties both advocating for and arguing against the character that Bree Larson brought to life. Controversies, particularly, were plenty; from media sources and generally, people critiquing Lardon for her lack of smiling during promotional events (to which Bree Larson had an amazing comeback) to the parallel derision and celebration of the idea of a feminist Marvel movie.

I personally watched Captain Marvel a couple of weeks after it was released and after having minimal preconceptions, including avoiding watching the trailer and scanning any reviews. I'd avoided spoilers and newspaper articles for the most part simply because I wanted to form my own opinion. I had done the same with Wonder Woman and Black Panther because of the extreme expectations placed on the cast, crew and whole conception, itself.

I'm not gonna lie. I took some issue with the progression and flow of the plot, and some of the character development was patchy. However, that's not what I primarily took from the experience of watching it.

When I exited after watching, the first thing I saw was an excited little boy jumping enthusiastically after walking out of the theater. Aggressive, playful bouncing with a fake blaster was interlaced with "Guys did you see that?", "And then she kicked him in the back!", and "That was so cool!" What I could reflect on was how little anything other than Captain Marvel could be a topic of conversation in my class of second-graders and how they would run to play as her on the playground. I could feel their shaking anticipation when both my boys and girls talked about which superheroes to be for Halloween and they could go back and forth debating being Wonder Woman or Captain Marvel. I recognized how disappointed one of my fifth-grade newspaper students was when he realized he couldn't write a review for the school paper because of the movie's PG-13.

Because when you're ten and see a hero on screen that speaks to you and who you identify as, you're not following the consistency of the character arc and how the narrative follows the 3-act structure. It's not that Rotten Tomatoes comprises a team of elementary schoolers who write professional reviews.

As far as I'm concerned, and as far as I believe most people should be concerned, if the next generation of filmmakers and movie-goers find themselves wanting to experience more movies that present positive messages and instill self-confidence then we've done our job as the generations that will give them that. Our role is to identify and understand the value of these movies and characters and pass them along. Look to the kids. They know what they're talking about.

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