Is Beauty Subjective? Meaning, Determinants, Etc.

Share this:

Do you think beauty is subjective? You will often hear people compliment or remark about your look along the lines of “You look beautiful in that,” “Those are gorgeous on you,” “You are beautiful today,” etc.

These are compliments anyone who puts effort into their beauty and outfit would love to hear.

Yet, not everyone will tell you these things. Some might even give you an offhand remark that is quite unpleasant.

This gets you wondering if beauty is truly subjective – that is, to each their own – or if there are criteria you have to have to be considered beautiful.

This article looks at the meaning of beauty, whether it is subjective, what makes it subjective, and the general things that will make you be considered beautiful.

What is the definition of beauty?

Beauty is a complex concept to define because it cannot be captured in a concrete understanding of things.

However, to simplify things, beauty can be defined as an aesthetic quality pleasing to the senses or the mind. It is often associated with qualities like elegance, balance, harmony, proportion, and symmetry.

You can find beauty in various forms. This includes nature, art, music, literature, fashion, life, and even people.

Regarding people, beauty means the ideal or a standard of perfection to strive for – both in terms of physical appearance and personal qualities. It is not only the structure and proportions of the face that make it appealing.

Besides, beauty also includes aesthetic qualities and positive character traits, such as kindness, intelligence, and grace.

Therefore, the beauty of a person is the aesthetics of facial proportions, abstract character traits, and personal presence.

Is beauty subjective?

Yes, beauty is subjective. By its definition, beauty does not have a defined meaning; it can change based on the perspective (judgment) of an individual. What one person considers beautiful, another person may not find attractive at all.

There is no objective standard for beauty that everyone agrees upon. While some would argue that beauty can be objective because of generic elements, others think that beauty is defined by the judgment of a person.

Nonetheless, beauty is often influenced by certain factors that can be classified into determinants. These criteria differ from person to person. You won’t have the exact values as another individual (it can be close but not 100 percent the same).

What are the determinants of beauty?

While beauty can be subjective, there are general determinants of beauty. These determinants are not universal. They can vary depending on the values you hold.

Cultural norms and values

Beauty standards can be heavily influenced by cultural norms and values. This can vary widely across different societies and periods.

The collective values and norms of a society or culture have an impact on what you see as beautiful. That’s why people from different continents and races have different standards of beauty.

Physical characteristics

Specific physical characteristics are universally attractive because they are associated with health, fertility, and genetic fitness.

These include body shape, height, hair color, eye color, facial structure, and skin color, among others. Physical features should not be the defining qualities of beauty. However, it does play a significant role in determining human attractiveness.

Personal experiences and preferences

Your individual experiences and preferences can also play a role in determining what you find beautiful.

For instance, if you grew up in a coastal area may find ocean scenery more beautiful than someone who grew up in a city.

Symmetry and proportion

Symmetrical faces and bodies, as well as features that are proportional to each other, are generally perceived as more beautiful. This also has to do with physical characteristics.

However, when it comes to art and abstract things, it may and may not apply.

Emotional expression

How you express yourself emotionally can also play a role in determining what you consider beautiful.

For instance, you may find someone who is warm and friendly more beautiful than someone cold and aloof. This can be the other way around for another person. This means your emotional reactions are what make you see something as beautiful.

How subjective beauty relates to attraction

Physical attraction is also subjective. It is personal to you and only you. However, it relies on your beauty determinants and perception.

Consequently, this makes attraction and beauty closely related. Beauty is a key factor in what attracts people to each other.

When you find someone or something beautiful, it can evoke feelings of pleasure and attraction. That’s because attraction (physical in particular) is often based on perceptions of physical beauty.

You may be attracted to a person who you find physically beautiful, whether it’s because of their facial features, body shape, or other physical qualities.

However, attraction can also be influenced by other factors, such as personality, intelligence, sense of humor, and other qualities that may be considered beautiful in a non-physical way.

Regardless, while physical beauty may initially attract you to someone, it is not necessarily the only or most important factor in developing a lasting and fulfilling relationship.

Always note that while attraction and beauty are important factors in forming relationships, they are just one part of the larger picture.


beauty is subjective

Do you have to be beautiful to be attractive?

No, you don’t. Attraction is based on preference. Sometimes, it is more than beauty that determines who you can be attracted to and who can be attracted to you.

Why is beauty not seen as an objective?

Because there are so many variations of beauty standards. Moreover, beauty is described based on factors that vary according to emotions and preferences. Therefore, beauty is not often seen as objective.

What is inner beauty?

Inner beauty refers to the qualities of a person that go beyond their physical appearance.

It is the combination of personality, values, beliefs, and character. It is basically what makes you beautiful from the inside out. You can describe it as the abstract aspect of beauty that resonates from within.


People put a lot of effort into looking beautiful. This includes wearing makeup, going for cosmetic surgeries, or other means (as long as it is legal and safe).

Nonetheless, while you strive to make yourself look beautiful, you should remember that beauty is subjective. Not everyone would see what you see. And that is okay.

Having confidence in what you consider beauty is all that matters. And if your criteria say something or you are beautiful, then it is so.

Beauty may be subjective, and if you want to wear makeup, you should do it right. Learn how to tell you are wearing too much makeup.

Thanks for reading.