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The age of delusion

by Greg Krehbiel on 5 May 2017

Moronikos tweeted a link to this delusional article: I’m The Most Beautiful Woman In The World.

I would say this is getting ridiculous, but we’ve been past ridiculous for several years.

Just last night I was walking through Union Station and saw a pair of old, fat, not particularly attractive women wearing shirts that said something … . Honestly, I can’t even remember what the words on the shirt were. I think my mind is protecting me from the memory. Suffice it to say they were crazy.

The problem seems simple. We value beauty. Therefore, in a paroxysm of illogic, some people want to say that anything valuable must be beautiful. Since every person is valuable, every person is beautiful.

No. No. No.

Every person is valuable. True.

Every person is beautiful. False.

Get over it.

2017-05-05  »  Greg Krehbiel

Talkback x 21

  1. Robin R.
    5 May 2017 @ 3:22 pm

    But maybe there is a difference between “beautiful” and “attractive”. When people say that a woman is attractive, they usually mean that she is attractive from a male heterosexual point of view.

  2. Robin R.
    5 May 2017 @ 3:32 pm

    *When people say that a woman is beautiful

  3. Greg Krehbiel Greg Krehbiel
    5 May 2017 @ 3:34 pm

    I would insist that whether a woman is sexy must be defined by what male heterosexuals think, but I agree that other people can contribute to our standards of beauty.

  4. Robin R.
    5 May 2017 @ 3:38 pm

    But “beautiful” is not synonymous with “sexy”. The Mona Lisa is beautiful, but not sexy.

  5. William
    5 May 2017 @ 6:01 pm

    QUOTE: Every person is beautiful. False.

    Curious…since you assert everyone is not beautiful…how would you define beauty and what characteristics make some beautiful and others not?

  6. smitemouth
    5 May 2017 @ 6:19 pm

    I know it when I see it.

    Melania, beautiful. Michelle O, beautiful. Sarah Palin, beautiful. Hillary, not. Margaret Thatcher, not.

    Maggie Q, beautiful. Salma Hayek, beautiful. Rosie O’Donnell, not.

    Scientists can write algorithms to determine beauty. It has to do with symmetry and ratios and a whole bunch of other things.

  7. Greg Krehbiel Gregk
    5 May 2017 @ 6:53 pm

    I agree with SM. He makes two good points. 1. some of it has to do with symmetry. 2. it’s something you know when you see, and it’s hard to define.

  8. William
    5 May 2017 @ 6:54 pm

    QUOTE: I know it when I see it.

    Would this suggest that beauty has a subjective component?

    QUOTE: Melania, beautiful. Michelle O, beautiful. Sarah Palin, beautiful. Hillary, not. Margaret Thatcher, not.

    Would there be cross-cultural general consensus on these individuals?

  9. Greg Krehbiel Gregk
    5 May 2017 @ 7:00 pm

    I would be willing to bet that certain things are never considered beautiful. Like having missing teeth.

    There are cultural differences about some things, but some things are universal.

  10. William
    5 May 2017 @ 7:26 pm

    QUOTE: There are cultural differences about some things, but some things are universal.

    Maybe. It would be interesting to see research and understand if those things proved to be truly universal. I suspect that even items with high consensus, you’d find a subgroup or individuals that would deviate.

    Interesting side note about teeth and beauty. Westerners generally tend to find white, aligned teeth “beautiful”. Some within Japanese culture find misaligned teeth to be “beautiful” (and paying to have them put that way if it doesn’t happen naturally). Some within the Indonesian culture find filed teeth (to a sharp point) to be beautiful (and will endure pain to get them that way).

  11. Greg Krehbiel Gregk
    5 May 2017 @ 7:31 pm

    There are always exceptions, and people with strange tastes / opinions. I don’t think that overturns the general consensus.

  12. William
    5 May 2017 @ 7:55 pm

    It would be interesting to see empirical data that demonstrates what people assume to be universal beauty traits are indeed universal. As well, if those traits have endured the over time.

  13. pentamom
    5 May 2017 @ 10:40 pm

    She’s the most beautiful woman in the world — if she’s allowed to make up the definition of beautiful.

    This could be a fun game.

    I’m really tall at 5’3″ — since tall means I like to wear colorful socks. And I really, really like to wear colorful socks.

    I’m the smartest woman in the whole world — because “smart” means my everyday dishes are green, and “most in the whole world” means “because I feel like saying I am.”

  14. pentamom
    5 May 2017 @ 10:43 pm

    It’s true that beauty is hard to measure and to some degree subjective, but it’s not true that therefore every claim that something or someone is beautiful is equally valid. If the word “beautiful” didn’t have some general content we agreed on, it wouldn’t be a word useful for communication in any respect.

  15. Robin R.
    5 May 2017 @ 11:42 pm

    I am not sure. I remember a long time ago someone told me that he had an extensive record collection. I asked him “what kind of records?” and he replied: “Good records”. This didn’t tell me anything about the records, except maybe he liked them. It would have been no different if he had replaced the word “good” with “beautiful”.

    I suppose that the big difference between this case and a beautiful woman is that one really means an “attractive woman”, where “attractive” is taken to mean “appealing to male heterosexuals in our culture”.

    BTW, the choice of Julia Roberts as the most beautiful woman in the world is pushing the limits a bit. She a bit on the old side. People was apparently patriarchal ageism There is of course nothing wrong with being old (I am in fact older than she is), but there is widespread agreement that the beauty of a woman and the flower of youth go hand in hand. (I never thought she was all that beautiful when she was young, but that”s another issue.)

  16. Robin R.
    5 May 2017 @ 11:45 pm

    *She is a bit on the old side. People was apparently combatting patriarchal ageism

  17. William
    6 May 2017 @ 12:36 am

    If “beauty” is hard to define…how the heck do you objectively measure the “most beautiful” woman in the world and have a universal consensus? Interestingly enough, People magazine chose Julia Roberts and here we have Robin who says he didn’t think she was all that beautiful. As well, it seems the “most” beautiful changes annually. So, what happens to Julia next year? Does her beauty deminish within a few months and someone else objectively ascends to being the “most” beautiful in the world? Interesting stuff.

  18. smitemouth
    6 May 2017 @ 12:42 am

    It’s “People” magazine. If you are really asking those questions, you need to take up drinking.

  19. William
    6 May 2017 @ 12:51 am

    How do you know drinking isn’t the cause of the questions?…lol

  20. Robin R.
    6 May 2017 @ 5:52 am

  21. pentamom
    7 May 2017 @ 5:13 pm

    The fact that a word has to have content doesn’t preclude someone misusing it, though. Saying “I have good records” is either being rather tongue in cheek (which I’m assuming was the case) or is just dumb. What it surely doesn’t mean is that there’s no such thing as bad records, and all records are equally good.