What the word “Beautiful” has meant throughout history

Photo by Dom Aguiar on Unsplash

Perceptions surrounding beauty and body types not only vary by culture, but have evolved significantly throughout history. Lots of us go through the world assuming that “beautiful” means what our culture says it does: smooth, symmetrical, clean, thin, delicate and young. But did you know that throughout history—and in cultures all over the world—“beautiful” has meant radically different things?


Age used to play a big role in this subject. Age was then the worst enemy of beauty. Age was not looked at based on the calendar years, but it was judged by appearance. Beauty was most attractive in youth while adulthood meant that beauty began to fade away. This was why many families married off their children when they were young because they were still considered “worthy”. Symmetrical face details and hourglass bodies regardless of size were what dominated the subject of beauty in the past. There were also many who believed that the paler you were, the richer you were. Whiteness was considered beauty, so let’s say that the word “beauty” really had different meanings throughout history.


Leading up to today, women are subject to what society defines as beautiful: small waists, long legs, narrow hips, long shining hair, foxy eyes, pumped lips, flawless skin and slim body. As for men, they are judged by muscle, tone, shape, hairy or hairless chests and any other masculine characteristics that determine beauty today. Something that also plays a big role in today’s view of beauty is the power of social media in the subject. Much of the body heat around what an attractive body should look like is edited into us humans on these platforms. The role of social media thus plays a major role in the meaning of the word at the moment, which you can read more about in our previous post “the role of social media in the beauty complex.”

Beauty comes from within, and the most important thing to remember within the meaning of this word is that you, only you, determine what beauty is to you. Our insides are what this word represents. Always remember that there is only one of you, and that is what makes you unique.

By Team Signature Reports
By Team Signature Reports