2021 Abstracts Stage 2

To investigate representations and models of beauty with a view of understanding whether they are inherently oppressive or whether they can be a liberation if one “takes control” of them

This project will be looking into the representations and models of beauty with a view of understanding whether they are inherently oppressive or liberating. The beauty industry along with the media industry have advanced in such a way that we see a correlation with the rise of beauty standards and a decline in mental health in women (and sometimes men) in society today. Furthermore, it will be Investigating as well as arguing whether the beauty industry is truly corrupting the minds of the younger generations or whether they are aiding the younger generations in finding their liberation. The findings showed that mental health is suffering greatly amongst the youth and there are numerous statistics to show links to social media platforms, especially those promoting vanity. Even conservative countries like Saudi Arabia give crucial priority to the western industrialised culture and hence embark on the westernised criteria of beauty standards. The philosophers touched upon in the project including Georg Hegel, David Hume, as well as influential feminist thinkers like Kathy Davis and Kathryn Morgan have demonstrated that the underlying deeper motive for women’s bodies undergoing so much exploitation is all a consequence of wanting the approval of the male species.

2011 Abstracts Stage 2

What is True Beauty and How Does the Media Effect this View?

What is beauty in today’s society? Beauty should not be based purely on physical attributes. Essentially, my project argues that the media is wrong for constantly portraying unattainable body images of young men and women. The media persistently tells us what we should wear, how we should look, what size we should be; giving us a normative dimension that is not beauty as a fact, but as a value; something we want it to be.

We need to set ourselves free from the media’s conception of beauty and perfection. We need to use our philosophy to understand and discover what beauty really is; for it is more than what we presented in the media. If we disregard the media’s perfectionist views on beauty, we will be happier. A better understanding of what beauty is can liberate us from the obligation to look ‘perfect’. In the same way that when I do not believe in God, the Priest ceases to have power over me; when I do not believe in the media’s representation of beauty, the images cease to have power over me.

I aim to conclude my project firstly by agreeing that beauty is in the eye of the beholder. I certainly agree that beauty can be many different things to many different people. I shall use Plato, Kant and Hume to support my view.

2005 Abstracts Stage 3

Beautification and Mutilation: is Beauty in the Eye of the Beholder

Is someone who finds a tribal scarring ceremony beautiful wrong or justified to believe whatever they choose? This includes an exploration of the concept of beauty and its dimensions. Beauty will be mainly discussed in terms of the female; it is aimed towards beauty as a concept in modern times, regarding appearance rather than the aesthetics of art. The overall thesis of this discussion is that beauty, controversial as it can be, is in the eye of the beholder and therefore different cultures, times and context all have varying priorities and values regarding beauty. Chapter 1 What is beauty? The philosophical arguments regarding beauty. Different philosophical theories ranging from Plato to Kant and Santayana, concluding that the modern perspective is that beauty is subjective. However, is beauty the actual object or the feeling connected with beauty? Kirwin argues that the sensation of beauty is universal and therefore while the object is subjective the sensation is not. The biological argument, initiated by Darwin, that people perceive beauty in humans with regard to biological advantage is also discussed- does this make human beauty universal, what about homosexuals? Chapter 2 Case study-Warie Dirie, a description of infibulation and the cultural arguments surrounding it within a specific case. Debate on the justification of female circumcision, what are the concepts of beauty within this tradition? Chapter 3 Cosmetic surgery, its massive growth throughout the last ten years-why is it so popular-what are the aims, the problematization of age-what does this imply about beauty. Chapter 4 Feminist arguments about beauty, is beauty a ‘beauty myth’? Are women subordinated by the pressure to conform to an ideal? The aims and art of Orlan-challenging beauty through cosmetic surgery. Chapter 5 Different practices within cultures that are either beautifying or mutilating. A look at the rise in body modification through tattoos, piercings and scarification, what are the aims of these modifiers-to challenge cultural norms? Is it cultural imperialism to class something alien to us as mutilation? A discussion of whether or not one can impose a view upon another culture without being imperialist, a comparison of foot binding with female circumcision. Is beauty ideology? A glimpse at power through the eyes of Foucault, Lenin, Lukes and Marx. Conclusion-what does this all imply about beauty. A parallel between beauty and deformation with Calabrese’s notion of the neo-baroque and replicants, a homogenising of society. Harvey’s postmodern consumerist world. The Dove Report, what do Western women really feel about beauty. Philosophical implications of the differing viewpoints regarding beauty and perfection. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder??

2003 Abstracts Stage 3

Our Fairytale World of ‘Beauty’…

Beauty: There has been a pre-occupation with our society as far back as we can remember, yet we still cannot define it, due to its changing character. The fairy tale promises that we are raised on promise security, a prince Charming and that we will live ‘happily ever after’ if we attain beauty. In this project I will be investigating and forming my own concepts on the following: ~ The role of beauty in our Western selected traditional fairy tales and how they reflect our societies attitude towards it and their role in creating these conceptions. ~What constitutes a ‘beautiful’ woman in our society and how this has altered over time, is it just a fashion? ~The phenomenon of the beauty pageant and what it means to be ‘beautiful in our society. ~The desperation associated with achieving this ‘beauty’ and what happens when it goes ‘wrong.’ I will highlight these objectives using the concepts of Plotinus and the Enneads, where he looks at beauty, the soul and what constitutes beauty. I will also use some of the concepts of Kant aesthetics on ‘natural’ beauty, the purpose of beauty and the judgements of taste.