What makes a woman look beautiful?

What makes a woman look beautiful?

What do you think of ‘feminine beauty’… was it created by nature or is it a human creation?

I think all women and all those who have daughters should watch this video.

Does being considered beautiful help a person, specially a woman, live a better life? If she does not make a career out of it, how does being seen as beautiful affect her life?

Would you agree with this,

“I see my body as an instrument, rather than an ornament.  ~Alanis Morissette, quoted in Reader’s Digest, March 2000″

Would you agree with these lines by Maya Angelou? Would you consider such a woman beautiful?

“Pretty women wonder where my secret lies.
I’m not cute or built to suit a fashion model’s size
But when I start to tell them,
They think I’m telling lies.
I say
,
It’s in the reach of my arms
The span of my hips,
The stride of my step,
The curl of my lips.

I’m a woman…

It’s the fire in my eyes,
And the flash of my teeth,
The swing in my waist,
And the joy in my feet.”


Finally if your confidence comes from being beautiful, how confident would you feel surrounded by women who fit much better into general definitions of beauty?

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68 thoughts on “What makes a woman look beautiful?

  1. Seriously, it’s what in the heart that counts. What do you do when you’re over 40 and need botox?

    Me – TBG but what in the heart could count and make a woman look beautiful… do you mean sacrifice, kindness, love etc?

    And supposing she does get botox at 40 – and starts looking 30. I see that as a more technologically advanced version of bathing in donkey’s milk (Cleopatra did that) or applying turmeric or besan on the face.

    I would love to know what you think of all the other questions…

    • che! just missed! I read the post first instead of commenting first! :D

      But, you know – its the heart and the mind that counts.
      Physical beauty lasts only for sometime…

  2. its the heart…. the nature…feminine beauty is an over rated over hyped and over used concept by cosmetic companies.

    Me – Did you watch the video? … it’s short and very, very inspiring!

  3. Beauty is in itself quite subjective and a relative concept and yes there’s no use of beauty if you don’t make out a career out of that. It feels refreshing looking at pretty faces but they cannot be substituted with the more necessary qualities a women needs to succeed.

    You definitely would love to see katrina Kaif in the movie but not make her the CEO of your company or for that matter your wife/girlfriend (if she consents though :P)

    However, inner beauty is always desirable!

    Me – Well said Ashish!

  4. I loved the video! Nice beat! Made me feel like stamping my feet, shaking my head like crazy and dancing!
    And being beautiful does affect a woman’s life, even if she doesn’t make a career out of it. Like you said, confidence.
    I might feel horribly unconfident in a room full of conventionally beautiful women. (but i think this might have to do with the other stereotypes we fix to beauty: bitchiness, pettiness, snobbishness or at the other extreme, purity and ‘goodness’. Did you just picture a brunette and a blond? :P) On the other hand, I might not. It miiiiight depend on the compliments i was paid on the way to the room ;D , or how much i love my new shoes!

    Beauty is subjective. Some people do look at us through the eyes of society’s perceptions. Others have their own ideas of beauty.

    I like what Maya Angelou says. The woman in the poem is confident, and loves herself just the way she is. That is the secret of her beauty. She sees her body as an instrument too.
    She’s fit “The stride of my step” and loves her strong, glowing limbs
    and
    She’s confident “The curl of my lips….the flash of my teeth” and other women see it.

    Basically, when she looks in a mirror, she’s proud of what she sees.
    And i think that’s what beauty is all about.

    • Wow, u have said it so right…It is more on confidence than any other attribute. But when I was researching for an article on plastic surgery, I talked to a pschycologist and she was saying that in a competitive world that we are in today, beauty gives us the added advantage…
      I am not so sure, beauty I feel lies in the eyes of the beholder and the confidence of the person, the inner beauty does shine …

    • Very well said BlabberBlah & Sindhu :)

      I loved the poem for the confidence that radiates in her personality and the wonderful feeling of being content with herself.

      I believe it’s when we stop being biased by the preset criteria of looking at woman & judging them by their appearances, only then can we start appreciating the enormous strength and powers women hold.

      Beauty of a woman lies in her being humble, caring and ever-giving despite the powers she possesses.

      A very beautiful post IHM :)

  5. I loved the quote too. In these days of never tiring labeling of woman’s body as a commodity, considering it an ornament is something that we need to do-so that we can count our blessings.
    Thanks for giving an opportunity to read the marvellous poem by Maya Angelou once again.

  6. More than being ‘considered’ beautiful, she should ‘ feel’ beautiful. That is what helps her to live a better life. I guess the rest comes automatically once she feels she is beautiful.

    • That is exactly what I feel. The feeling inside that you are beautiful, no matter the broad hips, or the love handles :P!, that is what makes you beautiful! Well said, mampi :) Long time since I visited you… wl do so in a couple of days :)

  7. When Morisette calls her body an instrument, what purpose does she think the instrument serves? IMHO, it’s not healthy to think of one’s body as anything other than an extension of oneself. Looking at it in any other way objectifies what shouldn’t be objectified.

    Beauty of course is highly culture specific. I find the Mona Lisa quite plump and yet she was considered a beauty by the standards of her time.

    I’m not quite sure as to the effect of a woman’s beauty in a workplace. For men at least, being handsome has been shown to improve their careers significantly. It may or may not hold true for women.

    Me – I thought thinking of your body as an instrument means you take care of your health, and you remember that this instrument enables you to be alive … I guess it also gives the owner of the instrument the option of using it to make a living out of it.

  8. I love the poem….it never fails to bring me up when I’m having a particularly self-loathing episode…

    This is a great website I found, by a fellow Aussie:

    http://www.beautifulyoubyjulie.com/

    This is also an interesting discussion I found in regards to perception of women and fashion, focusing on dressing for (in their case academia) corporate type situations:

    http://www.academichic.com/2010/04/11/roundtable-discussion-fashion-in-academia-part-ii/

    Me – Going through your links :)

  9. Many say and may be believe that what is in the heart and mind is what actually matters. But come to think of what happens in daily life. A better looking girl has a better chance at almost everything. I’d say it gives her an edge, adds that extra something to her personality. tho beauty is not always skin deep, outer beauty does affect our life.

    I’ve seen innumerable instances of girl’s self confidence taking a hit because the next girl looked better than her. But it’s not really the girl, it’s the society that has conditioned everybody to think that way.

    Though I’d personally not distinguish or discriminate based on skin color and bodily features, I’d definitely look at myself after I’ve seen someone better. If you know what I mean. Everybody wants to look beautiful, though they know its not be all end all of the world. And yes it does sometimes reach heights.

    Me – Do you think women seem to be more affected by this than men are?

  10. The argument on which is more desirable, outer or inner beauty, would never come to an end. Cosmetic companies depend and cash in on the general conceptions of beauty and no matter how much we try to make everyone understand about inner beauty being the one that counts and stays with you till the end, no one won’t agree with it open-heartedly.

    Beauty lies in the eyes of the beholder…and before anyone else we should see and feel ourselves as beautiful. When we grow old our face will be wrinkly and our skin saggy, but our mind, heart and soul would be brighter, wiser and contented than ever. What beauty are we talking about then?

  11. What makes women beautiful is what lies within them :) I always say I am beautiful within.
    loved the post lots.
    I think “beautifulness ” lies in your thoughts, attitude, conduct and in a big way in being oneself.

  12. IHM, There was a little girl, who was teased mercilessly about being dark when little. (You might know who I am talking about). Some other family members were very fair. The family didnt care , but everyone else made it their business to comment. Old and young In school etc.

    She was introduced to and excelled swimming (and does so till today). That gave her a great sense of self esteem, and a separate identity, and huge confidence when she interacted with folks. She even thrashed a fellow in the pool when she was around 10. :-) Today, her swimming keeps her fit, she is able to indulge in all the fashions and stuff that young folks do. Her classmates think she has great dress sense. But she still has a nice snub nose, very curly hair and the same complexion, but wonderful skin tone. A standing example of sport must be encouraged amongst girls.

    Really, the family must teach her by example what importance to give beauty and why . Excessive attention to shape, and color is not advised….to health, is.

    I am just copying that wonderful Maya Angelou poem for her . thank you for posting this !

    Me – Suranga, what a inspiring story! I am glad you liked the video too!! I found it inspiring and invigorating, it made me want to be fit and made me want to show it to every woman I know…

  13. I think the thought of ‘inner beauty’ and ‘handsome is as handsome does’ are all wishful thinking and belong in beauty pageants. The world is a cruel place. Beauty works for the beautiful. Good looking people of average intelligence get ahead far more easily than their less fortunate counterparts. Thats when you have to wear your confidence like a weapon and grab what you want! Often a frustrating experience and likely to make you very aggressive and bitter.

    Me- I agree Deepa, good looks do help men and women, only difference is men can afford to ignore such pressures more easily than women can …

  14. any one who is warm. you know the kinds who just smile and make you feel better, who can embrace with a look. they are the most beatiful for me. just writing this, all those wonderful faces (uneven features and all) flash in my mind. they are beautiful. that’s why i find one of my sisters, my daughters, jane goodall, many of my friends absolutely gorgeous. they make me snug and happy.

    and isn’t maya angelou the bestest?!

    Me- YES… and saying yes, I too am picturing the faces I find beautiful – not all conventionally beautiful. :) Did you like the video? I loved the beats and the inspiring message!

  15. “What makes a woman look beautiful?” — Her boy friend, or in my case, her husband ! :D :D :D :D :D

    Me – In some ways people close to us do have the power to influence how we look, interact or how we feel about ourselves. If a man is encouraging and if he truly admires, likes and respects his wife – she will feel more confident and look good too.

    Have you heard of the famous story of Eight Cows – about this ordinary looking woman on Fiji Island??

  16. Beauty is subjective and that’s why they say it lies in the eyes of the beholder. To me, Confidence is beautiful, ability to strike a chord with people around you makes one beautiful, ability to reach out to others makes one beautiful, ability to stand up for yourself makes one beautiful, ability to look in the mirror and say to yourself ‘wow, I am beautiful’ makes one beautiful.
    Loved the video, sports has so many benefits, not only girls but everyone should be encouraged to participate in them.

  17. I do think beauty helps enhance confidence. But there are millions of women who are confident for what they are as a person. I think beauty can only add brownie points to the confidence level you have otherwise!

    I don’t completely agree with Maya Angelou. Though these things do make you charming, I think what makes someone beautiful is the person’s CHARACTER and how they treat others–esp those less lucky than them!

    Beauty lies in the behaviour…in how you treat elders…your parents…the underlings… :D And it’s the same for men and women.

    The other “general definitions of beauty” are based on fairness and skin and beauty products and all that! True beauty is the person you are!

  18. Beauty from within is what makes a woman beautiful. You could be the most beautiful woman on earth but a golden heart is what attracts everyone to you :)

  19. i would love to say that ONLY heart matters! i live like that considering i am not conventionally pretty. but it is far from the truth otherwise fairness creams wont have such a brisk business would they?! :(

    as a society we are all still very far from being able to look beyond what is skin deep and then actually appreciate and accept it as beautiful!

    i was talking to my mom the other day about this whole dark and fair thing. she said no things have changed. and she said there is a friend of hers who is dark but has really nice features. and i said See! she was like what are you talking about?! i said why did you use the word “but”. and i know my mom is not conventional. yet this whole thing is so deep into your subconscious that we dont even notice it. we wont say she is fair But has pretty features?! :)

    how we look isnt what beautiful is, but only a handful of people around us will know that! i know i was constantly compared to my better looking parents. but they kept giving me confidence saying i had a personality and intellect. that i was street smart and could take care of anything. and it helped. i went through “ugly” phases where i wished i was conventionally good looking, but the solid base my parents gave me kept me sane and stable!

    even today there are times i wish i could look dazzling hot. but i have also reached a stage where i am comfortable in my skin and know those who will like me will like me for what i am as a person.

    but it isnt easy reaching this stage! :)

    similarly conventionally pretty people too face their own issues where people refuse to look beyond their faces. but yes, they CAN get away with a lot more and not necessarily because they WANT to, but because people around want to please them! :)

    sorry for the rambling comment! dunno how much sense it made!

    cheers!

    Me- Made a lot of sense Abha, I agree with everything… I feel if we like ourselves, we look good to others also. I have seen women who are not beautiful by conventional standards but look great, because of their attitude or personality…

      • starry, the thing is lot of us dont even realise that the But says it all. like my mom isnt someone who believes fair is beautiful. she has a dark skinned daughter for chrissakes! but the conditioning is so deep, its unbelievable!

        someday all this will change! i live in hope! i have had a cousin tell me that i should give Cub honey because it helps “almost fair” or marginally wheatish” kids beocme pura gora! gah!!!

        • Abha, I get stupid comments for my daughter too…it’s tiring to have to keep combating them…but I WILL do anything to prevent her from believing she’s less than beautiful because of her skin colour or any other flimsy nonsense like that. Hope you gave your cousin some gyaan!

    • I find a lot of dark women exceptionally beautiful – and for them to be fairer would ruin their looks.

      In fact, one of the things I never can understand is – do women themselves feel that dark skin is ugly, or is it forced onto them by men? Or is it one of those impressions that feed on what exists and becomes stronger?

      It’s quite hilarious actually. The Mahabharat refers to Draupadi as “Dark as a rain bearing cloud”. And Arjun was always “dark and handsome”. Krishna was of course the ultimate dark stud.

      And what do we do with these gorgeous gods? We paint them blue! I mean….blue? Wtf. And in the serial depiction of mahabharat, Draupadi was fair. Talk about disrespect for source material.

      So what’s the funda here? Is it firang worship?

      • I agree…that blue really puts me off. Why tiptoe around ‘dark’ skin? It’s a fact for the majority of Indians. It’s total ‘white-man’ worship and self-hate.

        And if you notice, the figures who ARE shown with dark skin in our mythological comics and paintings are always the BAD guys…the asuras, rakshasas and the losers. That’s the beginning of the conditioning. :(

  20. Every Woman IS beautiful! There is no doubt about that.

    The problem these days is, we have let others decide our level of beauty. Our beauty lies within….in what we know and think of ourself. Not what others think of us

    .

    If we know we are beautiful human(e) beings…noone can change that fact with any amount of external critique. We just need to BELIEVE!
    Much Love,
    Z~

    Me – I agree Zeenat , well said :)

  21. Marvellous ad…IHM…made me feel some of the power in us girls n women that society works so hard to make us believe isn’t there. I really really want my daughter to get passionate about some sport…I hope I can give her the opportunities and support to make it happen.

    Me- I loved the video, and it reminded me of the fact (and I had blogged about it too) that little girls are discouraged from playing in the sun so they look beautiful… what good is beauty if the body is not fit?

  22. i sincerely believe that it is how comfortable a woman is with herself and how confident she is about herself that makes her attractive, beautiful or whatever similar adjective u give her!

    Me – I agree.

  23. IHM a few days back I saw a tweet that said this find it hilarious when fugly girls lament lack of eligible boys.Like beggars complaining of scarcity of champagne

    Made me want to barf really.
    Such people make me wonder. Then questions of ‘beauty’ go right out of my mind and I can just say WTF?

    Will send you the link.

  24. Beauty is related to physical appearance. There is no inner beauty and such. When you talk of a beautiful place, painting, woman , man whatever it is always about the visuals.

    The other words for “inner beauty” would be – kind, generous, compassionate etc.

    As for deriving confidence from one’s beauty – it is natural. One derives confidence from anything good that one possess be it beauty, any acquired skill or anything else. And yes one who derives the confidence from that “skill” would be threatened when someone with better “skills” enters the competition.

  25. Aaah, I couldn’t have agreed more with you!
    I hate it when people judge a lady by her appearance and personality, her confidence or the lack of it..
    Every woman is beautiful in the skin and nature she’s born with..
    Unless of course some mean minded ladies don’t appear beautiful to me at all,
    look at them in any possible angle!
    What’s within shows without..
    So the fire in her eyes and the sway of her hips would do a lot to define her beauty quotient, if we’re discussing the goodlookers or otherwise!
    Thanks for sharing such a good video clip …
    And raising a subject that is pivotal for most women’ mental set-up & psychology!

  26. Hi IHM,

    I need some help for a friend. She’s beyond all mental abuse. The only reason she put up w/ everything is for her 2 daughters. And the only way I can help her is listen to her …. but she needs help …. else she might even end up hurting herself and her kids.

    She is in kerala

  27. I have not got a chance to watch the video. But i think Fashion world has defined diffrent norms for beauty and beautiful women. Which i am sure has influenced every women in some or other manner in this world. No dobut its the inner beauty which matters most. But what about the guys saying “At a first glance its the beauty which catches your eyes..inner beauty comes after that ” ;-)

    • The video says (watching the girls play and listening to the beat is incomparable of course)

      Give A Girl A Ball
      A Female Coach
      A Safe Field
      A Team
      She Gets More Confident
      Stronger
      Prouder
      And More Connected
      She will start saying
      Yes to Speaking Up
      Yes to owning her body
      Yes to a Bigger Life
      Yes to New Horizons
      It’s her right
      And hers
      And hers
      And theirs
      Invest in changing girls lives through sports
      SHARE THIS WITH TEN FRIENDS TODAY
      Empowering girls through sports

      Link:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G5AzLDn3BHA&feature=related

  28. Oh! Its the physical beauty that strikes everybody, at first! But its the emotional beauty that appeals everybody at all the times. :)

    And very beautiful and inspiring video! :)

  29. I love your blog and I love it all the more when it said – “I see my body as an instrument, not an ornament”!!!

    Made a friend of addicted to good looks and fairness creams read this! Your blog makes me happy and proud and a bit snooty too when i think “I am a woman” ;p .. that’s allowed right?

    Me- Thank You Sagarika!! :) You are most welcome to feel just a little snooty :lol: ;)

  30. awesome videoo IHM …i love the lines …give her a safe field ..a team ..:) sports give u strentgh and fitness …but personally istopped playing after 10th ..when i started growing nails ..:) ..and i hate getting tanned ..and after a day outdoors will take bath with milk / curd to get rid of tan … and at the same time i love dark skin on guys and some women ..but will it stop me from liking a dark skined person ..will i make frends with anyone just for skin color …i’ll be a fool if i do …

  31. Actually the difficult thing is to feel young at heart, when the body shows signs of ageing. :) And if we can do that – feel young at heart – always, we have the best life !!! :)

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