Tuesday, February 2, 2010

What do you think makes a woman beautiful?

Thank you to all of you who responded to the question, "What makes a woman beautiful?"  Here are the responses I got:

confident in her skin
light in her eyes
a certain sex appeal
luminosity of skin
connection with person
strength of character

"You know, my answer would be a smile. To me, it's the warmth of a smile that makes a woman beautiful. Do I notice hair, face, body? Absolutely I do! I sometimes even note body parts that are more pleasing to the eye than mine are, in my opinion. (Yes, I too grew up with those "Madison Avenue" stereotypes.) But it still is warmth, a smile, a look in the eyes that attracts me most and makes me decide someone is truly beautiful."
"To me, a woman is beautiful when she shows a smile that says 'I'm happy being who I am and I am interested in who you are.'"

"I think that Hugh Hefner, as just one symbolic figurehead of many, clearly damaged women AND men's appreciation for real women's bodies. This is very, very obvious, but I thought I'd pipe up with the politically-incorrect, culturally-stereotyped view of what makes a woman beautiful, that was TAUGHT to me and deeply inserted into my sexual conditioning, starting at around age 12 or earlier, by Hef, Madison Avenue, billboards, film and TV: what makes a woman beautiful is being under 30, slim, smooth-skinned, wrinkle-free, fat-free, cellulite-free, with long hair, preferably blonde, and a look in the eye that says "You know you want me." That is what many or even most men are up against in our heads when we begin to encounter the world of very real, and very beautiful women who are outside that image. Like I said, obvious; that's why you're doing what you're doing in the first place, right?"

That quote speaks directly to the question I'll be raising in a couple of days - what do you think the media wants us to think makes a woman beautiful?

Thank you so much to the people who responded.  It enriches the conversation greatly to have other input besides my own!

When I googled "beautiful women", I found a bunch of images of women with bedroom eyes looking like they were coming on to the guys looking for porn sites.  I tried to copy them to include here, but the images were blocked from copying. You can try yourself if you're interested.

I decided to try googling for other groups of beautiful women since only 20-things were coming up anyway.  When I googled "beautiful asian women" or "beautiful Indian women" or "beautiful old women", here are some of the images I found. I've also included a couple of my own photos in these. 
After looking at these images, do you have anymore input as to what you think constitutes a beautiful woman?


  1. this is what I emailed to Susan earlier today:
    HI Susan
    I have tried to answer your blog question several times now, but I keep getting bogged down with rambling thoughts. It's been a really difficult question to answer, as it isn't nearly as simple as it sounds. It's quite multi-faceted.
    I found myself editing my words, rethinking my ideas, censoring what I'd share, realizing I find most humans beautiful with rare exception, wanting to include men in the conversation (as objects of beauty), wondering how much of my thoughts were influenced by art training and how much by my upbringing and/or what I am accustomed to.
    See? I keep going on....

    What a question!

  2. I like what you say about finding most humans beautiful with rare exception. As I'm spending the day at the easel today painting a very beautiful woman, I'm wondering if I feel the same. Do I find them BEAUTIFUL? or innerly beautiful and outwardly perhaps otherwise? I think I respond if I find someone strikingly beautiful. If they are just normal, I think I'm less prone to respond one way or another. If they have strikingly jarring features, I think my initial response is to feel repugnance. Then I catch myself and soothe myself and approach them more neutrally. But I have to admit to that initial response. Is that cultural? biological? personal? Not sure.