By Joanna Fanuko

Customarily, culturally, and often by misogynists, women are seen as the fairer sex. With so many new ways to express gender, the stereotype is slowly evaporating and becoming a view of the past, though not without a fight from the masses of men who fall into that latter category.

Beauty was a strictly female superlative only a generation ago. My Baby Boomer parents of the Mad Men era can attest to this (though they are on the younger end of the spectrum). Millennials are expressing their gender in more open and accepting ways, and beauty does not have to be a she/her pronoun-specific concept. Men and women and LGBTQ and everything in between are tapping into their beauty. I think this comes from barriers being broken about the traditional definition of beauty.

Define Beauty?

You can’t. At least not anymore. Photoshopped magazine models, celebrities, and the famous (oh my!) are drifting away from picture-perfect, to a more realistic imagining of what is beautiful. Beauty is still often seen as surface-level, but much more individualistic.

Look at art. I’ve always seen art as subjective. A piece of art is beautiful to one person, ugly to another, and that is where I always find no lines drawn (pun intended) between the two. People versed in historical and modern art may be able to objectively discern good art from bad art. But we can interpret it in our own unique ways.

What I am getting at is this: beauty is in the eye of the beholder. And we are not a fascist human race. We are seeing our differences as beautiful in their own rights. Optimistically, we will continue to embrace our different and individual looks, the beauty we find in others and partners, and continue to make the world better for the next generation.

Beauty is No Longer Skin Deep

Maybe social media has made an underlying impact on beauty, for the better. We are connected at the touch of our keypads to the entire world. We are more exposed to, versed in, and accepting of other cultures. And we are using our voices, even if they are typed tweets and not always spoken.

Selfies exist, sure. I take a selfie at least once a week. But I also embrace my mind, spirit, and soul as a beautiful expression of myself. Writing is what helped me find my beauty again, after many years of silent suffering from a rape trauma. Beauty is no longer skin deep. And finding that out made me feel beautiful from the inside-out again.

Let Your Inner Beauty Shine

Let’s keep up the momentum of our generation pushing the boundaries of consumeristic versions of what is beautiful! There is no longer a checklist, a standard, or a norm. And outer, “conventional” beauty is not what defines us. Embrace the beauty in your passions, your interests, and your unique voice. Your contributions to the world that keep earth better than where we left it are the real beauty pageant winners. Be you, and your beauty will ooze.

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