Beauty is commonly defined as a subjective aspect of specific objects, which makes these objects enjoyable to see. These objects include sunsets, landscapes, humans, and artistic works of art. Beauty, along with beauty, is perhaps the most important theme of aesthetics, among the major branches of modern philosophy. The word ‘beauty’ was first used in English in the 18th century and is now used in a much broader range of contexts, including culture and law.
An example of a beauty essay is a work by Canadian writer Roxane Gay, who discusses the importance of being feminine, racialized and sexual. She argues that beauty can be located in the ‘whims’ of consumption, in the ability to ignore differences and in the ability to create something new out of ‘the same old.’ In her essay ‘What Is Beautiful?’ Gay applies the notion of beauty to clothing, culture, and literature and examines the representations of beauty in various forms of literature, ranging from advertising to literature.
In her article ‘The Inner Beauty Essay’, Gay criticizes the way that many people use beauty as a criterion for judging others, writing that beauty is a subjective feeling, which can vary from person to person, and that it is important to be honest about one’s own inner beauty. Gay contends that there is no such thing as the ideal beauty, instead beauty should be a neutral state. She describes her inner beauty as ‘a broad, unblemished canvas waiting for the artist to make a picture of it.’ She also writes that an inner beauty essay requires one to be honest about their own beauty, as beauty is based on perception, and if one cannot accept that they are beautiful then beauty is not subjective. Finally, Gay defines a beauty essay as an essay that explores the idea of beauty through the eyes of the beholder.