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Alice Walker's Concepts of Beauty

Paper Type: Free Essay Subject: Society
Wordcount: 1111 words Published: 18th May 2020

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Beauty is based on one’s perception. Beauty is an idiosyncratic subject that, with the growth of the social network, has been re-evaluated over the past few years. Formerly, youth, ethnicity, and physique were highlighted over strength, insight, and bravery but, the thing is different now.  Typecasts and standards are slipping out from the apparent excellence to a more comprehensive society. The social network which once assisted brands big to set beauty standards, that made people interrogate their appearances, now has formed the chance for everybody to express their opinion and those opinions are shaping the way we perceive beauty.

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There are over seven billion individuals on the earth and every one of them looks different. Not one person on this planet is precisely alike, but people still consider the need to comply with the standards. These standards which are created by key fashion, health, food and other connected industries using media, social networks and other means of advertisement, are just a description of what society deliberates being “beautiful”. Susan Bordo asserts in her article “Never Just Pictures” (Bordo), that children become adult knowing that they can under no circumstances be slender enough. They are believed that being overweight is the most horrible thing forever. All of these elements take a big part in the establishment of the principles and how individuals observe themselves. Each person at one thought about being the greatest in all the areas. But to accomplish that, most consider that one of the big aspects is outer attractiveness. So, society looks at celebrities and fashion stylists, and consider that to be acknowledged they have to be similar to them. That’s when they undertake extreme measures to alter their look because they’ve been manipulated by the mass media idea of “beautiful”. However, these standards and principles are undergoing drastic changes which are going to lead people to find their “beauty” within themselves.

Alice Walker is an American author, novella writer, poet, and liberal whom view of beauty is renovated throughout her lifelong journey to eventually accept her look after a disastrous coincidence blinds her right eye and distorts it in her youth. In Alice Walker’s “Beauty: When the Other Dancer is the Self” (Walker) Walker conveys the point that the thought of beauty is grounded on one’s awareness. Throughout her passage of self-discovery, she converts from a selfish and arrogant child that is continually praised and respected for her look before the crash, to a young lady unexpectedly devastated by disgrace and feelings of self-doubt that her wound has instigated her. All of a sudden, her whole life point of view is negatively changed as she encounters annoyance, refusal, and many life changes. Her self-disparaging actions that advance as an outcome of her negative insight is demonstrated when she says “That night, as I do almost every night, I abuse my eye. I rant and rave at it, in front of the mirror. I plead with it to clear up before morning. I hate and despise it. I do not pray for sight. I pray for beauty” (Walker).

The same condition endures until she goes through a surgical process to amend the shape of her eye. That’s when she begins to find approval with herself. When Walker experiences attractiveness once more, her viewpoint on life recovers melodramatically in almost every angle; bodily, socially, and mentally. Because of this, Walker demonstrates that society’s impression of “beautiful” has the power to change one’s viewpoint on life and is eventually mirrored in the way one sees themselves. While beauty can be understood inversely among different nations, society holds a worldwide delusion that standards of attractiveness must be attained so as to fulfill both internal and external wishes: as well as approval of others, being respected and wanted, feeling self-worth and treasured, and the need to feel self-assured. Walker is ultimately able to discover peace with her eye and finally realizes her values which were suppressed by pain, rage, and disgrace all the time. She describes this instant of real self-acceptance when she narrates a vision that she has. “As I dance, whirling and joyous, happier than I’ve ever been in my life, another bright-faced dancer joins me. We dance and kiss each other and hold each other through the night. The other dancer has obviously come through all right, as I have done. She is beautiful, whole, and free. She is also me” (Walker). Her dream represents her prior self, linking with her different self as they both realize a true insight that being “beautiful” does not describe an individual and is not vital so as to feel truly joyful in one’s lifetime.

The moral point that she tries to convey to the audience is that self-approval is better than trying to follow the crowd and the world’s values of beauty. As an alternative, people should learn to admit who they are, both on the inside and outside. As soon as an individual comes to peace with himself outer characteristics, imperfections included, he can then uncover peace with his inner ones, for instance, self-assurance, self-worth, belief in one’s self, and cheerfulness.

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In conclusion, the point is that focusing only on the physical aspect of a beauty, as the society dictated, can lead people to never-ending and dissatisfaction path The media always places value of beauty on the outer look however the fundamental source of beauty comes from within, just as Elisabeth Kübler-Ross says, “People are like stained-glass windows. They sparkle and shine when the sun is out, but when the darkness sets in, their true beauty is revealed only if there is a light from within” (Clemmer and Kübler-Ross). It can also be understood the form of misfortune is in Alice Walker’s life, it demonstrates how a person’s opinion of all things is always significantly prejudiced by their past experiences and how the audience self-approval is better than seeking crowd acceptance and obeying self-destructive world’s values of beauty.


  • Bordo, Susan. Twilight Zones : The Hidden Life of Cultural Images from Plato to O.J.: University of California Press, 1997. Print.
  • Clemmer, Jim, and Elisabeth Kübler-Ross. The Leader’s Digest : Timeless Principles for Team and Organization. 2003. 84. Print.
  • Walker, Alice. Beauty: When the Other Dancer Is Self. Upper Saddle River: Pearson Prentice Hal, 2006. Print.


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