I was thinking about beauty and ugliness today because of the Ugliest Dog Contest, which was hyped on the Today Show among others. Here’s a clip: http://www.hulu.com/#!watch/504008
I think poor Walle’s problem is that his proportions are just soooo wrong– poor little beast. His owner said, “He tends to fall over.”
The ancient Greeks held that beauty was all about proportion and dimensions. Here is a quote from the Wikipedia entry on beauty: Although style and fashion vary widely, cross-cultural research has found a variety of commonalities in people’s perception of beauty. The earliest Western theory of beauty can be found in the works of early Greek philosophers from the pre-Socratic period, such as Pythagoras. The Pythagorean school saw a strong connection between mathematics and beauty. In particular, they noted that objects proportioned according to the golden ratio seemed more attractive. Ancient Greek architecture is based on this view of symmetry and proportion.
Now there is some evidence that symmetry, which can be expressed mathematically, denotes genetic health. There are a lot of articles and studies on this topic. The general tenor seems to be that symmetry and masculinity are preferred across cultures and even across species.
Where does that leave all of us who are a little less than perfect? Perhaps hoping that someone loves us for our personalities or our souls, especially if we aren’t part of the gene pool going forward. Thank goodness for that!