BYU students discuss the definition of true beauty

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With teased hair, freshly curled eyelashes and a new coat of lip-gloss, Spencer Hastings, one of several characters on the ABC Family show “Pretty Little Liars,” leaves her stunning home in the season finale with makeup caked on and an outfit appropriate for the Oscars. For many, this is the vision of beauty, but for BYU students it is a misrepresentation of the word’s true meaning.

The media constantly bombards students with images of attractive men and women; however, at BYU, dress and grooming is held to a standard that equips students with a healthy mentality toward the appearances of others.

Brittni Ray, a 21-year-old sophomore from Kirkland, Wash., believes beauty is about the goodness of others, rather than their physical appearance.

“I think people are beautiful from the inside,” Ray said. “I used to judge people a lot and then I began to look at them as sons and daughters of God. When you look at people that way, you see that we are all creations of our Heavenly Father.”

Ray continued discussing how being a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has helped change her perception of beauty.

“God never makes ugly things,” she said. “We are all beautiful.”

In regard to natural beauty, Austin Morrell, a 19-year-old sophomore from Anchorage, Ala., majoring in biology, stated he thinks people are most attractive hanging out in their pajamas. Also, Morrell said he has an appreciation for the unique. To Morrell, the truly beautiful are the truly different. Variety is his personal definition of the word.

“Variety — kind of not fitting a mold and having something unique or special about you,” Morrell said.

He discussed how his affiliation with the LDS Church has contributed to his perception of beauty. Morrell thinks people should be proud of their differences.

While natural beauty is highly regarded among some students, others believe makeup and hair spray has its place.

Tiffany Owens, an 18-year-old freshman from Orem, thinks as long as it’s not too crazy, people should have fun with their looks.

“I think makeup should be used to bring out natural beauty,” Owens said. “It’s fine if they can tell you have makeup, but you shouldn’t look like a plastic doll.”

Similar to Ray and Morrell, Owens knows her beliefs as a Latter-day Saint have affected her views on beauty. When asked to define beauty, Owens stated it was goodness and happiness, in addition to the physical appearance.

“I’d say we focus more on modesty and goodness, rather than being sexy,” Owens said.

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