As Joseph Addison, British poet and statesman, once said several hundred years ago:

There is nothing that makes its way more directly to the soul than beauty.

We can miss seeing true beauty because we are taught to ignore everything but its most superficial face.

Movies, advertisements, TV shows and magazines bombard us with ‘beautiful people’. They try to convince us that only the slimmest, sleekest, glossiest, purest or most perfect specimens can be truly beautiful.

Anything less is simply ordinary. Anything much less is a target for laughter, raised eyebrows and even scorn.

We may not accept these ‘rules’ intellectually. After all, this is simply prejudice, is it not? And of course we aren’t prejudiced, are we?

But the intellect can be a fickle thing, betrayed by gut reactions and fuelled by stereotypes. As many folk who are ‘much less’ than perfect – so ‘much less’ than beautiful – can no doubt attest.

Then sometimes there comes a wonderful watershed moment, a glorious battle cry to challenge our society out of its comfort zone of negative judgements.

One of those moments was when Susan Boyle sang on the TV show Britain’s Got Talent.

To sing is to love and affirm, to fly and soar, to coast into the hearts of the people who listen, to tell them that life is to live, that love is there, that nothing is a promise, but that beauty exists, and must be hunted for and found.

(Joan Baez)


  1. Hi Sue,

    I really enjoyed your article in regard to Susan Boyle, our cateogorizing of the beautiful, stereotyping and the world wide response that she has received. Her story, her moment of glory has touched me on several levels inspiring to be confident in the attainment of my dreams.


    • Thanks for your comment Cathrine. I’m glad you enjoyed my post. Like you, I found Susan’s story touched me on a number of levels.

      It will be interesting to follow that story further, as I’m sure we will through her involvement in Britain’s Got Talent. I’m also sure we’ll see some changes in her presentation no doubt, thanks to the image and marketing gurus involved in the show.

      But I do hope folk don’t get so taken by these changes in appearance that they become immune to her true beauty and indomitable spirit. :-)

  2. Richard Reeve says:

    What this story points out is that collective parameters can never contain the beautiful…Madison Ave. does not determine the beautiful with glamor mags, but instead the power of the human psyche to engage reality…

    • Yes. And that the images of beauty in those collective paramaters and glamour mags are easily described. Engaging with true beauty happens at a much deeper level and touches the spirit in a way that is far more difficult to put into words.

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