Monday, March 19, 2012
First things first, the word beauty is ultimately derived from the Latin bellus, meaning "handsome," "charming," and "pretty." Using this word for a woman or child would have been a compliment in Ancient Rome, but was meant to be ironic or insulting when used to describe a man. Not much has changed, I see.
Beauty is one of the Eight Wiccan Virtues listed by Doreen Valiente. These also includes mirth, reverence, honor, humility, strength, power, and compassion. At first glance, beauty as a virtue seems really shallow. Most people will immediately assume that we are talking about physical attractiveness. But the word has a second definition: "goodness."
Neo-Pagans see beauty as loving things the way they are, not as trying to achieve an impossible standard set by others. It's about the appreciation of balance and harmony between the darkness of life and the light parts of life. It can also be about injecting beauty into every part of your day. It could be about what is beautiful on the inside. You know, the type that matters most.
We all know that the heroine in the fairy tale Beauty and the Beast is actually named Belle. The story was originally a French fable, and the earliest known written variant was conceived by Gabrielle-Suzanne Barbo de Villeneuve. It seems like some English translators took Belle's name rather literally, and write her name as Beauty. I seem to remember reading versions of Beauty and the Beast in which the heroine's name is Beauty. It seems like we've since stopped that, though.
Unfortunately, I think that most parents would think that this name is too much to live up to. They think about the number of girls who starve themselves or have themselves cut open in order to look like a model that is most likely photo-shoped. Until mainstream culture's narrow conceptions of beauty changes drastically, I don't think this name will be used anytime soon.
I don't remember.