What does beauty mean if you’re blind? After all, you can’t see, right? Does it actually matter to a person who can’t see?
The answer? Yes!
I came across a fascinating video by WatchCut Video interviewing blind men and women on their relationship to beauty. This video generated over 900 comments and over 400,000 views (for video see below). Why? Because this short film gives us an honest and thoughtful view into how blind people really think about how we all look. While they may not be able to see, their desire to be beautiful and be among beautiful people is just as strong as that of seeing people. We might have imagined that a world without sight would turn us into less shallow, deeper human beings. But, alas it is not so.
I say, “Thank goodness!”
The women and men in the video admit how important it is for them to be attractive, and for their mates look good as well. Despite society’s pressure on us not to be vain, or certainly to never admit to it, they, refreshingly, confess that they DO care about it.
So how do blind people experience beauty? As one subject states: “other senses kick in.” Blind people can detect a curvaceous body, or gorgeous sound, a sexy scent, and smooth skin. As expected, they don’t think vision has a whole lot to do with people’s perception of beauty.
Some of you idealists may bemoan this story, as you yearn for a utopian society where we can be like the unseeing, that is, blind to others’ physical looks. Considering all the pressures to be beautiful and all the biases around appearances, I understand this sentiment. But this video brings something else to light that I still think can still inspire all of us. Because beauty can be experienced through all of our senses, we all have beautiful aspects of ourselves to appreciate, or to appreciate in others. It could be someone’s infectious laugh, tender skin or warm touch. This video reminds us of all the gorgeous parts of ourselves and others that we often ignore. But, also, by resurfacing the physical characteristics of beauty we often forget, this video reminds us us to open our eyes to all the many, many more ways the world around us is so beautiful.
Thank you to all the brave and beautiful blind participants in this video for helping us see more clearly.