Saturday Mar 11, 2023

How can I be beautiful? We talk about Stoicism and moral beauty on International Women’s Day 2023

On the occasion of International Women's Day 2023, we talk about Stoicism and beauty.

(See below for timestamps to skip forward to)



  • Sharon Lebell is the author of the bestselling book The Art of Living which has inspired philosophy lovers and the modern Stoicism movement.
  • Jennifer Baker is Professor of philosophy at the College of Charleston. She also writes for
  • Brittany Polat is the author of Journal Like a Stoic, the founder of Stoicare, a board member of Modern Stoicism and writes the Stoicism for Humans newsletter. 
  • Sukhraj Gill is a London-based solicitor and the Aurelius Foundation manager. She enjoys reading around Stoic ideas and practice.
  • Kathryn Koromilas is a writer, educator and coach. She is a board member of Modern Stoicism, hosts The Stoic Salon Podcast and writes the Stoic State of Mind newsletter.

In the age of the Instagram Selfie, isn't it true that many of us focus, often as a priority, on our physical beauty so that we might attract a lover, a life partner, or even a reputation, a career, or a social media following? 

But what if our real beauty is (and always was) found in the beauty of our mind and our reason, our character, our behaviour, our care for others? 

How might we as women help each other (but also help our partners, friends, and children of all genders) become aware that we (and they) are valued for moral beauty above all else? 

We'll explore what the Stoics might teach us about valuing our own internal, moral beauty, and also what they say about physical beauty. How might we do this? What are the challenges today? 


Two quotes to think about: 

If we could examine the mind of a good woman, O what a beautiful, what a sacred sight we would see! What grandeur, what calm would shine forth in it, and what constellations of the virtues: justice on one side, courage on the other, moderation and prudence over there. Besides these, frugality, self-control, endurance, generosity, and cheerfulness would shed their light upon it … what grace, and, by god, what dignity would these bestow! How great its authority would be, and how much appreciated: beloved it would be, yet at the same time revered.

Seneca, Letters on Ethics, 115.3


As soon as they reach the age of fourteen, women are called ladies or mistresses of the house; they've grown up and gained some power. And now they see that there's nothing more to gain except to become sexually attractive. So, they set to work to beautify themselves and place all their hopes in that. It is worth our while, then, to make them aware that they're valued for nothing other than attaining self-control and self-respect.

Epictetus, Encheiridion, 40




Chapters 00:00 A quote about the beautiful mind

01:15 Welcome to the podcast by Kathryn Koromilas

01:30 Introducing the speakers and the theme

04:10 We begin with an opening round, inviting speakers for general introduction and comment on beauty

05:45 Sharon Lebell begins

07:36 Jennifer Baker opening comments

10:25 Brittany Polat opening comments

12:59 Sukhraj Gill opening comments

16:45 Kathryn Koromilas opening comments

20:05 Kathryn reads Epictetus quote (Enchiridion 40)

21:50 Brittany on advice to her daughter and defining moral beauty and moral elevation

24:56 Kathryn reads Seneca quote on the beautiful mind

26:00 Sharon responds to Seneca and explores the power of moral beauty and also addresses the specific challenges that women face, the vulnerability that goes with beauty for females, beauty is complicated

30:07 Jennifer talks about children and how to manage comments/compliments about beauty

32:55 Sukhraj discusses physical beauty versus internal beauty as currency in the broader culture and also talks about praise referring to Marcus Aurelius - an emerald is an emerald even if not praised

41:45 Jennifer on how to be ugly to not attract people who are not good to have close to us

43:00 Sukhraj on beauty on dating apps

46:30 Jennifer on wanting to be beautiful once you have a partner but also admiring beautiful rhetorical, and also brings in Simon Blackburn who talks about selfies

48:05 Sharon Lebell asks a question about the good, the beautiful and the truth

51:45 Brittany asks a question about social media

55:00 Closing round. Final remarks from each speaker.

Comments (0)

To leave or reply to comments, please download free Podbean or

No Comments

Copyright 2021 All rights reserved.

Podcast Powered By Podbean

Version: 20230822