Beauty Standards Definition: Impact, Influence, and Self-Acceptance

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Updated: Nov 30, 2023
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The definition of beauty standards and their impact on individuals and society forms the core of this essay. It explores how societal and cultural norms shape perceptions of beauty and the implications for self-acceptance and mental health. The overview examines the evolution of beauty standards over time and across cultures, considering factors like media influence and globalization. It also delves into the psychological effects of striving to meet these often unattainable standards, including body image issues and self-esteem challenges. The piece aims to highlight the importance of broadening beauty narratives to embrace diversity and foster greater self-acceptance among individuals. Additionally, PapersOwl presents more free essays samples linked to Beauty.

Category: Beauty
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Pages:  3
Words:  807
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Beauty standards have always even something that women have been subconsciously competing against each other for as early as 400 BC. The problem is that we as a society haven’t grown and continue to accept these unrealistic standards of having to be thin to be perfect, to be beautiful, to be successful, and to have a good relationship. And it’s making us sick. This self-discrimination is crippling women.


Defining Beauty Standards and their Evolution

Beauty standards are often established through physical features such as hair, body size, and skin.

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In the North American culture, we’ve always been told to be skinny, fit into size 00 jeans, size 000 if possible. Not only must your waist be unreasonably thin, but the booty must “pop”; matching your breasts. You must have silky smooth hair, be unreasonably shorter than the male (to ensure not to taint a man’s oh-so-precious ego), along with having the perfect facial features. These features include big bright eyes with long lashes, arched eyebrows that aren’t too thick nor too thin, a slim and distinctive jawline, big bright lips, a perfect button nose, and smooth and spotless skin. Not even a freckle. If you don’t meet even one of these facial beauty standards, you’re expected to correct it using makeup. Otherwise, you are seen as a lost cause. Contouring is essential. Careful not to put on too much, though, for if it looks even the slightest bit detectable, you are a try-hard. The goal is to make it appear as if this is your natural hair, body size, and skin.
In today’s world, influencers play an important role in setting today’s cultural beauty standards. Social media portray the person as being ravishing and beautiful, and over time, society starts to accept that as people start to talk about people such as Kim Kardashian more often. Over time, your mind starts to subconsciously compare yourself to these huge influencers that dedicate their lives to setting and reinforcing these cultural beauty standards. They are motivated by popularity, which equals money in their pockets. Once a trend has run its course, a new one will be set, and the cycle continues.

Influence of Media and Influencers

Nobody wants to be the odd one out. We are programmed to want to fit in. It gives us a sense of security. It feels good to be liked. People feel better about themselves when they think they are attractive to others. Due to this, we devote ourselves to succumbing to society’s ridiculous beauty standards. Our bodies are built not only for function but also to match the image of attractiveness to others. So by meeting these beauty standards, we are giving ourselves a sense of belonging.

The extremes that some people are willing to go to just to achieve these short-lived trends can be rather shocking. People have done some pretty crazy things in the past to try and meet these standards. At one point, people were putting lemons in their hair, soaking their faces in mayonnaise, and more. While this seems harmless, others can take this pretty seriously and get plastic surgery in order to get their ideal look. People like Justin Jedlica usually start out with one or two small surgeries to correct small insecurities for something as small as getting your ears pinned or getting some Botox. But as soon as you open up this door to a place where you can change almost anything you want to about your physical self, it becomes an addiction. You start to zoom into every little detail and obsess over it. What people need to understand is that you’ll never be fully satisfied with the way you look. There will always be something you want to change about yourself, but you can’t always change it. Sometimes you have to learn to accept yourself for who you are.


The fashion and beauty industries build and benefit from extreme beauty standards by tapping into our fears of not fitting in, causing these industries to profit big time. So, how do they do this? The photos used by the beauty industry have negative effects on female consumers by purposely showing unrealistic standards and lowering the consumer’s self-esteem. This creates a strong need to purchase more and more beauty products to fit the ideal beauty standards of modern society. While not all women are equally affected by the negative effects of this advertising technique, most women are.


  1. Burke, L. (2019). The self-love revolution: Radical body positivity for girls of color. Algonquin Young Readers.

  2. Kilbourne, J. (1999). Can’t buy my love: How advertising changes the way we think and feel. Simon and Schuster.

  3. Kilbourne, J. (2021). Beauty… and the beast of advertising. In E. Maynard (Ed.), Critical media studies: Student essays on corporate media, sexism, body image, eating disorders, misogyny, and women in the media (pp. 77-85). McFarland.


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Beauty Standards Definition: Impact, Influence, and Self-Acceptance. (2023, Aug 19). Retrieved from