Does our World Need Standards of Beauty or not

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When it comes to the topic of health and beauty, the United States reigns supreme. It’s a county where thin is the status quo and anything other than that is considered distasteful. It’s a place where a woman is only beautiful if she meets certain physical requirements enforced by the media. A place where looks are everything. In the past, full figured women were viewed as an indication of status, today, we considered these women objects of mockery. Society’s view of what is considered beautiful has taken over almost every aspect of people’s lives. It can be seen in everything, in magazines, television, fashion, and most notably social media. But do we really need beauty standards?

Many will agree that the negative effects of beauty standards frighteningly outway the good. Many young girl and women go to excessive measures to reach unrealistic expectations of beauty. I believe that the beauty standards of today are flawed and outdated. Why not just get rid of them?Beauty standards not only affect women but all people. They exist to reinforce the expectations of what both men and women if they desire to be attractive, should look like. A large majority of body alterations expected of women by beauty standards, for instance, painted lips and nails, shaved legs, flawless skin, curvy bodies and exaggerated eyelashes, are in place to accentuate the differences between women and men and to make it clear what a woman or man should be. (Ridgeway). In fashion, clothes for men and women are vastly different. Clothes targeted at women are usually tailored to accentuate the female physique. Hips, waist, breasts, and legs are the biggest signs of female attractiveness, so clothes are made to showcase these features. For men, this is relatively the same with a bit more emphasis on the face and overall physique.

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The point is when beauty standards force people to the edge of a specific gender spectrum, it makes it hard for those who exist in the middle to be comfortable in their own skin. It tells those who don’t comply with these gender standards that they are “ugly.” This is a major problem in today’s society. As a young woman, I have never truly considered myself “feminine”. My wardrobe consists of mostly jeans, sweatshirts, and other articles that aren’t made express any type of femininity. This is something that has brought a lot of headache into my life. My mother would constantly ask me if I liked girls or if I wanted to be a boy simply because I refused to wear colorful, feminine clothing. I wore my hair naturally and have never worn a stitch of makeup in my life. So I understand what it feels like to be considered unattractive when it comes to female beauty standards. Another problem with American beauty standards and with most beauty standards around the world is their lack of diversity and the effect they have on minority women. Beauty and what is considered most attractive is something that is made clear to us at a very young age. For girls, we get our first toys. For most these toys were Barbie or baby dolls, the default for which is still “caucasian”.

Growing up I had plenty of dolls and majority of them were white, with blue or green eyes, and long, silky, blonde or brunette hair. All of which I did not have and it was subconsciously ingrained in me that attractiveness was blunt, being white. It’s much easier to find diverse and inclusive dolls today than it was thirty years ago (Li). But as girls get older it doesn’t stop with the toys, girls grow up and look up to the women in magazines, on television, in the cinema, and again and again, the representation is overwhelmingly pale, thin, smooth and flawless. Women of color are included in most media now, but they always appear as having lighter skin, and wavy or straight hair. These beauty standards get passed down from generation to generation until the only way colored and minority woman feel beautiful is if they emulate and abide by “white beauty” (Patton). Not only has being a young African American woman made it hard for me to come to term with today’s beauty standards, right after puberty I gained a decent amount of weight and have never really been able to get it off.

Advertisements promised me and other girls that being thin and “healthy” would solve all of our problems. But for the women who naturally inherit thin bodies, they experience a different form of pressure, an expectation to look more “women-like,” to have large breasts and butts and wider hips. So which is it? This is a question that has plagued women for decades. There are a shameful amount of ways for women to have the “wrong” body! Muscular and “fit” women are criticized for being too “masculine” or “bulky” while at the same time, magazines create articles on how to “get toned” and “in shape”. Women with smaller than average breasts are given push up bras and padding, while women with larger breasts are asked to hide them and cover up lest they are thought of as “promiscuous.” Tiny Fey summed up the ridiculousness of beauty standards best when she says, ‘…

Now every girl is expected to have Caucasian blue eyes, full Spanish lips, a classic button nose, hairless Asian skin with a California tan, a Jamaican dance hall ass, long Swedish legs, small Japanese feet, the abs of a lesbian gym owner, the hips of a nine-year-old boy, the arms of Michelle Obama, and doll tits…’ (Fey).Beauty standards have been around for centuries and as a young woman living in today’s society, I firmly believe that beauty standards should be no more. Although this will never truly happen in a world so obsessed with physical beauty and outward appearance, it’s a nice thought and if every boy, girl or other in the world who feels unwanted, unattractive and unloved because they don’t or can’t live up to beauty standards suddenly decided that society does not define beauty to them then the world would truly be a beautiful place .

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Does Our World Need Standards of Beauty or Not. (2022, Aug 27). Retrieved from