It’s undeniably true that the beauty standards created by society are negatively affecting people. The numerous advertisements and media that people are bombarded with daily are harmful to people. We ignore all the other qualities of a woman because we have been taught that for a woman, everything else is secondary in the face of beauty. Unlike men.
And, who is this society? Let’s not fool ourselves and believe that this is about people we know and see on a daily basis. I am talking about industries, fashion magazines and big firms that operate in the beauty market and peg their stock prices based on our insecurities.
For years the media has defined beauty as being fair-skinned with Eurocentric features. The perception of having lighter features was classified as the ideal beauty. Social media shows trends that encourage women to work out, try diets and use ridiculous products like waist-trainers.
Also, many women base their careers off of dieting and exercising to raise money by posting pictures of themselves, and marketing the latest fat loss products and skinny teas, which are promoted on social media platforms that include multiple teas, extracts, and herbs that are supposed to help people lose weight. Instead of wanting to work out and eat healthy just to take care of your own well being, many people are doing it “publicizing a healthy lifestyle” just to say they are and to take a mirror selfie at the gym or eat a healthy salad to post on social media.
Not only do young girls believe that they have to excessively exercise and eat next to nothing, but the media has portrayed beautiful women as only those with a big butt, a small waist and a perfected face of makeup. This has created an expectation for young girls that defeats their self-confidence. Men are supposed to have great, full hair as well as defined muscles, especially abs. Men sometimes destroy their bodies with excessive workouts and protein drinks, so they can also have the perfect look.
Some of these standards enforced by social media go unnoticed every day. Think about this: almost every movie that you watch features a female love interest that has pretty long hair, is skinny and is desired by every guy. Same thing with men; tall, skinny, handsome, desired by every woman. Almost every commercial on TV has a family with perfect looking kids and seemingly great parents. These aren’t just coincidences; media sources purposely project these images to show the standard of beauty that is expected out of young girls and boys.
We see beauty everywhere — beauty that conforms to the strict standards set by this society. We start believing that we must either stick to these beauty standards or be considered “ugly.”
The problem with believing that beauty is defined by a set of standards is that we often start applying it to our own lives, creating insecurities and causing mental anguish. Why am I not tall enough? Why do I have acne? Why do I have so much facial hair? Why does my skin look so pale? Why am I not skinny enough?
If we choose and continue to define beauty the way the standards are set in society, beauty will be a diminishing asset. It will be a diminishing asset on which we spend time, money and effort thereby readily giving a part of our financial independence and peace of mind away to a sexist society.
The “perfect man” or “perfect woman” are equally as absurdly unrealistic, but women who don’t match the ideal are punished to a greater extent than men. There needs to be national and collegiate groups dedicated to supporting men and women, no matter what they look like. We have to start with ourselves. Everyone needs to make an effort to consider the content of a person’s character, rather than the shape of their body. We all have more to offer than just the way that we look.
With images of the stereotypical beauty, what everyone should aspire to be, what is the wrong way to look, what is the wrong way to act, and remedy for anything that is perceived to be flawed about oneself, unreachable standards are being permanently shoved into everyone’s minds. These ideals are being thrown at them from every angle, whether it is watching television, advertisements in magazines, listening to the radio, or seeing commercials. These thoughts, ideas, and standards will follow them into their whole life.
Things that were considered normal at a young age for a majority of the population are now deemed not enough. Most people at a nouns age had better things to do than worry about the shape of their eyebrows or taking a good picture of themselves. These issues are problems with the presence of social media.
As a result, many of us spend an inordinate amount of time and money on cosmetics and dieting supplements to achieve what is typically unachievable (women especially tend to be judged more on their appearance, resulting in a double whammy of sexism and ageism).