Beauty Standards Should Be Changed

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86% of women in a given study reported that being in shape and dressing in trendy fashions contribute to their overall confidence (‘Sources of Standards of Beauty’). All around the world, the idea of beauty is supported on the concept that attractiveness is the most important advantage that people, the majority being women, should aspire to have. Beauty standards have become more and more unattainable moving throughout history and as people’s mindsets change. At a time where any given person is watching some kind of screen for 4-6 hours per day, unrealistic body and beauty standards are surrounding today’s youth and adults. Beauty standards harm body image due to the constant comparison of others to an individual, the ever-changing body ideals over time, and the idea that men are usually held to a higher standard of beauty than women are.

The looks of both people in someone’s life and famous people popping up in magazines, commercials, and social media feeds can affect one single individual’s body image and body confidence. The article, ‘Culture of Beauty’, states that “Critics frequently emphasize the link between prevailing beauty standards to fashion and cosmetics industries, which stand to profit from a large consumer base composed of all genders aspiring to an impossible-to-reach beauty ideal” (‘Culture of Beauty’). The models used to advertise and sell both beauty and fashion products tend to use techniques that make consumers want to fit in. A way to do that is to appeal to the side of consumer that is a little insecure or not as confident. By using beautiful models, ignoring whether or not photoshop is used, consumers tend to believe if the product or the type of fashion is bought, the buyer will fit in more, be more elevated in looks and be overall, more ‘beautiful’. The media’s representation of ideal looks excludes most men and women. Studies show that “76% of women wish they see ads that have a more realistic image of women” (‘Views Among US Women Regarding the Media's Portrayal of Beauty’). In addition to that statistic, “61% of women feel like they are not represented by the imagery of women in the media” (‘Views Among US Women Regarding the Media's Portrayal of Beauty’). Of the women surveyed a vast majority feel like they do not see themselves reflected in the media or ads being circulated the in world. By making a simple change, making people of all shapes, sizes, races, sexuality, and ages seen, both men and women might feel better about themselves. If companies used real people instead of skinny, clear-skinned, photoshopped models, there could be an immense change in society’s idea of what beauty is.

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Today in 2019, where the idea of beauty is shaped by views of the media, older standards of beauty are rarely thought of. Author Viren Swami writes in an article that, “Venus, the goddess of beauty was typically portrayed with a round face and a pear-shaped body” (Swami). If at one point, an actual goddess was painted, drawn, and sculpted with a fuller body type, why did beauty ideals change from that? A pear-shaped body today would be seen as too full or maybe even in some cases too heavy. The overwhelming fact that body types are becoming less and less attainable is becoming clear as adults and even children aiming for a tiny waist and completely flat stomachs to ‘fit in’. Swami continues this idea by explaining that, “during the 1940s, researchers…began to document the first instances of negative body image, with women desiring smaller body sizes and larger breasts” (Swami). This came as a surprise, as names like Marilyn Monroe, who was somewhat known for her fuller body type, were popular at the time. The issue of body image is brought up again and again and the constant changing is one of the biggest factors. The inconsistency of beauty ideals crushes people’s positive body images if they have any to start with.

In addition to the changing body standards over time, women are usually held to a higher standard of appearance than men. This is shown by the “status of women…frequently limited by the assumption that they would be judged…on how they measure up to the values not of their work, but their…appearance” (Walter). Considering that men statistically higher paid and get higher positions at jobs, women are often at a disadvantage. People, not just women, need to be judged on their value of work not only on how they look. If a woman isn’t looking ‘the best’, they are more likely to be judged and not listened to. On the flip side, however, men are also affected by body image issues. According to one article, some men “have problematic relationships with food and are turning to protein shakes and even steroids in a desperate attempt to meet pressures” (Jankowski). Society is not just pushing these beauty standards on women, but on men as well. Social standards push men to have picture-perfect bodies like women are. Both minorities and men who are ‘picture perfect’ like men who are balding, bigger, or too short to be represented by the media and ads, are being pushed into the ideas that they have to be perfect, pressuring them to better themselves, often in unhealthy ways.

Beauty standards harm body image due to the constant comparison of others to an individual, the ever-changing body ideals over time, and the idea that men are usually held to a higher standard of beauty than women are. Famous people and picture-perfect women and men should not be the only models represented in ads and be recognized as beautiful. The changing ideal of beauty in America and even around the world is unfair to everyone because it does not include everyone. Even men are being targeted by leaving out minorities and not the traditional good-looking man, despite more leeway they get on their appearance. With all things considered, the world needs a beauty standard that includes everyone, not just people who look flawless in ads and on social media. Society as a whole can change by slightly shifting their mindset to include all types of people in what they consider beautiful.

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Beauty Standards Should Be Changed. (2022, December 15). Edubirdie. Retrieved May 30, 2024, from
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