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Break The Beauty Patterns: We Are Tired Of Hating Ourselves

What if Renaissance muses tried a career in fashion runways today? They would probably be devastated by cultural changes. Despite having already represented a desirable beauty, these women would realize that the standards of aesthetics are constantly changing and disseminated with greater emphasis in times of social media and advertisements on all platforms.

Since the beginning, women have had their lives weakened by the unattainable imperatives of the dictatorial system of the beauty culture, with its abstract demands and harmful projections. It’s important that the feminine defines itself, and not just develop from the aesthetic standards.

Why we still need to fight the cult of unrealities

We live in a society with representations summarized in white skin color, straight hair and body measurements from a non-inclusive table. This media representation is everywhere, public figures, celebrities and even fictional characters. The effect of these impositions is the imprisonment of thousands of women, who are in constant search for unreal bodies, unnatural looks.

The standards imposed on the common reality produce the impoverishment of our perspectives by making society glorify only one way of being human. They make us all sick. Collectively, we must re-educate that horizon instead of repressing our expression.

The problematic beauty industry

We urgently need to discuss the relationship between physical perfectionism, eating disorders, psychological illnesses and generalized anxiety among women.

The beauty industry is based on submission and rejection. Consumers are encouraged to be dissatisfied with their bodies and to be in constant exercise of criticism carried out not only in their own appearances, but also in relation to other women around them.

The objective of this industry is to produce bodies that can be shaped by society in a factory logic. Capitalism is the main machine for maintaining - and fostering - aesthetic patterns: women who hate themselves generate profits with plastic surgery, cosmetics and drugs for weight loss, for example. This panorama is extremely emphasized by patriarchy in an architecture of domination that hinders female emancipation.

Daily, there is a creation of new “flaws” in the female body that need to be solved by feeding the beauty industry, which creates a range of options for consumption to be able to put into practice their deepest desires in relation to body changes. The attractions in this trade lead the person to an upward expenditure.

The consequence: disorders

One of the most problematic scenarios resulting from this toxicity is eating disorders. Explaining this question, the clinical psychologist, digital influencer and creator of the project “Are you hungry for what?” Vanessa Tomasini says: “We have as a beauty standards bodies that are completely unreal, not just thin bodies, but extreme thinness. (...) Aesthetic pressure is to believe that there is only one way for a body to be beautiful, it’s always in the impossible place for everyone, we have genetic and metabolic issues”. "Our body weight is dictated by many variables, we have different bodies and everything is fine," she adds.

According to the psychologist, eating disorders are of multifactorial cause, serious psychiatric illnesses that may have as one of the triggers this search for the ideal body. “Our body image is formed by two aspects: attitudinal and perceptual. Perceptual is neural, our brain sends commands to let us know where our knee or shoulder is, for example.The part that forms the body image, the attitudinal, is related to all of our beliefs, which we incorporate throughout our lives of what a beautiful body is (...) Image distortion is very common in cases of eating disorders, but we also find it in non-sick people''.

This aesthetic appreciation seems to be more important than clinical weight, so vanity is a value that goes beyond geographical boundaries. Now, what about those that don't fit in that pattern? They experience discomfort."The more distant a person is from this standard considered beautiful in its historical time, the more they will go through glances and condemnations, even if it’s in very subtle ways", says the social psychologist, Andréa Siomara, referring to the pressure of socialization circles.

In this situation, girls tend to mature early to start the hunt for desirable physical attributes earlier, avoiding segregation in the beauty hierarchy, which means women, and especially the young group, are extremely vulnerable to this issue, but why? Siomara explains: “Studies show that young people are most affected by these unreal patterns. Having that ideal body is the requirement to be accepted [...] The female body, historically, is more looked at and taken as an object of consumption, as a product, services and interventions”.

Skin Positivity

Untying the knots of cruel habits promoted by socialization is not an easy task, but sometimes social networks can help in this process.

When real people take over these spaces to be themselves, we reinforce the positive points of this ecosystem and this is how changes happen, giving visibility to the causes previously suppressed.

We need to normalize normal skins and bodies, along with hair types, mouths and styles, to make everyone finally understand that to be interesting is to be yourself

"Living with acne and learning to love my skin". For digital content creator Nathália Simão, loving yourself is a revolutionary act. "It’s important to seek a more affectionate look because society already works in a way that does not favor people (women), that tries to complicate our lives as much as possible, in addition to problems of gender violence", says the skin positivity influencer. “Spending our time hating our bodies and hating others is a waste of time and psychological health”, she assures.

Simão met the foreign profile “Free The Pimple”, created by the model Lou Northcote. The channel gave rise to a whole movement that aims to expose — and honor — real skins. Representativeness was essential to her self-acceptance, and she decided to do the same for other girls. “I thought: I need to do something for other people to see that it’s normal to have acne, other people here in Brazil. (...) Acne affected some factors in my life, not only in self-esteem, but I even started taking contraceptives just because of it”.

Body Positivity

“De gorda pra gorda'' is the name of the profile that the digital influencer Mari Lima created on Instagram to talk about her looks. It was 5 years ago, when there was almost no plus-size fashion around here. After a two-year break, she returned even more determined, also talking about pregnancy, motherhood and accessibility, so the portal gained another perspective.

Fat — and happy — mothers were an uncharted field that Mari decided to explore on the internet: “Regardless of my weight, my size, the number I wear, the numbers in general, I can be a happy, accomplished, successful person and show that if I can be okay with myself, people is also able to feel that way.”

Keeping that in mind, it’s worth mentioning that the standard of beauty is oppressive in itself. As we saw above, it works through oppression, and all women are affected by it. Propagating the idea that it’s an unreachable portrait of the feminine because it’s an idealized vision is the first step towards effective modification. Only then we will be able, in the public and private sphere,  to honor the plurality of bodies.


The article above was edited by Gabriela Sartorato.and translated by Giovanna Favero.

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Vitória Prates

Casper Libero '23

Estudante de Jornalismo na Faculdade Cásper Líbero. Além da leitura e da escrita, passo horas problematizando tudo ao meu redor, tagarelando sobre o mundo e devorando minha interminável lista de filmes.
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