We have all had that moment when we’re scrolling through our phone and think, “I wish I looked like her.” Social media has brainwashed us, specifically the young girls in our society, and makes us think that if we don’t meet the beauty standards put in place by society, we are not attractive. However, living by these outrageous standards cause low self-esteem, dangerous habits, and the unnecessary spending of hard-earned money.
Beauty standards are nothing new to society. Historical celebrities such as Marilyn Monroe and Audrey Hepburn have standardized the way that women “should” look as far back as the 1950s – but standards go back much further than that. Research shows that beauty in women has been standardized for at least 2,400 years since Ancient Greece (Beauty Through History, The Washington Post).
Beauty standards have also changed a lot over time. It’s as if the way women should look (according to society) is a trend and won’t ever stay the same – causing women to constantly feel like they cannot fit in. To name a few examples (Science of People):
- Italian Renaissance (1400-1700): round stomach, fair-skinned
- Victorian England (1837-1901): plump, full-figured body
- Roaring Twenties (1920s): flat chest, short hair
- Golden Age of Hollywood (1930s-1950s): curves, large breasts
- Supermodel Era (1970s): tall, athletic
- “Heroin” Chic (1990s): extremely thin, very pale skin
IDOLIZING THE WRONG PEOPLE
On television, social media, and billboards, we always see the same thing: beautiful women that are saying, “You can look like this too!” It is rare to come across a post or advertisement that praises self-love and doesn’t scream, “I look better than you do.” Unfortunately, there are many celebrities that are idolized by millions of people that have impressionable minds, especially young females.
A family that we all know (some love and some hate) are the Kardashian-Jenners. The women in this family have a long history of promoting their unrealistic bodies that have been modified over time. With their millions of followers watching their every move, it is easy to manipulate them. Young women that see these images will think that they have to look a certain way to be considered beautiful by society.
There are instances where people want to look identical to these kinds of famous people and go to extremes in order to do just that. People put themselves in danger with surgeries going as far as removing ribs that cost insane amounts of money.
Even with all the effort people like the Kardashian-Jenners put into their appearances, it is still never enough for society. People always find a way to judge others, no matter what. It is important not to praise people that promote unhealthy standards. Instead, support those that promote self-love and natural beauty. You do not need surgery to be a beautiful woman!
(Disclaimer: Getting surgery is not something to be ashamed of or to judge others for. If you decide to get any kind of surgery not related to a condition, make sure to do your research and talk to your doctor extensively first.)
PHOTOSHOP & EDITING
A lot of the pictures you see online that make you second-guess your own beauty are completely fake. Many celebrities and social media influencers have been accused of photoshopping (some even proven), but they usually always deny it. These people want you to truly believe that they look perfect and make you feel bad for not looking like their false, edited pictures.
Statistically, about half of the photos posted on social media have some form of editing or photoshop. You may have even felt the need to airbrush your skin to make it look perfect or find a filter that doesn’t look like a filter–I know I have. Toxic beauty standards have caused us to think that normal things like acne should be hidden. Remember that most of what you see on the internet has a good chance of being edited to the point where the original picture looks very different.
It is important to keep in mind that the majority of images you envy have been modified to make you feel less about yourself. Society is obsessed with critiquing everyone for every little thing and makes sure that nothing ever meets their standards. Ignore these edited photos and remind yourself that you are beautiful in your natural form. You are better than photoshop!
Realizing that comparing yourself to these modified pictures and unrealistic beauty standards is unhealthy for you is the first thing we should all do. Recognize that having beauty within is something that radiates on the outside, too. Society and social media do not define what makes us beautiful. We decide that on our own and we are the masters of our own beauty.
Learning to love yourself isn’t something that will happen overnight. However, it is achievable, and a big step is understanding that you are not alone. Everybody struggles with their image at one point or another, even if they have already found self-love. Instead of looking in the mirror and focusing on the things you don’t like in the reflection, focus on the things that you love about your reflection. We are all flawed and unique in our own way. You meet your own beauty standards in a world of everchanging opinions and arguments. All of your qualities are what make you, you. Be proud of each of them!
*For more information on toxic and unhealthy beauty standards, please watch this informative YouTube video by Ibrahim Kamit: https://youtu.be/N6FWZ-TpkFI*