Beauty Standards

By Zara Lancaster

Beauty standards are individual qualifications women are expected to meet in order to embody the feminine beauty ideal. Beauty is viewed differently around the globe. That comes from having different cultures and from women having different features.Beauty standards have a lot of effects on our society today because they feed on mental health issues, racism, and sexism.

Hundreds of years ago in most cultures, women did not have many rights, and they were expected to be housewives. For decades, women have continually fallen subject to various rules and regulations on how to look or what to wear.

 One example is foot binding, a cultural practice existing in China from the 10th century until the establishment of the People’s Republic of China in 1949. It began because men thought having tiny feet was an attractive quality. Having perfectly shaped, tiny feet could help women marry wealthier men.

In India, women with fair skin are associated with power and beauty; some people do skin whitening, which involves applying a cream containing mercury, hydroquinone and corticosteroids. The possible side effects of that are high blood pressure, kidney failure and skin cancer. Society influences those women to do such things by making them think it would give them more opportunities.

“I think it makes women insecure. Not everyone can fit a size zero dress, have  clear skin or  have that perfect model face. And it creates negative self images of ourselves,” said sophomore Sanjita Suryadevara.

“In many ways I can relate to the beauty standard. Starting off, there was an obsession of being ‘fair.’ I have bad acne, and my skin color isn’t as fair as those girls in the fairness ads. That gave me a lot of insecurities,” Suryadevara said.

There are many ways we can encourage the women around us to be confident in themselves. We need to understand that beauty is not a competition, and we should celebrate our differences proudly.

“I think women should be taught from a young age to disregard the beauty standard. At a young age we are told what is  perfect and that can’t happen anymore. Also, more representation of women on television shows, magazines or social media. Seeing people like you makes you feel supported. And be kinder to ourselves and learn that our value is not compromised by how we look,” Suryadevara said.