Content Warning: The following content contains mention of eating disorder and issues with body image
Beauty standards, the expectation of how one is “supposed” to look, this could be something like how a person does their makeup or what body type they are, these can vary over time and depend on certain culture. These ideas of the ideal beauty type come from the media and celebrities. But as these standards change from time to time, it becomes harder for people to fit the “ideal” look, but are these necessarily a bad thing if more and more people are trying to spread body positivity now?
Before I get into talking about beauty standards, let’s talk about beauty in general. Beauty is sort of like art, one may find a certain thing beautiful while others don’t, everyone has a different view on what they might consider beautiful. You may be asking, if everyone has a different perspective on what’s considered beautiful, then why does beauty standard exist? Well, there’s not an exact answer for that. It could be because of the media effect of what claims to be beautiful, that influences others' mindset to be the same or it could just be because of others' view on beauty that influences us, forcing us to think the same way so we can fit their expectations. It could even be both.
As the majority of us have been consuming media content, it has certainly changed the way we view things, and one of those is the perception of beauty. For a long time now, according to the media, like magazines, model shows, social media etc, it was very common to use thin and attractive model to show this “perfect looking” person, which reinforce these ideas that “Being thin is beautiful” and that the way you look determines how good looking you are. These causes problems such as eating disorders, which are obviously dangerous and could harm one’s body for a long time, as well as getting things such as surgery, in which, sure people can choose what they want to do with their own body but they could risk getting hurt and doing something they’ll regret later on. Not only that but people who may not have any control over their body weight will feel insecure and down, wishing they could be these “perfect models”
While these problems are still an issue going on, social media has become more accepting in a way, with more and more people spreading awareness about how all body types are beautiful and should be accepted. There has even been more of an increase of mainstream media showing larger discussion and diversity about different body types and showing more inclusivity.
Is it necessarily bad?
While it is great and all that media is starting to show more body diversity, they still face the issue of not being able to find the right size. This is mostly due to the fact that size and looks is still the focus, which it shouldn’t be. Size shouldn’t be the focus of clothing because we shouldn’t even care about sizes because it’s not something people can always control. Another issue is that beauty standards shouldn’t be based on looks and beauty, because if that’s the main focus, people will only respect body positivity because they “look good” and that shouldn’t be the case, people should respect body positivity because they should be respected. Our focus shouldn’t be about size and/or beauty, instead the focus could be around something like the design itself. So while it’s not necessarily bad, there are still some changes that needs to be made.
We definitely have come a long way since the past as now we are more and more inclusive of body diversity and much more acceptance for everyone, but we shouldn’t stop here as there is more work that could be done, such as people accepting us not because we “look good” but because we should be respected. Though, the progress of beauty standards have definitely come a long way and it’s great what we have achieved so far. Who knows how beauty standards would change in the future.
If you or someone you know is dealing with problems such as an eating disorder, here is a resource that could help; https://www.nationaleatingdisorders.org/help-support/contact-helpline