Beauty Standards are Overrated

Beauty Standards are Overrated

– By Naomi Tsegahun

From the dawn of time, women have been subjected to beauty standards that continue to evolve to this day. An example of this can be seen during the Victorian era, when having a large forehead was attractive and a sign of wealth. As technology has become increasingly more advanced and notions of beauty standards can be more easily spread through media, women have become inclined to believe that they should emulate those depictions. Beauty and makeup industries rely on the insecurities of millions of women around the world. These industries can survive in capitalist societies that have mastered the art of deception through advertisements. I believe that beauty standards set for women are highly overrated because they are what we are conditioned to believe by capitalist society.  

One of the reasons why beauty standards are overrated is because they are constantly changing. This dynamic can be observed through social media such as Instagram. Young, impressionable girls are exposed to a myriad of women with tan skin and hourglass figures. Celebrities like the Kardashians further reinforce the idea that this type of figure is desirable and should be sought after. However, beauty standards are not limited to body shape and can also include facial features. For example, after Kylie Jenner received so much media attention for having bigger lips, many people went online attempting to enlarge their lips by sucking them into a bottle to make them swell. Bigger lips, which were features of African Americans that were previously mocked, became something people wanted to achieve.  

Another reason beauty standards are overrated is because capitalism is one of the sole reasons they exist. The beauty industry relies on advertising that presents certain types of features as being unique, exotic, and sometimes even unattainable. Why are there so many fair skin people who want to appear tan? The tanning industry uses advertising to present fair skin people with tanner skin as more beautiful and more “foreign.” The same thing occurs with the billion-dollar skin lightening industry. In many African countries, colorism against dark skin people is rampant. Skin lightening products like Fair and Lovely are advertised, presenting a woman who initially had dark skin who turned into a woman with pale skin, blonde hair, and blue eyes. Before using the product, she perceived herself as ugly, but afterwards she received more stares from men and seemed significantly happier. This type of message is extremely dangerous not only because it implies that women should rely on male validation, but also because it reinforces Eurocentric beauty standards that many cannot attain. There may be women who did not take issue with their complexion until being exposed to these types of advertisements, but companies purposefully instill insecurities in them in order to maximize their profits. Capitalism thrives off greed from multimillion dollar corporations, and these massive beauty companies must be able to sell a beauty standard to people in order for them to grow and spread their influence. Beauty industries have the power to change society’s perception of what it means to be beautiful, but if women’s bodies and facial features are perceived as trends, then what is the true beauty standard? 

Beauty standards are an aspect of humanity that continue to evolve, cannot stand the test of time, and are simply a social construct, which is why they are overrated.

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