Beauty Standards

The idea of beauty is subjective in its own right; there’s a reason the saying “beauty is in the eye of the beholder” exists. So why exactly are “beauty standards” even in existence, who are the real perpetrators of them, and what are their effects on women and modern-day feminism?

A big proponent to the issue is the promotion of celebrities and “influencers” on social media. According to CNN, “A Common Sense Media survey found that more than a quarter of teens who are active online stress about how they look in posted photos.” As a young girl who is as well on social media, pictures of “instagram influencers” flood my feed with pictures of the so-called “ideal body”... a body that has been advertised as the be-all-end-all Kim Kardashian figure. Young girls watch the Kim Kardashian body be sexualized all over TV and the internet; because of the emphasis this society has put on looking good for men instead of oneself, girls then wish to attain this body. However, these influencers put out messages that these bodies are to be achieved naturally, concealing the hard truth of the plastic surgery celebrities such as Kim Kardashian have endured. This promotes a climate of self-consciousness in young girls, as well as creates an unhealthy competitive lifestyle. Young girls are being taught to compare themselves to others, to judge themselves when they can’t attain a body they think is “ideal”, or to judge other girls who maybe can’t attain that “perfect” body.

Such a climate is an enemy to modern-day feminism. Feminism works to build up women, however, if women themselves continuously put both themselves and other women down, how can we expect the rest of the world to jump on board with feminism? Young women need to realize that another woman’s beauty does not mean the absence of her own, as beauty is subjective. Girls must work on looking in the mirror and feeling proud (regardless of what body they have or how they achieved that body) instead of focusing on something they perceive to be more beautiful because of what society taught them; people are at their most beautiful when they feel their most beautiful. Influencers should put out more messages promoting confidence rather than photoshopped images, as these things create an environment that is a huge threat to feminism.