Although there are many arguments that attempt to turn down the stereotypical definition of beauty, the cold expectations on individuals remain concrete. For many years, a traditional beauty has been defined as a person with a white heritage and a slim body shape, and this continues to survive because it’s difficult to let go of what we know and just reinvent our perception on the appearance of others.
I don’t believe that all men and women have to be a Ken or Barbie doll. The definition of beauty is subjective, and generalizing beauty standards to a certain racial or ethnic group is unnecessary. It’s truly frustrating how these concepts are so hard to let go of, and letting go is certainly an issue within high school.
Eve L. ’16 believes that there are unspoken beauty expectations at her high school. In a speech that Eve delivered publicly, she shared her struggles with the strict beauty expectations that she had on herself. Eve said, “There’s a very defined set of characteristics of ‘attractive’ people here [at school].”
While Eve feels that expectations are internalized within our community, she also thinks that it’s a societal issue. She believes that those on social media pages are portrayed as ‘perfect’, and this makes everyone want to imitate what that person’s eating, doing, or wearing. Consequently, this is how many teenagers feel a strong desire to conform to their friend groups or celebrities. Regardless of which trend is spreading like wildfire, whether it’d be the white converse or the winged eyeliner, students try to fit in and meet the common expectations within their community.
Eve’s perspective doesn’t stand alone. Brent F. ’19 feels that there are unrealistic expectations at school that are held among many students. Brent says, “Our high expectations of perfection are present and constantly lingering because of the media that we all see.”
Paige B. ’19 says, “Beauty expectations at school are just unconsciously used…these expectations are just a part of us because it’s what we see and know.”
Several students in high school are known to strive for perfectionism both academically and physically. Although the pressure on physical perfectionism is a little more shadowed, it exists just as much, and it’s so difficult to completely disregard it. We must accept that there cannot be a set definition of beauty.
Ultimately, we need to find ways to redefine beauty. We must learn to love ourselves just a little bit more everyday, and let go of these unrealistic expectations.