Beauty Standards, An Endless Cycle

September 25, 2017
By , Cincinnati, OH

What do you consider beautiful? Beach styled waves? Radiant skin? Perfect teeth? Whatever feature you find more appealing than others is probably similar to what your friends, family, and community all think too. Beauty standards are a set of standards created by society that tells people, especially young women, what they should try to look like. These standards are set by where you live. For example, in South Korea, women yearn for a pale skin tone, the lighter the better. However, in Brazil, women embrace and desire a bronzed skin tone. Being a teenage girl in today's day and age, it can be a real battle trying to maintain self-confidence. We are surrounded by a pack of hungry wolves, just waiting for us to make one wrong move and attack. Social media can be a huge impact as well, displaying images of the ideal look. You know what they say, sometimes the things you love most hurt most.

I'm not going to sugar coat it, the United States still has an admiration for eurocentric beauty features that they try to keep low-key. It's sad and hard to admit, but it's true. This is something I have picked up on since an early age. It's difficult being on social media or flipping through a magazine and not seeing a single person who has a similar look as you. However, I used to always deal with it or block it out. I didn't get angry about it because it was something out of my hands.

One day I was scrolling through Instagram, hoping loads of posts would help distract me from the monstrous amount of homework I had yet to complete. It was an interesting time of the year for social media. Prom season. A time where you should expect your Instagram feed to be overflowing with not only 'promposals', but also the dresses and makeup that were trending at the time. Like any good marketer would think to do, there were tons of advertising for dresses on Instagram. Being the prom obsessed fiend I am, I clicked on the ad which led me through a portal into a website filled with breathtaking gowns. I scrolled through what seemed like a bottomless pit of dresses. My eagerness slowly turned to vexation. These models were not diverse, at all. Instead of praising these beautiful designs, I was distracted by how none of these designers or whoever was in charge of booking models thought this through. Do they not know that girls of color buy dresses? Do they just not care? It was quite unsettling, to say the least. I clicked off of the website, what had started as a meaningless way to spend my time had now forced me to start thinking about and coming to terms with something that I think I'd tried to block from my mind for so long.

Eurocentric features are still a major part of America's beauty standard. Certainly not as big as it was previously, but the fact that it is 2017 and this issue still exists is disheartening. After seeing this, I couldn't stop seeing it. A barrier was broken. Every magazine I looked at, every website I scrolled through, I kept seeing it being repeated. Not just in fashion either, the world of makeup had been infected by this too. Dark skinned girls and guys have little to no chance of finding their shade in foundation or concealer. Apparently having skin that dark is unimaginable to them. Even though there are more than enough setbacks, I have things to look forward to as well.

For example, a popular R&B singer, Rihanna, recently created her own makeup line calling it Fenty Beauty. Her new line is allowing all skin tones to find makeup that will match their skin tone. This progress gives hope to me and many others. There was a quick and positive reaction to Rihanna's new line. I think that this positive feedback and success has inspired other makeup companies to follow in her footsteps. I'm already seeing many companies suddenly having the ability to create more diverse foundation colors. Though there is still a lot of progress to be made, I can honestly say I am proud of how far we have come. I hope someday everyone understands that true beauty is the vast differences we all have.






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