Are Beauty Standards Existent?

Listen, I’m a pale, not entirely skinny, not very tall, and certainly not a very modelesque teenage girl. I’m not upset about that. In fact, I love who I am and have spent many years of my life working towards self-love. However, I understand that according to the standards models have set, I’m not technically considered pretty.

As a younger teen, fourteen perhaps, that really devastated me, but as I grew up, I began to travel more often. By traveling, I was able to see that the “standards” of beauty were not as ubiquitous as I once thought. The summer after eighth grade I visited my aunt in China. There, the women carried umbrellas to obstruct the sun’s rays and visors to protect their skin. She would often look to me, mildly jealous, and lament about how she wished to have skin as light as mine. When I met her friends, they too commented on my skin’s near translucence and inability to tan. Additionally, I learned that in Asia their beauty standards include a double eyelid which is, a crease between your eyelid and brow. Travelling to China showed me traits I hadn’t even realized existed and new beauty standards.

However, China obviously had standards that did not relate to me. I’m a size small in the United States, but in China, my legs couldn’t even fit into one large pair of jeans I tried on. Yet, on a different trip to Brazil, I was considered too thin. There, the legs that I thought were big, were declared some of the smallest legs my hosts had ever seen.

Before I started to travel, I was wrongfully tricked into thinking the media surrounding me was the only example of true beauty. Traveling opened my eyes to the fact that beauty norms are:

1. Diverse

2. Subjective

3. Non-existent.

In reality, there is absolutely no standard for what makes someone beautiful. In fact, most beauty standards relate to old traditions or even health, rather than beauty. For example, the ideal size of a woman tends to be proportional to how much food is available in that country. Women prefer men with symmetrical faces because it indicates health. Men prefer women with large eyes and small chins because it signals more estrogen. Beauty for women generally is an hour glass figure, clear skin, and the face features mentioned above. However, all of these are only equated to beauty due to their relation to health. 

Even with these pseudo science answers to what beauty is, the world still manages to have diverse standards based on what part of the globe you’re in. Need proof? Look no further than Watchcut Video’s series 100 years of beauty which analyzes the most iconic looks across a century in countries across the globe.

I am not beautiful in the standards presented by media. However, I am beautiful by my own standards, by my own acknowledgment of my health and body. Our world that has the capability to see beyond the physical appearance of a person and we need to realize that everyone is beautiful, by their own standards. Thus, to be truly beautiful, we must define beauty to our own eyes, staring at our own mirrors, and loving ourselves.


mati rituals to prove the same.


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