How does society's standard of beauty affect you?

The burden of wanting to fit into what society considers beautiful can be absolutely overwhelming. It can cause mental health problems such as anxiety, depression, body dysmorphia and eating disorders. It can also push people, especially young women, to look for other ways to achieve this “perfect” image through surgery. It is something that almost everyone wants to achieve, however, many of these standards consider to be harmful to society.

Although the beauty industry has helped create fashion icons like Grace Kelly and Angelina Jolie, overall it has done more harm than good. This standard of beauty has one of the biggest impacts on young adults in high school. Tess Rempel, from Spring Lake, stated that media campaigns show women and men who are believed to be traditionally beautiful, and try to define them as someone who has a buttoned nose, a slim waist and perfect muscles. But what is the true definition of beauty? The University of Cambridge defines beauty as “the quality of being pleasant, especially when looking at, or at someone or something that produces great pleasure, especially when you look at it.

Each and every person has the right to define beauty in their own way. People should be able to feel comfortable in their own skin, especially during high school, where self-esteem is extremely important. Companies like Aerie, with the Aerie REAL campaign, use only virgin images to show what true beauty is, which is anyone. This can help teens love the body they have instead of wanting the body they don't have.

Everyone is beautiful, and society and the media need to start showing it. The “rules of how to be pretty” must be adapted to accept all bodies, genders, races and sexual orientations. Future beauty cannot be defined by a single idea, but must be as diverse as the people who see it. It has to reflect what people are really like.

These unrealistic beauty standards push back our society and have devastating effects on the people in our community. Under constant pressure to meet these standards, people begin to change their appearance and instill unhealthy habits. People start taking diet pills, instilling eating disorders, undergoing plastic surgery, becoming victims of depression and feeling worthless, all by these standards. Our society rejects any idea of accepting people who don't conform to these standards and, instead of promoting products that can make people feel more confident in themselves, our society introduces products to change our appearance.

A classic example is that our society promotes hair straightening tools instead of products for better curly hair or creams for greater softness, rather than a wider range of colors for cosmetics. The problem with beauty standards is that they are an unrealistic image that society has established for women to measure up to. They often change over the years and women are expected to change themselves to fit the image if they want to be perceived as “pretty” or “beautiful.”. When celebrities and influencers post images that have filters and are edited without actually saying they used a filter, people start to presume that they actually look that way, making these beauty standards completely unrealistic.

For example, the princesses in Disney movies that are aimed at young girls also show that fair skin, light eyes, light hair, a perfect body type are the way to look beautiful. The changing definition of beauty and the standards set by society and the media can be toxic and harmful to women. Beauty standards can be seen in the media, whether it's social networks, magazines, movies or television shows. We live in a world where beauty standards are so ingrained in everyone's brain that everyone quickly judges whether someone is “beautiful” or not.

We need to start actively discussing beauty standards and stop pressuring people to adapt to them. Applications such as Snapchat and Instagram have introduced a wide range of filters that make you look fairer, remove any blemishes, change the structure of your face and completely change your appearance, making beauty standards completely unattainable. 

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