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Beauty Standards

Essay by   •  October 11, 2017  •  Research Paper  •  654 Words (3 Pages)  •  867 Views

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The standards of beauty vary significantly across geographic regions and over time, but social and cultural trends shape what a society perceives as beautiful, no matter the country.  In the United States, the ideal female body is slim and curvy and the ideal male is tall, lean, and muscular.  This idea of what is beautiful is almost entirely generated by the media on TV and in magazines and it distorts society’s idea of how the average person should look. It’s reinforcing and normalizing an unrealistic standard.

Though most of America’s standards are a sociocultural, there is a biological component to it.  Primitive humans saw a curvaceous woman as more fertile, but her age played key role as older women tend to be less fertile. Choosing a younger woman would result in more and healthier children, which increased the chances of passing on good DNA.  Choosing the healthy woman over the unhealthy was a way of natural selection; it’s been a major factor in what today’s humans look like, but it’s also a factor in how they choose a mate.  Today’s society still possesses elements of the primitive brain that decides what is attractive and what is not, but what plays an even more significant role in how we see beauty is the media.

According to research, the average American consumes at least 10 hours a day of the media.  Within those ten hours we see beautiful faces and beautiful bodies all over our TVs, phones, and computer screens which subliminally (and sometimes not so subliminally) tell us what a beautiful person looks like.  Hair commercials advertising silky hair, skincare commercials using women with perfect skin, or even advertisements using a thin, large breasted woman to eat a sandwich all create a false image of what beautiful is and damage the psyche of women who don’t look that way.  Even with men you almost always see a tall, muscular guy with a sharp jawline in advertisements.  This sets an unfair standard to the average male and damages his body image as well.  Both men and women face unhealthy beauty standards and as result of them, many resort to plastic surgery and unneeded diets or even develop disorders because they want to look how the people in the media look.  Incidences occur every day where people are shamed and made fun of because of how they look.  Whether they are skinnier, fatter, taller or shorter than what the ideal is, anything that isn’t ideal is criticized.  This can occur any time at any place, largely due to social media where comments can be made by anyone. Social media adds a pressure to looking enough to avoid hate, but that pressure to look perfect shouldn’t be there in the first place.  People shouldn’t be making hateful comments because they don’t agree with how someone looks because it’s not directly affecting them and it’s not their body.  Yes, people should look out for other people’s health, but there are boundaries and there are ways to not overstep them.

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