The Expectation of Beauty

Featured image by Adina Voicu on Pixabay

Dictionary.com’s definition of beautiful is “pleasing the senses or mind aesthetically”. Therefore, beautiful means something different to everyone. “Beauty is in the eye of the beholder” (Oliver Platt).

Our world has a distorted view on what beautiful means. Instead of being about someone’s character and personality it is greatly about how someone looks on the outside.

This is very common in many parts of our lives today.

Magazines

Magazines promote that same view of external beauty. They use photoshop in order to create a fake image of what people “should” look like. They enhance and perfect the images until there is almost nothing real left. Models are a perfect example. They are real people with blemishes and freckles, just like the rest of us. When a model’s picture is taken, all of their imperfections are removed. Photoshop distorts the natural beauty for a beauty that is idealistic.

People Often Strive for “Perfection”

Our society is obsessed with looking a certain way. Some people will completely alter themselves in order to fit in. Plastic surgery is a common procedure used to create “perfection” in both males and females. Operations like butt/breast/muscle implants, nose jobs, facelifts, and liposuction have become routine procedures in the medical field.

Justin Jedlica and Valeria Lukyanova are basically “perfect” people in the eyes of society. They are viewed as being flawless. However, that concept is impossible. Justin has had approximately 190 plastic surgeries. He has been nicknamed the real life “Ken doll”. Valeria has had minimal plastic surgery but wears a lot of makeup, contacts and so on to look like a “Barbie doll”.

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Image by Junaidrao on flickr

Commercials

Many companies and ads promote changing yourself into something you are not. Makeup companies are well known for this. They want people to buy their products. An example is showing perfected women and telling the consumer their product made them look that way.

Other industries do this as well. Aside from the obvious makeup, hair, nails and clothing ads, the Coca-Cola commercial is an example of a product creating beauty, but in a different way. When the woman drinks Coca-Cola the people around her become more attractive. As the Coca-Cola wears off everything goes back to reality which isn’t as beautiful to her. Once she takes another sip those around her will be beautiful again.

These ads try to show us what things should be rather than what they are, often leaving consumers disappointed.

Social Media

Many social media sites promote altering your photos in order to look better. They make it easy for people to apply filters to pictures. Sites are beginning to make gaining likes and followers a priority, creating unintended popularity contests between the users. It seems to be taking away the ability to post who you really are and what your life is actually like. Instead, the focus of posts is often what is believed others will like to see. This includes things like expensive vacations, who you hang out with, selfies and who you want others to see you as.

Essena O’Neill followed this trend for a long time. She would post beautiful pictures of herself and her life to gain followers and likes on Instagram. She posted comments that made her life appealing to the people that saw them. Until she realized that was not what she wanted to be doing. Essena explains that she “was consumed by it. This was the reason why [she] quit social media.” She changed her mindset and became a different type of person on social media. She now posts about how much work goes into her “naturally beautiful” pictures. It seems to have moved her and many others to be real with themselves.

Disney

What comes to mind if I ask you to picture a Disney princess? I bet you are thinking of a tall, slender girl, with long hair, big eyes and is dressed in a fancy gown. Am I right? Probably. This is because it is often how Disney princesses’ are created.

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Images from Raymond Brown and Joe Penniston on flickr

Just about every Disney princess movie has two things in common. There is a beautiful princess and an ugly villain. They make the good people “pretty” and the bad ones not. Like Cinderella with her stepmother and sisters, Snow White with Queen Grimhilde and most of the other princess’. This is making little kids grow up thinking that people that look good will act good and vice versa. Have you ever made a snap judgment about someone based simply on their looks and been wrong?

It may go against Disney’s portrayal of people, but sometimes looks and personality do not go hand in hand.

Scholarships

Miss America has one of the highest paying college scholarships for women. The official Miss America website discusses the scholarship program. The “Miss America” winner earns about $50,000 in scholarships. Whereas other scholarship programs usually give only a few thousand dollars per student.

Over the years, the pageant has been incorporating education, skills, community involvement and achievements more and more into the program. Beauty is obviously still a strong aspect of the competition since there has not been a Miss America who was not beautiful on the outside. Even if you are the most beautiful person inside, you most likely will not make it without having exterior beauty.

Music

Colbie Caillat released her music video “Try” about a year ago. It promotes girls to be confident in themselves and not hide behind their makeup. It would be beneficial to many girls if they were to watch her inspirational video. The message that everyone is beautiful should set an example for our society that it is enough to be yourself.

YOU ARE BEAUTIFUL!

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