Modern beauty standards and their effects on society


Beauty standards are on the verge of evolving as a push for more acceptance in the beauty world prevails.

Sam Skolnick

Beauty. It is something nearly everyone wants to achieve, however many of these standards find it to be detrimental to society. Although the beauty industry has helped to produce fashion icons like Grace Kelly and Angelina Jolie, it has overall done more harm than good.

In 2020, there are many outlets for beauty and fashion tips, yet these are not a guide to beauty. Instead, they are just another way to make many women and men feel as though they are worthless. A study from Brown University found that about 74.4% of females and 46% of men explained that they have thought about their weight and the way they look. This may be because of the standard set that people should be very fit, and in some cases, unhealthily skinny. 

This beauty standard has one of the largest impacts on young adults in high school. Senior Tess Rempel of Spring Lake stated 

“I think that beauty standards impact all people. It seems as though some submit to or ignore the toxic culture of beauty standards and social media simply to reap the benefits. It seems as though some accept that their bodies have become pawns in a never-ending competition of who looks best, as long as they receive the validation that follows, although the risk of developing mental health issues remains,” Rempel said.

Media campaigns show women and men who are believed to be traditionally beautiful, and try to define it as someone who has a button nose, thin waist, and perfect muscles. Although, what is the true definition of beauty? Cambridge University defines beauty as “the quality of being pleasing, especially to look at, or someone or something that gives 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 such as Aerie, with the campaign Aerie REAL, use only untouched images to show what true beauty is, which is anyone. This can help teenagers love the body that they have instead of wanting the body that they do not. Everyone is beautiful, and society and the media need to start showing that. “Beautiful bodies” being shown as only skinny and muscular are unrealistic and must stop.

Beauty standards need to change. The “rules of how to be pretty” need to be adapted to be accepting of all bodies, genders, races, and sexual orientations. Beauty moving forward cannot be defined by one idea, but rather it needs to be as diverse as the people that see it. It needs to reflect how people really are. 

Rempel continued, “In order to fight against such a culture, we need to recognize our part in creating it, and our inaction to strongly defy it.”