‘Reshape how we see beauty’

Alex Rios

Alex Rios

Picture this: You are watching TV with your friends or significant other and a Victoria’s Secret commercial pops up on the screen. You can’t help but notice how beautiful the girls modeling underwear and lingerie are, but you also feel insecure and fold your arms on your belly. This is how many of us girls feel when anything that shows today’s beauty standards comes on television or in real life.

The beauty standards in America for girls and women is difficult enough to reach. The expectation is that your body is perfectly healthy or even slightly underweight, that you are not too tall or too short and that you dress attractively and apply makeup. Men seem to be attracted more frequently to girls of these categories. But it is not just men that judge and evaluate women’s attractiveness: other women do it as well.

When a woman is auditioning for a reality television show such as “The Bachelor,” they are expected to not only look their best, but are ultimately judged on these outside factors. There are always those less conventionally attractive women who will be cast for the sake of not having 27 clones in the cast of the show. However, you rarely see overweight or with a defining height difference from other contestants cast.

Another example specifically relating to collegiate women is sorority recruitment. Girls are told to look their best and behave their best, putting forward their best qualities that will get them noticed by their favorite chapters. But sometimes looks take on a larger role in deciding which potential new member is a better fit for the sorority, and that is a shame. Looks often overpower a talent or extracurricular activity that a certain girl has under her belt, getting her cut or “released” from houses during recruitment. Processes such as these are often reasons why women disagree with the unspoken “standards” that have been solidified by our culture.

These beauty standards are on a path to getting reshaped by the younger generations of today, and not necessarily in the best way. Girls as young as 12 years old are beginning to use social media to gain approval from peers when it comes to how they look. Young girls are wearing makeup since the age of 11 and dieting since an even younger age. Girls are told how to look and how to present themselves to look older and more mature when they are just kids and should be enjoying things like going to the park and playing video games. These standards won’t change any time soon, but it is our job as women to attempt to reshape how we see beauty and how to practice self love.