Updated: Dec 1, 2022
While the oft-heard phrase "be yourself” aims to encourage us to ignore the judgments of others on our expression, the current beauty culture has, in fact, a great influence on how we express ourselves. The way we dress to the way we act is affected by what we see. Beauty culture is the styles, products, and other people associated with beauty as a whole. This usually focuses on the physical appearance and aesthetics, thereby stereotyping beauty and focusing attention on supermodels. This stereotyping has caused numerous controversies on social media and is a topic that is essential to talk about.
In being part of today's world, Gen Z, we can look into almost anyone’s life with a few swipes. As curious people start comparing themselves to the definition of perfect, which brings rise to insecurities. While browsing through the internet, we tend to find the products that influencers use to look “flawless." To undergo an experience that makes you feel inferior is not the best feeling. Somewhere deep inside we know what we see is not always true but we wish we would look like them, be appreciated like them. With the pressure of keeping up with the latest trends, women, men, and others are expected to maintain alluring looks all the time, and it is not right. Someone different is outcasted while someone who has kept up with the culture is greatly appreciated.
With more brands entering the beauty industry to advertise toxic beauty, the market has flooded with products that claim to have an overnight result. The beauty industry is worth over $380.2 billion and it is growing at a tremendous pace each year. Many people make hefty investments to look photoshopped in real life, not realizing that the people advertising these products have been edited to look immaculate. Even celebrities such as the Kardashians, Lindsay Lohan to Beyonce have been called out for editing their pictures to appear picturesque. Why wouldn't they want to? The internet is filled with trolls who will point out all your imperfections which you never even realized you had. The word beauty does not have a perfect definition but the world has made one up.
Today's beauty standards expect women to wear makeup daily, work out to stay in ‘shape’, stay skinny with curves in the right places, look young and be flawless.
Men are also expected to have the ideal body, perfect hair, and other masculine features. Everyone is expected to stay in their category. For most people, these are the core of beauty. However, the present world has become more inclusive and gives a voice to the unheard, and allows people to express themselves better than they could before. Way beyond what we could do before. Social platforms have especially become more relatable to people. With people from all ethnicities and cultures coming together on various platforms, it is quite questionable that beauty has a singular definition.
The majority of people have realized that we humans come in all shapes and sizes and none of us are the same. We individuals have a different perception of the world and we all should be able to express ourselves regardless of what the world thinks. Having inclusive sizes, shades, and matches for everyone has become a necessity. Brands that fail to provide us with these have been boycotted. The pressure we have of looking a certain way will remain as we are all vulnerable to the internet. Slowly but surely people have been comfortable in their skins and the positive support we see is tenable. Soon enough people will look away from their virtual world and see the bitter-sweet reality of beauty. Till then we shall await that day to come.