The age-old adage of “beauty is pain” has never been truer than it is today. Many people around the world are trying to live up to the beauty standards of society. The combination of media and the public have an influence on how people view themselves. These requirements of beauty are advertised in various ways by celebrities, children’s toys and the media. These unrealistic expectations of beauty have been going on for many decades, and celebrities are now speaking out against it.
Celebrities, childhood dolls, and the media has put societal standards of beauty and has created a false sense of what is considered beautiful.
Socialites have influenced girls to look like them.When people see other women or men whom they consider perfect, they start to idolize them. According to the article “Teens and Celebrities”, “When a teen girl flips through her favorite fashion magazine, inundated with pictures and articles revolving around the erroneous belief that celebrities are perfect” (Teens).
When girls see these things in magazines, such as Sports Illustrated, Swimsuit Edition, People Magazine, Vogue, and others, they are affected by what they see. They seek to replicate these celebrities. However, these magazine companies chose to use excessive editing to photos for numerous reasons. One example is the cover of the magazine Vanity Fair. In the original photo of Madonna, she appears to be muscular in her thighs and her arms and in the photoshopped picture she appears to be less physically fit. Editors of Vanity Fair sculpted Madonna’s body and took away the muscular parts of her body, such as her arms and legs.
A magazine could choose to edit a picture with a woman with too much muscle because she looks too masculine. A woman is supposed to look feminine and not physically fit. There are many reasons as to how celebrities have influenced girls to look like them. According to the article “Why Do We Idolize Celebrities?” , “We are constantly being shown what to do and what not to do by these people that, to us, are held above our heads as we idolize their very existence. We want to look like them, eat like them, exercise like them, talk like them. We want to be them” (Lee). For instance, if someone wants to lose weight and they see that Beyonce did a 30 day lemon detox and it helped her lose weight they will try to follow suit.When people constantly are being advertised on what celebrities do, people start to do everything they do.
On top of beauty standards, the media even dictates what shade of skin is “in”. Society has made people believe that lighter skin is prettier than darker skin, and has given people privilege in society. According to the article “Dark Skin Vs: Light Skin: The Battle Of Colorism In The Black Community”, “Frequent sightings of dark-skinned people portrayed negatively in the media is heavily exploited, while light-skinned and non-black individuals are portrayed more positively” (Dark). The media favors light- skinned and non-black people, which has created a divide in the African-American community. African-Americans go against their own kind and put labels on each other based on skin type. For example, “In an interview with Essence Magazine, actress Viola Davis discusses how, as a child, she too felt the pain of being called an assortment of derogatory terms and shares how after a while, she began to believe that she in fact, was ugly (essence.com).” (Dark). People with dark skin start to believe that their skin is ugly because they are not light enough. One example of this is in the film industry, there was a time where blacks wouldn’t get roles in movies, people of lighter skin or who are not black would get the roles. According to research “‘The reason they’re not truthful these days is they aren’t really depicting the importance and the involvement and the participation of people of color in our American culture,’ Berry said, addressing the film academy’s diversity controversy publicly for the first time.”(Cohen). There is a lack of diversity in the film industry and the movie industry is not giving people of color recognition on their achievements in the industry. Also, according to research, “The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences has been facing a diversity crisis since the nominations announced last month revealed a second consecutive year of all-white acting nominees.” (Cohen). The people who are not black or have lighter skin usually benefit more than the darker skin people. One example of this is the baby doll experiment. Children of different ethnicities were placed in a room with a doll that was black and another that was white. They were asked several questions such as which doll is prettier, which doll is bad, which doll is nice and other questions. Most of the children gravitated towards the white doll (Doll). Children are being taught how to discriminate other races at a young age and are carrying on this learned behavior on into the world with others.
Childhood dolls can also have a negative effect on children and how they view themselves, because many of them have unrealistic body types. Toys are influential because most children see them everyday and the dolls are like their role models because they portray your lifestyle. According to the article”The Science of Barbies on Girls’ Self-Esteem?” ?Younger girls who read the Barbie books were more dissatisfied with their bodies than those who read the Emme or body-less books.? (The Science of). Young girls who look at Barbie aspire to be her because that is their role model as they grow up,the doll is advertised in stores and on television. Younger children are starting to be curious about their body parts and start to compare themselves to her figure. Additionally, ?Barbie is just one of countless influences in girls’ lives that stresses the unrealistically thin figures Western culture expects of them.?(The Science of).Young girls are constantly being shown these unrealistic body types and start to believe that what is being shown is the correct body shape. At one point Barbie did not have a diverse body shape, she was always the doll with the thin body. This toy shows people that if they want to have the perfect body, you have to be thin. The influence of this doll could lead to many other problems. For example ?The desire that boys have to put on weight and muscle can be traced back to the 1964 debut of G.I. Joe,? (It?s Not Just). The action figures for boys are like the Barbie dolls for girls. The boy action figures for boys usually have a six-pac,are muscular and have tan skin tones. The appearance of these dolls are not ideal for boys. Some people even get cosmetic surgery to look like human dolls. A female Russian model named Valeria Lukyanova had plastic surgery to become a living Barbie doll. She had blonde hair, small waist, a big chest and big eyes (Krupnick). Valeria is trying to be as perfect as Barbie and was influenced by Barbie because she is considered “perfect”. People are being influenced by their childhood toys and feel obligated to change their appearance.
Celebrities are aware of their magnetic influence. Therefore, even though photoshop gets rid of flaws, celebrities still choose not to use it. Many celebrities, such as Zendaya Coleman, Lady Gaga and others, have refused to use photoshop. Zendaya Coleman saw a picture of herself on a magazine and was upset about how her picture was photoshopped. In the edited photo the magazine company made Zendaya?s legs smaller, her face smaller and darkened her skin color. According to the article “13 Times Celebrities Called Out Magazines Over Retouching”, “Sharing a side-by-side comparison of the real and retouched photos, she wrote that ‘these are the things that make women self conscious, that create the unrealistic ideals of beauty that we have'”(Calkins). Photoshopped pictures take away from people’s natural selves. People see how ‘perfect’ these photoshopped photos are and they are not content with themselves. People begin to think, the way that this picture portrays a celebrity is the way they are supposed to be. Another celebrity that spoke out against these photoshopped picture is Meghan Trainor. She asserts “‘One photo was altered so I looked tanned and I was angry because I love my snow-white skin. I rock it.'” (L). Many celebrities are comfortable in their own skin, and are showing the world that they do not have to be what society wants pictures somebody to be. Celebrities are saying the same thing about photoshop. Celebrities know how influential they are and some promote body positivity.This is confusing because society wants you to be one way and people follow those standards of society. Society seems to not like darker skin tones but make people who are not black tanned and make people who are black lighter through photoshopping.
Musicians are also speaking up about beauty standards. Many artists are moving away from the unrealistic beauty standards society has set. Musicians are letting people know it is all right to be different shapes and sizes and that people do not have to be what society wants them to be. Alessia Cara is one out of many musicians who spoke up about the beauty standards. She stated, “I was finding it really hard to be a girl in this world today. With all these expectations being thrown at us, I wanted to make women forget, and remind everyone that you have to conform to these standards or molds that we’re expected to fit into. There are so many different kinds of beautiful, and it’s about time that we start embracing all of them” ( Alessia). This Artist is letting people know that they do not have to change because society wants them. She is letting people know that people are beautiful in many different ways. She is also letting people know that beauty comes in different forms and that people are perfect the way they are. Another artist who has spoken up against beauty standards is the singer Pink. During the VMA awards Pink gave a speech about her daughter. According to research “Pink shared a moving story about her 6-year-old Willow and, in the process, made a powerful statement about refusing to conform to traditional beauty standards, embracing individuality and self-love.”(VMAs). She is showing people that it’s alright to be yourself and if you love yourself you do not have to fit into society’s standards.
Even though the idea of beauty has changed over the decades, it remains unrealistic today.Throughout time and even further back than the 1900s beauty has changed drastically. According to the article “Sex siren, flapper…? “Women we’re inspired by Charles Dana Gibson illustrations in the 1910s”(Sex). Women had tiny waists, curvy hips and big buss. It has become the norm for women to look that way during this time. During the 1930s and the 1940s women started to appear more curved (Sex). The curved hips seem to always come back in style. In the 1990s there was this period of time it was called the “Waif” women became really thin (Sex siren). In only one year women went from being curvy to being thin. In the 2000s women started have big butts and curvy hips (Sex). Celebrities like Kim Kardashian , Nicki Minaj and others are known for having big butts and curvy hips whatever the trend may be, it is unrealistic because a person is not going have the “perfect” body without their flaws. Some people have fat, Cellulite, stretch marks on their body and people simply cannot be curvy, even if they tried.
Plastic surgery provides an outlet for people to feel better about themselves. For example according to the article “Research ties plastic surgery to higher self-esteem, better mood” “When comparing the results of the psychological tests of the surgical patients to those who had not had plastic surgery, people who went under the knife had higher self-esteem,…” (Research).The people who usually get plastic surgery do it to fix the areas they are not happy about. For example people get liposuction to get rid of the extra fat and make them slimmer.When the procedure is done this gives the patients a confidence boost because the area that they dislike is no longer a problem and they start to feel good about themselves.According to the article “Does Cosmetic Surgery Really Improve Self-Esteem?” “Many patients say they feel better in themselves and report a massive boost in confidence after surgery.”(Cascio). It is said that they no longer feel insecure about their body. Patients start to grow to embrace what they have fixed more than their imperfections.Ladies also get plastic surgery because of the pressure from their spouse or significant other. Women do this because they want to make sure their spouse or significant is attracted to them.
Women are judged more than men on their appearance creating a double standard. According to research, “Though both men and women experience fat prejudice, studies have found that overweight women feel more societal pressure to lose weight than overweight men.” (Bahadur).Women feel this way in society because they are being judged by other women and feel the need to be in competition with each other. Men have other expectations from society. From the beginnings of childhood boys are gendered to be masculine or “macho”. Therefore men do not have to care much about their appearance as much as women because their priority is to focus on masculine activities. According to the article “The Gender Confidence Gap Is Real, But It’s Greater In Developed Countries, Says New Study” “Men looking in the mirror are more likely to be either pleased with what they see or indifferent. A recent study by Yahoo Health showed that men are happier with their bodies than women, which can be a huge contributor to confidence, since women are taught to conflate their bodies with their self-worth.” (The). “Some men looking in the mirror may literally not see the flaws in their appearance.”(Mirror,Mirror). Even though men are as influenced as women they are not able to express it in society. Women have idols such as Jhen? Aiko, Tori Kelly, Beyonc? and other artists they idolize.Men also have idols such as Chris Brown, Leonardo Dicaprio and other celebrities.Some men do not follow after society’s beauty standards.
Social media use creates negative connotations on beauty. An example is “A study conducted by multiple professors at the University of Toledo hypothesized that those who use social media often have poorer self-esteem because of the comparisons they make on social media.”(Erickson). When scrolling through Instagram, Twitter, Facebook and other social media sites there are all types different people on there. People start to compare their weight, assets and facial features to other men or women on social media. What is being shown on social media sometimes is not real. There are over edited pictures of unrealistic body features and as well as facial features.Another example is ” The average American encounters 3,000 advertisements every day, and spends a total of two years watching TV commercials in their lifetime, Kilbourne said. At the center of many of these ads is an image of idealized female beauty. Models are tall, slim, and light skinned, and digitally altered to ever-more unrealistic proportions.” (Advertising’s). Furthermore, the advertisements on social media continue the cycle of unfair body images. People never get to see real beauty. The public is always shown unrealistic beauty. Advertisements combined with friends showing picture-perfect portraits create a black hole of unrealistic expectations and feelings of depression. On almost all social media sites you see different kinds of models and always seeing them it makes people feel like the way those models look is the way they are supposed to look. People will go as far as dieting or work out excessively to look like the models that are being advertised. Not everyone is going to be tall, slim or going to have the ideal beauty standards. Everyone will have their flaws.
It might seem as if the media does not affect beauty standards at all. Before there was the media in China women would go as far as breaking their feet which was known as foot binding to meet societies standards. Therefore some might argue media does not affect the beauty standards from society. However, it does affect societies standards of beauty. What this argument fails to consider that the media shows people all of the unrealistic standards. According to the article “Young Girls Explain Why Beauty Standards Are so Impossible Of Beauty Are Impossible” “According to one of the participants, altered images on magazine covers and in advertisements fuel unhealthy comparisons. “(Pittman). On the cover of magazines, people’s bodies are messed magazines with and give them a body that is not theirs. Magazine companies will get rid of places on the body that makes someone look not attractive or alter a person that does not the ideal beauty standards. Children will try to follow after what they see in the media and try to look the way their idol looks. Also in the article “As the young girls reflect on weighing themselves at birthday parties and sucking in their stomachs when they wore bikinis at camp, they prove that body image issues start at a young age.”(Pittman). These kids are being influenced by these celebrities and are doing things such as sucking in their stomach to try to make themselves look thin. Little girls are going as far as weighing themselves to see if they are thin enough.
All things considered, the societal standards of beauty has created a false sense of what is considered beautiful. People are affected by these beauty standards and are molding into the requirements that are set, even children are influenced by them. People idolize dolls celebrities and other things that are shown throughout the media. Also if dolls became realistic children wouldn’t start to feel bad about their body. People would not go as far as altering their body to fit the criteria of society. In society the public normalizes these unrealistic standards. Many celebrities have spoken out against these standards and are letting people know that you should embrace who you are and stop trying to fit into society’s requirements. The rules that are set by society needs to be fixed. If the media started promoting self-love, people would start to be content with themselves.
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