Beauty standards in America put the pressure on millennials to look ‘perfect’

By Hayley Curtiss
April 25, 2017

Many have heard the phrase, “beauty is in the eye of the beholder,” but in today’s society it seems to have changed to “beauty is in the eye of who society as a whole perceives as beautiful.” 

Beauty standards in America have drastically changed over the years. Pale skin was preferred over tan skin, being curvy was preferred over being thin, and showering was an option instead of a social norm. Today’s society is completely different than what it used to be and how the media portrays men and women are now the normal beauty standards of the 21st century.

Technology has affected appearances greatly due to the use of photoshop and editing software that distorts models into looking “perfect.” With the creation of social media came a lot of pressure to be perfect. Models post pictures of their bodies in bathing suits or on magazine covers and it can be intimidating for many people and make them aspire to look like something that the models do not even look like themselves due to editing. 

“I wish I looked like Cindy Crawford,” Cindy Crawford, the supermodel, said. 

Looks have become such an integral part in our lives that our mood depends on if we have a full face of makeup on or not. Some students feel like if they do not feel like they have a full face of makeup on or if they’re overall appearance is not what they feel comfortable with they will not go out of their dorms. 

Society these days pictures people who get the most likes and comments on their photos to be successful, rich, and have tons of friends but that is not always the case. Some people who get zero likes on their Instagram pictures are some of the most loved and adored people by their friends. Social media is now clouded with smoke-and-mirror tactics to make something seem perfect so people desire to be like that and continue to follow or subscribe to that person.

Social media has done a lot of good for our society but there are also many drawbacks. If you go to a party but did not post it in your snapchat story, did you actually go? Many people these days are victims of these thoughts and sometimes we need to take a step back and accept ourselves for who we are.

Some companies have started their own self- love campaigns to promote self- love and self -acceptance. In 2006, Dove launched the “Real Beauty” campaign to encourage women to love themselves and accept all different shapes and sizes. Over the last few years, Barbie has come out with new shapes, sizes, and skin colors for their dolls after decades of Barbie having the stereotypical blonde hair and blue eyes barbie doll. Now there are African American barbie dolls, petite barbie dolls, barbies with colorful hair and many more to choose from that fit many different types of people.

Beauty standards have changed drastically in America over the past several decades and men and women across the country are starting to realize it is okay to accept one’s self for who they truly are. Companies are reaching out to people saying that it is okay to love yourself for who you are and what you look like. 

Times like these where people are obsessed with technology and looking the part adds pressure to most people’s lives and can create long term negative self talk and even self-hate. Loving yourself is having a healthy relationship with yourself. If you would not say the hurtful things about appearances to your friends, do not say them to yourself. Stop the pressure to be perfect now and next time you see yourself in the mirror, tell yourself you are beautiful on the inside and out.


Hayley Curtiss

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