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How beautiful are Beauty Standards?


Beauty standards are pushing people to look a certain way. That specific way is considered the epitome of beauty; however, this is causing significant problems, including eating disorders, depression especially amongst teenagers. Men and women both must adopt these standards to look "pretty" or “handsome." Looking at these beauty standards, especially in terms of women, paints a devastating picture. The Kardashians could be looked to understand this phenomenon. Everyone has heard their name even if they don't watch their show called "Keeping Up with the Kardashians." They have propagated the idea of a slim-thick body shape that each one of them has adopted. Although, the Kardashians do challenge the Eurocentric standard of beauty (blond, busty, blue-eyed). However, it's important to note that they have replaced those standards with new ones. Their beauty standards are ethically more inclusive, but it's significant to highlight that they remain unattainable, which is problematic. The Kardashians are a big profitable market as Kylie Jenner was ranked as the youngest billionaire by Forbes. She materialized the "kylie lip frenzy" by launching a brand that is still relevant. The children are also exposed to these standards through toys or media products that they engage in. Such as Barbie and Ken and how their figures and characteristics are unattainable, yet they are presented as the desired image to kids. Even filters on Instagram and Snapchat are pursuing a similar standard. These filters dramatically alter one's face by adding thicker lashes, fuller lips, higher cheekbones, and slimmer noses to one's face. These standards are normalized to the extent that they start to seem natural. However, it is important to realize that it is completely one's own choice if they want to engage in surgeries or filters to attain what they want. The problem arises when individuals are forced or bullied to look a certain way to feel beautiful. Recently, Instagram banned the "cosmetic surgery" filters that show people the effect of what they would look like if they had fillers or surgeries. As it was found that these filters were harming people's mental health. However, this makes one question if this would lead to the creation of a space that would promote self-esteem or self-love or is an unnecessary measure taken for the sake of marketing.




Image is taken from:

Pagtakhan, Abryana. “Beauty Standards Create Fear of Exclusion for Young Girls.” Riverside Eddy, 15 June 2021, riversideeddy.ca/beauty-standards-create-fear-of-exclusion-for-young-girls.


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12 Comments


Khubaib Riasat
Khubaib Riasat
Dec 15, 2021

In the first place, there should be no such thing as beauty standards. There is no such thing as a standard or a limit to beauty. Everyone is lovely in their manner; yet, once a standard is established, the originality is lost. In essence, beauty standards tell us not to be ourselves. In the West, beauty standards focus around having dark skin, whereas whitening creams are commonplace in South Asia. People with thin lips desire thicker lips and vice versa. They advise you to be the polar opposite of yourself. Worse, these beauty standards will never rest, even if you reach one through surgery, and what's more, you'll need to change your look again a few years later!! We should…

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I completely agree because that is the ideal society that we should all aspire to towards and individual contribution would materialise such notions into reality.

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I agree with the author, but more relevant to our society is the prevalence of the post colonial hangover and inferiority complex where there is an obsession with being white. There is a struggle to come to terms with our own national identity that was transformed and oppressed by the colonisers, resulting in cultural amnesia and fragmented identities. There has been an internalisation of Eurocentric values and the idea that our culture/values are less "civilised" which paves the path for people to try to attain unreasonable and often unattainable beauty standards ( naturally blonde hair, coloured eyes etc).

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The post was meant to highlight the worldwide impact of these beauty standards in an online setting giving relevant examples including instagram filters etc. I agree with the points that you have raised as Pakistan being a postcolonial state is unable to free itself from the colonial hangover. It still epitomises the Eurocentric ideals of beauty and tries to imitate them due to the inferiority complex. However, beauty filters are now a common phenomenon in Pakistan and the youth especially is obsessed with the beauty standards highlighted in the post.

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This is so on point. Growing up, I have always seen how there is a certain ideal body that is deemed desirable for both men and women. This has resulted in the development of different body disorders among teenagers and young adults. Recently, I was working on designing an application to cater to Body Dysmorphic Disorder and while conducting initial research, we discovered how so many people around us are impacted by the ideal body portrayed through media. A lot of people from LUMS told us how they spend hours comparing themselves to people online and how unhappy they are from their bodies. In an era where social media has the greatest impact on our mental health, it is extremely…

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Unfortunately this is becoming commonplace and in a Pakistani society this is extremely dangerous as well given the stigma attached with mental disorders. This stresses the need to raise awareness around these issues to be able to create a more open and tolerant society.

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This is so true. I believe both men and women face the stereotypical expectations of their gender according to the trend on social media. Where previously people used to look up to celebrities in magazines and other outlets, now social media's reach has exacerbated the influence of beauty standards on every individual through their accounts. In a recent research paper, I read that most women reported that they tend to compare their own appearance negatively with the people they interact with online. As you mentioned celebrity influence plays a large part in creating these unrealistic standards, the Kardashian family often advertise their weight-loss supplements and detox teas, shaping belts, claiming these products to be the secret of their hourglass bodies.…


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Yes, I agree that it is quite problematic and being a celebrity comes with a responsibility. These celebrities should be transparent about their procedures but we cannot oblige them to do so at the same time. Therefore, it is quite a subjective issue that cant be defined definitively but one could say that in a time of "too much media" nothing stays hidden which itself is food for thought.

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Beauty standards remind me of what Freud once referred to, and how he associated it with the pleasure of looking which reduced people to mere objects. By having filters that propagate one standard is quite problematic and I think instagram may have realized this, but then again media is profit motivated and a lot of times they use social factors like these as a marketing strategy. I believe in today's world, there is no telling of what is real or what is just an act.

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The issue of transparency is very real as brands have a very hypocritical nature because they want to cash on people's insecurities and make a profit. Therefore, this ambiguity is not a mere coincidence but is a calculated move meant to only push profits as the neoliberal model suggests.

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