I want to start off by saying that your self worth is not dependent on societal standards. You do not need to base your beauty on what other people say is right or wrong. The whole point of this post is to highlight the fact that beauty standards change dramatically very quickly; so there’s no need to feel like you have to fit into today’s standards, they’re just mass opinions. Please don’t define yourself on the opinions of others.
The pressures young girls face in today’s society to look a certain way is horrendous, believe me, I’ve felt that weight. I know that boys also face pressures, but I’m not a boy so I can only truly speak on the struggles of women.
We all know what the beauty standards of today are, big boobs, small waist, big butt, big lips, no cellulite, no stretch marks, and hairless. Sure, some people look like this, but it isn’t a reality for everyone. I will never look like that, and that is totally okay. Most of this is only achievable with cosmetic surgery. As a society, we have an obsession with plastic surgery. You only have to scroll through Instagram to see the effects of this ‘ideal’. Instagram, social media in general really, has shaped what we see as beautiful. Our generation is pretty much the first to completely grow up with social media as a major influence. There are so many procedures that can alter our bodies nowadays, there’s not much you can’t do. That doesn’t mean you have to though. I have no issue with cosmetic surgery if that’s what you want to do, do it! You just shouldn’t feel like you need to permanently change your appearance to feel beautiful because of society.
I’ve always been really self-conscious about my red hair and incredibly pale skin. As a ginger, I’ve never been able to catch a real/natural suntan, and fake tan is constantly being shoved down our throats. I thought I had to have a tan to be beautiful. Absolutely not true. When you think about it, back in the Georgian times, pale skin was the desired look. In fact, it wasn’t until the 1920s that tanned skin became fashionable in Western society, that’s only 100-years ago! And when it comes to my red hair, people go to great lengths and spend a lot of money to achieve what I have naturally. Women used to use urine to get my beautiful colour.
When it comes to body size, and the ‘ideal’ look women should be achieving, it changes all the time. Pretty much every ten or so years. This big butt, big boobs look wasn’t always the desired. Think back to the 90s and early noughties, ‘boyish’ style was all the rage. Skinny bodies with little to no shape. The heroine chic type made famous by the supermodel, Kate Moss. That’s what people wanted and wanted to look like. In the 50s women were expected to have very tiny little waists, an hourglass figure. The 20s saw the ‘boxy’ shape in style. Victorians preferred a plumper body. There are no rules about how you should look. Like I said at the beginning, the ‘ideal’ body type is an opinion. Opinions about your body do not matter. The only reason you should change the way you look is that you want to, that’s it. Today bigger people, like myself, are considered ugly or less than just because of our size. That couldn’t be further from the truth.
Different cultures have their own body ‘ideals’. There really isn’t a right way to look. The standard changes from country to country. Check out this article about the ‘perception of beauty’ that shows you the body ideal from a bunch of different countries: https://onlinedoctor.superdrug.com/perceptions-of-perfection/#tab. Do you see how different some of these are? Beauty is subjective and the only person who gets to decide if you’re beautiful is you.
There are always going to be people that tell you why you’re not beautiful, but it’s your duty not to listen to them. If you aren’t what today’s standards tell us to be like, don’t worry, at some point in history there would’ve been people literally injuring themselves to look like you. Trends change, style evolves. In ten-years time we’ll be looking back on this period thinking that the style people are cutting themselves open to achieve was a mistake. You’ve just got to do you.