How Society And The Media Have Shaped Beauty


by Emma Zavala

Beauty has always been a major part of human culture. Whether it be from looking plump and well-rounded in ancient Greece showing wealth, to the hourglass figure in the 1950’s, women, and even some men have always been interested in what their body and face look like. But these ideals haven’t always been the most positive towards people’s self-confidence.

Body ideals and beauty have changed throughout the decades and the centuries. Since the 1920’s ideal of being flat chested, women felt as if they needed to have that specific figure in order to be beautiful. The 1930’s – 1950’s ideal body figure was a curvy, hourglass shape and small waist. Nowadays, the desired body shape  has changed to having a flat stomach, a so called ‘thigh gap,’ large breasts and butt. Women regularly get plastic surgery to achieve this look. But this look has spread to more than just America, more and more people around the world are starting to want this body figure.

Today’s look, as always, is putting pressure on lots of people to fulfill this archetype. Whether it be from spending way too long in the sun to make yourself look tanned, or not eating enough to make yourself look skinny, people are harming their bodies to fit this unrealistic standard. These things can lead to eating disorders, depression, poor self-esteem, and body dissatisfaction. None of these things should exist in society. Our culture believes that once you get to a certain age or certain weight, that you can no longer be perceived as beautiful, which is awful.

Have you ever seen a model or actor/actress in a magazine or on TV and it made you feel bad about the way you look? Two thirds of people say they have, and 80% of those people were women. We aspire to have our figure mirror those on the front page of Vogue, but here’s a newsflash, those aren’t their real bodies. Many models have been photoshopped to fit this body type even though they may seem flawless, they aren’t real. They are all made skinnier, curvier, straighter, lighter skinned, or taller. How would it make you feel if you were already chosen to be a model, and they still refigure your body and face? This is sending a message that even the “perfect” people are not good enough.

Those cover models may look stunning, but they are just like the rest of us. We all have our insecurities and our edges that make us who we are. Whether you think you have a large nose, or too much acne, or short legs, someone else might think that those are what make you you! And guess what, they are! People are different and unique and we should learn to accept ourselves for those things. Everyone is beautiful in their own way and everyone has worth. So next time you see a model on the cover of Cosmopolitan, just know that there is no need to compare yourself to them, you are just as beautiful, and certainly as wonderful.

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