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Beauty Standards?

By Alizia Sheriff |

Beauty Standards:

We spend too long staring at the picture in the mirror, examining every tiny aspect of the image. Reciting the words “If only my stomach was a little bit flatter,” “If only my eyes were like hers,” scrutinizing each pimple on our face, each mark on our arm, wishing day upon day that our legs were longer, body was leaner, hair was silkier. We sigh, grumble and groan at what we see in that wretched mirror. Twisting and turning, our minds churning with such a thought. Shoving diet pills down our throats when the only thing we’re losing is our self esteem. Shudder every time we look at that little number before the lbs sign on our weighing scales. When in reality, beauty can’t be found in a magazine, it can’t be in the little pink pills, nor is it a powdered face and injected body. And deep down we all know that.

I am a teenage girl living in a generation of increasing weight and decreasing ideal body size, in a generation that feels compelled to suck in their stomachs as they walk and push out their busts as they talk, to fit this mold. I’m not saying it’s a bad thing to want to look your best and put efforts towards your health and wellness. But it becomes a problem when girls like myself consume ourselves in the pictures we see in magazines, images that have been primped polished and photo-shopped, it becomes a problem when we can’t turn our head one way, or switch on the TV or look out our car windows to see billboards, advertisements, songs, shows telling us what beauty is. Giving us an unrealistic ideal and a superficial outfront. We are cornered left, right and center, trapped by words conformed to a standard created by very few. That if you don’t look like this, dress like that, you aren’t beautiful. Thank you very much society. Thanks a lot media…now not only am I facing a time in my life where I am questioning myself and getting to know myself, but I have you there pointing out all my “imperfections.”

The concept of beauty is an elusive thing that’s ever-changing. From the renaissance look with curvy, motherly figures from 1400s-1600s, to the Victorian hourglass from 1837-early 1900s, to the 1920s flapper look, modest sexpot from 1930s-1950s, twig look inspired by runway model Twiggy in the ‘60s and ‘70s, The Amazon Body in the ‘80s (think Cindy Crawford), and plastic and polished bodies in the 90’s to 00’s. Now? Well now is a confusing time, I like to call the standard of beauty look as the Unrealistic-healthy-skinny-look-but-curvy-yet-thin-at-the-same-time. That is the standard of now.

My point is, fashion, beauty and what is deemed as attractive by societal definition has changed so much over just this past century alone…so how can we let society place a definition on the word beautiful..

Okay- one last thing- do me a favour and close your eyes (read my instructions before you do so though)- now, think of someone you see as beautiful…someone you know…please do not say Kim Kardashian. Alright now open your eyes, don’t tell me who came to your mind…let me guess. The person in your mind does not necessarily conform to ridiculous societal standards of beauty, so why do you think of him/her as beautiful? Because you are looking at the person, for who they are not what they look like and whether or not they conform to standards. In fact, you think this person is beautiful on the inside and out and chances are you all are thinking of people of all different builds, shapes and figures…so why is it that society has narrowed down what is beautiful to one type?

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