--Jane R. Hirschmann, When Women Stop Hating Their Bodies
It’s really weird to me that I tried so hard and almost killed myself to achieve a standard of beauty that is not only bound to change, but also impossible. Seriously. With the amount of photoshopping and airbrushing that happens these days, the media is imprinting on our minds a standard of beauty that can’t and doesn’t exist in real life. Cover models don’t look like that in real life.
Standards of beauty have changed over time. Even in my (relatively) short life, the beauty standard has changed from big hair, broad shoulders, tiny butt in the 1980’s, to waif thin in the 90’s, to athletic (“strong is the new sexy”). Even more pronounced is the changes in beauty standards over time. Historically, paintings, sculpture and other art forms have shown the evolution of beauty. The only consistency is that what is beautiful is determined by what signifies wealth and success. From pale skin and curvy, voluptuous bodies, to skinny and tan. Back in the day, pale skin meant you didn’t have to work outside. A voluptuous body meant you were well fed and therefore well off. NOW a tan means you can afford to travel (or go to the tanning salon), and a thin body means you have the money and time required to maintain it.
Here are some arbitrary beauty rules I have noticed in my time:
1) Skin should be blemish and wrinkle free
2) Hair should be shiny and full at all times, even when just out of the shower or in bed
3) Men may go bald, get a belly, age . . . their wives must not (see any commercial ever)
4) There should be less of me in the world (“more grains, less you”--Cheerios)
5) You legs should be long and lean even if you were born to be 5 feet tall
6) Face must be symmetrical
7) The body is made to show off current fashion trends, not the other way around
8) You must look like you have makeup on without actually wearing makeup
9) You must be hairless all over your body, except your eyebrows (which must be perfect without grooming), eyelashes, and hair
10) If you are ever happy with your looks, you are not only vain, but also wrong.
11) You must be skinny, but also have a plump behind and full chest. And they must not be fake.
12) Rules are subject to change for no apparent reason. FOREVER. And you must change with them.
Apparently being beautiful is for a select few only. And too bad for the rest of us. Studies have shown, ironically, that people whose features are more representative of the average in terms of size and shape are considered more attractive. So I guess to be beautiful, you have to be average. But the right kind of average. . .
At CFC we’re guarded from the onslaught of media-produced, computer-generated women. I’m learning to be glad that I’m not one of them. I’m learning to be happy being “unconventionally beautiful.” I think some of the most fabulous women in the world are also fabulously “flawed.” And lets be honest, if someone is ugly on the inside, no amount of money or surgery or genetic blessings can cover that up. I think the standard of inner beauty has remained consistent, timeless; it won’t ever be out of fashion.
So maybe that’s a standard more worthy of our effort..
Here is an interesting article from stylecaster.com about the evolution of beauty.