Recently, unrealistic beauty standards in countries around the world, have sparked a global discussion. Development of technologies and creation of photo-editing software have given the media an ability to edit an image any way they desire. The media has taken this ability too far and have used it to edit images drastically. Now, it is rare to see an advertisement that hasn’t been photo-edited.
The public’s constant exposure to altered images in media, have helped form beauty standards. Although there has been discussion that the standards are unattainable, people are still trying to match them. The desire to be considered attractive and accepted by others is a natural part of being human. Trying to match a society’s beauty standards has become a serious issue because it has been proven to have a negative effect on women’s self esteem and well beings.
The article Before and After by Esther Honig examines this issue further. Honig took an image of a woman and sent it to 40 photo-editing experts, located in 25 countries around the world; some of the countries included were Sri Lanka, Kenya, and Greece. Each of the experts were asked to alter the photo to represent what their country values as beautiful. The article showed the world that unrealistic beauty standards exist globally. The article also showed that no matter what country, beauty standards highly focus on women.
Since this issue affects me, I believe that women can be the ones to change how the world defines beauty. When I was a young girl, I used what was shown in the media to guide me in how to dress, what makeup I should apply, and how I should act because I believed the media knew best. I figured if the media was writing about it then it must be true. Everyday, women all over the world are using the media as their beauty expert. But this needs to change. The real experts of women’s beauty should be women.
It can start by decreasing the importance media has place on impressing others. Articles and ads all over the world feature tips and tricks such as, “8 Things Guys Notice About You Instantly”, or “Makeup Looks Men Love”. What these articles have in common is not that they both focus on what men enjoy, it’s that they send the message that others should decide how a women should look. This message has been sent from the media to women all over the world and it has become a habit for women to consider others’ opinions of their looks before their own.
When I go shopping for a new outfit, I do not look in the mirror and wonder what man, who I probably have never even met, will find it attractive. Instead, I think about the enjoyment and practicality I can get out of the outfit. If I am picking out an outfit to wear at work, I think about how it will help me be successful at my job. I think about if I will be comfortable wearing that outfit in a work environment. Of course, women are human, and it’s almost impossible not to consider how others will view us, but I don’t consider first how anyone will like the outfit, because why should I? They aren’t the ones having to wear the outfit, apply the makeup, or lose the weight. By placing importance on the individual’s wants and needs first, overall happiness and self esteem will increase.
This may be easier said than done, and it make take decades to achieve for all women, but the recent global discussions have been a great first step to create change in what is seen as beautiful around the world.