Beauty Ideals Around the World and Why It’s Time to Be You
Tanned skin or fair skin? Beachy hair or polished? Thick eyebrows or structured—heck if I can keep up! From foot size to eye shape to the size of our backsides, beauty standards change drastically across eras and continents. The lean Jane Fonda look of the 80s faded away with Sir Mix A Lot’s “Baby Got Back” in the early 90s, and now, years later (in the U.S. at least) “booty” has definitely returned again.
But how do U.S. standards of beauty measure up to the rest of the world’s?
A viral before-and-after video has started this conversation across borders and cultures. One brave journalist submitted her makeup-free face to a global Photoshop experiment entitled “Make Me Beautiful.” Here are the results:
The lovely woman in that video is Esther Honig. You can learn more about the “Before & After” project on her site at estherhonig.com.
Esther had this to say about the photos,
“They are intriguing and insightful in their own right; each one is a reflection of both the personal and cultural concepts of beauty that pertain to their creator.”
She makes a good point. The outcomes are a reflection of the particular creator and not necessarily a representation of beauty ideals for a whole culture. However, the point still remains: Is beauty in the eye of the beholder?
We could head over to the Library of Congress and study Kant’s Theory of Taste: A Reading of the Critique of Aesthetic Judgment. Or, we could just accept our own distinctive style of beauty that we are blessed with. I’m thinking the latter.
Aesthetics may be objective, but let me tell you a secret, YOU are beautiful! Got freckles? They’re gorgeous! A natural red head? Fabulous! Hips that don’t lie? Kudos! The truth is, there is likely something about your beauty that someone else would love to have. It’s time we start honoring each other, don’t ya think?
It’s undeniable that it’s human nature to appreciate beauty. But that doesn’t mean that beauty is restricted to a certain set of characteristics, especially when experiments like the above prove that the perception of beauty varies so much.
Don’t you think it’s time to set our own standards, to work with what we’ve got, and honor each other for who we are? I’m not saying to not put your best foot forward and look your best, I’m just saying be the best you, without adhering to trends, unattainable standards, or booty implants. This game of keeping up with these ever-changing beauty ideals, and trying to look like someone else, needs to stop. Being someone else is a huge waste of time and a waste of you.
Rather than jump on a popular fashion magazine’s site and see what trends are coming this fall, I think I’ll go read a book and bask in my Chihuahua’s unconditional love. What about you?
What do you find beautiful?