The Road to Self-love: Knowing the Harmful Effects of Beauty Standards

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As humans, we have this certain inclination to appreciate beauty. Whenever our senses pick up something we find beautiful, we have this urge to pause for a brief moment and admire the beauty we are witnessing. These objects of beauty can come from any place at any given time.

Much of the conversation about beauty is always tied to our physical appearance. It can be normal for people to find others beautiful. This can even be the basis of how we choose our life partners.

The Rise of Beauty Standards

Our appreciation for beauty has led to the creation of certain beauty standards. Beauty standards are essentially specific physical characteristics that a person should have for them to be considered beautiful. These standards vary across cultures. And the people who meet these standards are praised and are viewed as ideal life partners.

The standard of beauty in ancient Greece was based on the proportions of the face. But times change, and so do these beauty standards. Today’s standards are now heavily influenced by the people we see on the internet and social media.

Some companies also used beauty standards as a marketing tactic to create demand for their beauty products. They would point out a physical characteristic that is generally seen as a flaw. From there, they would position their products as the solution to remove these said flaws.

The Damage That It Causes

Beauty standards seem harmless. The establishment of these standards can easily be disguised as our way of seeking beauty. But when under heavy scrutiny, they can become incredibly problematic.

Body Image Problems

Plenty of beauty standards that we see today are highly unrealistic. This is essentially the result of using these standards as business tactics. Since these standards are seen as ideal, people will try their hardest to obtain them.

But the unrealistic nature of these beauty standards can make it troublesome for average individuals to attain. No matter how hard they try, they cannot achieve these standards because they are impossible to obtain in the first place. This difficulty can lead to the development of body image issues for some people.

People can become highly self-conscious about their body image. It can even lead to conditions such as anorexia nervosa and other eating disorders to achieve these beauty standards. While there are treatment options for anorexia, nobody deserves to go through such a difficult experience.

Deteriorating Self-esteem

People who meet certain beauty standards are often praised and complimented. Of course, this positive view can help them develop self-confidence, which greatly contributes to their overall self-esteem. This is not the case for those who do not meet the criteria.

While these characteristics are seen as ideal, the opposite can be seen as flaws. People who do not possess the ideal beauty standards might feel shy and insecure. This can hinder them from being comfortable with their appearance.

Ultimately, beauty standards will hurt the self-esteem of those who cannot reach them. Good self-esteem is needed for almost everything we do in life. Our view of ourselves can affect our ability to perform daily tasks. Establishing good self-esteem can essentially help us live happier lives.

Going Against Oneself

Some people also adhere to these standards solely for social approval. They might not even like following these standards. But because it garners praise, they go against their emotions and do it anyway. This prevents people from discovering their true selves. Continuously adhering to these standards will eventually become a burden because of the cognitive dissonance that they experience.

Do These Standards Matter?

Beauty standards have proven to have their share of harmful effects. These effects can become dangerous when left unnoticed. So why do they matter so much?

If we are going to be fully honest, conventional beauty standards have no role in any diverse society. We all have different bodies and appearances. And this contributes to our individuality.

Also, people do not view beauty the same way. One might find something beautiful, but others might not share the same opinion. Our views on what beauty is will always have differences. These differences in views make it hard for people to accept any standard of beauty.

It can be understandable why people will still strive to follow beauty standards. Doing this can help us feel good about ourselves through the views of other people. We feel seen and accepted.

But we all should learn how to love our physical characteristics. Regardless of our perceived flaws, we must come to understand that we are beautiful. Developing this can lead to a healthy sense of self that easily translates to every aspect of our lives.

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