The Ignorance of Beauty Standards

Mya Figueroa , Staff writer

Society has ideals and beauty standards women are expected to uphold, and when women don’t live up to these beauty standards we as a society often shun them, making them feel belittled. Not only do we shame those who don’t live up to our ideals, but we tend to body shame others in an attempt to take attention off ourselves.  A society can’t get any more arrogant than that. In honor of National Women’s month, it’s important to take a stance against those who think they have a right to decide how women should look.

As a society we often claim that personality is key to being attractive, but then we have the nerve to judge someone simply because they aren’t “pretty enough,” when in reality, we as people are completely self-conscious about our own looks.

“I think in general we care more about looks.  We are a very superficial culture,” says Mrs. Danielle Navarro, a Spanish teacher at RLHS. In her AP Spanish class, Navarro taught a lesson on the different beauty standards around the world.  “We give the media and celebrities too much influence over us. There is too much focus on the thigh gap and eyebrows and what we are all wearing.”

Not only does Navarro believe that we need to get over such one-dimensional expectations, but she also believes it’s important for family to be involved.“We as a culture need to stop expecting outrageous standards for people with completely different body types,” she said. “We are all different and come from different backgrounds, so why would we all have the same body expectations?” Navarro believes the key to having confidence starts at home. “I am VERY careful of the things I say to and around my daughter. I try to be confident about the way my body looks around her. I grew up with a mother who was very critical of herself and she made me very critical of myself too. She has always been smaller than me and still makes comments about being overweight and fat. It makes me feel like she must think I am a whale.” Unfortunately, those closest to us don’t always realize their opinions are the most hurtful.

People often claim body shaming is wrong and those who take part in the act of body shaming should be stopped. This is a great start in the right direction to the end of body shaming, and I’m completely for taking a stance against those who make others feel worthless. However, what I do not agree with is body shaming one type of body shape in order to enhance another body type. For example, every now and then you’ll see a post online that reads something along the lines of “Men like women with meat on their bones” or “Being obese isn’t a disease, it’s a failure.” Firstly, people who make posts like these are extremely ignorant and have major inferiority complexes.  Second, real women have bodies. Nothing more, nothing less. There is no superiority to having a certain body size or shape. There is no wrong way to have a body.  A woman’s self-worth isn’t determined by men or what their body looks like so try again. Third of all, if you have the nerve to post rude comments such as these, you better have the nerve to show your face in public and make the same comment in front of a bunch of women. I’m sure we would all love to see just how great you look when you aren’t hiding behind that screen of yours.

 While posts such as these are extremely hurtful, they only hurt us if we give them consent. Granted, it’s really hard to not let comments such as these affect us when society constantly shoves hurtful comments down our throats but at the end of the day, you are you, and nothing can change that. “We are all different,” says Andy Cervantes, a senior at RLHS. “We have different physical structures and we need to embrace that.”

As women, it’s important that we stand together to build self confidence against those who mock us, rather than tear each other apart so we can be glorified in the eyes of those who degrade us. “I think women should stand against beauty standards because it primarily affects them the most,” says Cervantes. “Women are often objectified for their beauty and that beauty being physical. This can be seen all across the media.The portrayal of women focuses on their physical beauty, [and if we don’t fight against it], it will set a universal beauty standard that is just redundant. I also believe not only women but men should also take a stance against it because they are affected in similar ways but to a lower degree.”

  So let’s take those steps to fight ignorant beauty standards. If someone doesn’t like the way we look, forget them. They’re not worth our time. There’s no sense in kissing the feet of the people who kick us when we can be anything that we want to. You want a cheeseburger? Then you get yourself a cheeseburger. Want a salad? By all means, eat a salad. At the end of the day, we all have one thing in common; none of us is perfect and that’s more than okay. It’s understandable if you want to defy society’s expectations or complain about a society that belittles you, but we as people need to take a step back and think about why our society is so frivolous.

  And while we’re on the topic of how shallow society can get, we shouldn’t forget one major detail: YOU are society. You are part of the society that puts people down and makes them feel worthless. You are part of the society that claims in order to be a runway model you should be at least 5’9’’ and have the “right look”.  You are part of an ignorant, but above all else, extremely self-conscious inferior society. Now we begin to see a shift in where the main source of the problem is. The main problem is not body shaming, that’s merely one of the effects of the problem. The true problem is that every single one of us lacks confidence and self-esteem in some shape or form, yet none of us wants to admit it. As a result, we tear down everyone else’s walls in order to build our own. So I ask you, students of Round Lake High School, how is it that we expect people to uphold certain beauty standards when we ourselves can’t even uphold our own idealistic view of what it means to be beautiful?