Pressure to be Pretty

Reilly Nance, Arts and Entertainment Editor

As you flip through magazine pages and walk down the street glancing at countless billboards, you are witnessing the latest beauty ideals imposed by society. Bigger lips, softer hair, glowing skin and whiter teeth are all traits that society considers “beautiful.” Erasing wrinkles, slimming waists and airbrushing women to ‘perfection’ is considered the norm in advertising. However, these photos do not reflect reality.

The increasing use of social media has only contributed to the beauty standards in today’s world. The doctored and airbrushed images posted online give young girls a false understanding and leads them to compare themselves to the heavily-edited models. Social media influencers especially, despite their access to large amounts of makeup and beauty products, are inclined to reach for Photoshop. Social media influencer Kylie Jenner, for example, has posted photos with distorted door frames or walls resulting from her attempt to make her waist appear smaller. Not only are these photos lying to the public, but also setting unreachable standards for the young followers who idolize her. These pre-teens and teens are still growing into who they are, yet they have an unhealthy amount of self-doubt caused by these outrageous standards. 

Companies who produce images that are edited so heavily to make the model look ‘perfect’ only promotes low self-esteem and unhealthy thinking. Our obsession with physical appearance and approval from others fuels the companies setting these standards. The all-consuming desire to look just like the models you see everyday can lead to serious issues such as eating disorders or body dysmorphia. The constant pressure being pushed onto female viewers only worsens these issues. 

Lately many companies have been moving in a positive direction when it comes to body positivity and self-love. Dove’s campaign “Onslaught” consists of a small girl looking into the camera viewing advertisements promoting beauty standards and products such as diet pills and weight-loss plans. The campaign ends with the sentence, “talk to your daughter before the beauty industry does.” Dove’s goal with this campaign was to redefine beauty and let their audience know that they don’t have to participate in the latest beauty trends to be considered beautiful.

The media, along with society, continues to create more ways to push their corrupt ideas of beauty onto the public. Once you truly break free from the hold that these standards have on you, it becomes clear that our uniqueness is special and embracing it really is not too bad after all.