Beauty in the media

by - October 06, 2019



It is well-known that there are unrealistic beauty standards set in the media, especially for women. This is particularly shown on social media - from photoshopped models to a lack in variety of body shapes and sizes and representation in terms of skin colour. These beauty standards also exist for men, though less so than for women. In this blog post, I will be focussing on women, as that is my lived experience, but I acknowledge that there is a problem across both genders.

Whilst there has been some progress in terms of stereotypes and more talking about the unrealistic beauty standards, I'm still waiting for a change that hasn't been seen. There have been many speeches from celebrities and well-known individuals about breaking barriers and shedding light on the unrealistic body image presented in the media. There are more people being vocal about how the media presents airbrushed models, people with perfect skin facilitated by makeup and editing. This is some progress considered it was less spoken about before. However, despite the talk about what happens and the unrealistic standards, we are yet to see these people in the public eye, who have the power to ignite greater change putting it into action. Making a change

I couldn't help but notice that so many people talking about breaking the barriers are conforming to the very beauty standards they speak against and are not paving the path. I see famous women giving public speeches on the pressure girls face to wear makeup and how we should not feel the need to look perfect. Yet the irony is, these women give these speeches looking glamorous and with a perfect face. I am not hating on women wearing makeup or being more dressed up - I do like wearing makeup and getting more dressy sometimes myself.  Women should be free to wear what they want and express themselves however they want. However, I would like to see more public figures actively not conforming to these beauty ideals, not just stating they are against it. Everybody is free to do as they like, but it is frustrating to see that individuals speaking out against these pressures that have the power to make a difference are not actively doing what they can to change it. There are people in the media talking about accepting and loving the way you are- yet so many of these people have had modifications to their face and body and are not transparent about it. There is nothing wrong with making modifications to yourself that will make you feel happier. But, there is a problem when those very same people saying that women should embrace their natural beauty are trying to pass modifications they have made to their body as 'natural'. It is feeding into the pressure women feel to conform to certain ideals and they are stating they are against. I am tired of empty promises to so many impressionable young girls, who need these women to break the cycle and encourage them that validation is not based on outer beauty and to own your choices - to do things because it makes you feel good. 

Whilst there has been progress in this area, we need more people who don't just talk about needing to change the pressures and unrealistic beauty standards in the media, but who make a difference. Women who will not wear makeup so consistently in the public eye, women who will reject modifications being made to their photos and editing. Women who are unafraid to go against the expectation in certain industries that require such a polished look consistently such as modelling and acting.

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