What is the standard for beauty? Does it really exist? If it does, it should be the same everywhere irrespective of the region. In the essay, “My Hips, My Caderas”, Alisa insists that the standard for beauty can vary greatly with the culture. In some countries, big hips are valued because they are a symbol of motherhood. Women in some African tribes put big rings in their lips to scar them. Their lips hang down almost to their chins.
Women with lips like this are considered to be ideal and the standard for beauty. In this case, we can conclude that the standard for beauty is defined by cultural customs.“But women grow up thinking they need to look like Barbie which for most women is impossible, although there is a multibillion-dollar beauty industry devoted to convincing women that they must try.” (76) We unconsciously regard a physically perfect shape as the standard for beauty.
So many people idolize, emulate, and pursue the trend in which physical beauty is ideal. As scientific techniques develop, people have more chances to change their appearances than ever before. One popular technique is plastic surgery, which is considered an essential element to many people these days, especially women.
Countless numbers of plastic surgeries have been performed in the pursuit of the perfect body type.When I visited Korea last winter, a movie called “Beauty is Tired” attracted lots of people to see it because of its controversial story. The movie was about a girl who suffered from obesity. She was a very talented singer, however her appearance did not meet the ideal standard of a performer. After she had plastic surgery, she became the one of the top-selling singers in the country and performed her first concert.
Her life became successful, but the movie exposed the dark side of Korean society that defines people by their appearance. It shows, unfortunately, how we live in a society where too much emphasis is placed on appearance.Advertising is the strongest candidate for physical perfection. The message is that the better you look, the more successful or well liked you will be. Physical beauty is all about being accepted into the culture. Anorexia and bulimia are diseases directly born from a prevalent belief that we must be perfect physically. Princess Diana, Carrie Fisher, and Sarah Ferguson all suffered from these diseases. But you don’t have to be in the public eye to feel the pressure to be beautiful, and thereby accepted.
We must ask ourselves why our culture is so focused on the perfection of physical appearance. “What I know is how perilously close I came to letting others define my existence for me. I became small to measure up to society’s limited version of who I am.
”(69)The press also focuses on looks, particularly with celebrities, and criticizes them as soon as they fall from grace. One example of this is former supermodel, Tyra Banks. Papers attacked her for gaining weight and being out of shape. She was attacked for her looks alone and did not even focus on her career, which she remains focused passionate about.
She is one of the most successful women in our culture today. Yet the presses judged her on appearances alone. Our societies seek physical beauty while totally ignoring inner beauty. Beauty inside is the expression of who we are, not just the outside appearance.As time goes by, the definition of beauty is changing. It has been, should be, and will change because the definition of beauty has visibly ruined lives. If we keep following and pursuing the standard for beauty that is expected by the social norm, we can lose our individual characteristics, which are vital to society.
Many people are giving up changing the current definition of beauty and have decided to change themselves from the inside instead. With these changes, a new standard of beauty will be born.