Feeding The Social Monster
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Personal change must come before social change. 

In tribal regions of Thailand, unnaturally long necks are found beautiful, as are blue facial tattoos in Maori, New Zealand and scars in some regions of Africa. Here in America, perfect skin, big eyes, plump lips, curves, small waists and frizz-free hair are just some of the beauty standards widely accepted. 

As a university, we are known as an intelligent group, ranking somewhere in the top 50 on every list of best universities out there. I’d like to believe that each and every one of us studying here is beyond book intelligent, that we’re intelligent about social stigmas, standards and unrealistic, biased ideals of beauty, intelligence, economics and the like. However, especially in the heat of recruitment season, I can’t help but wonder if we all give our brains a break and fall victim to easier forms of evaluation, like physical attractiveness, brand labels and wealth. 

Walking down the street a little over a week ago, I heard a young woman who was going through recruitment say to her friend, “I don’t think I’m pretty enough to be in that house.” I was only passing by and I cannot say which house she was speaking of, but it’s disappointing to believe that so many young women value themselves on a cultural standard of beauty. Why couldn’t her sense of humor, intelligence, commonalities with other girls in the house or her unique self get her into said house? What has our society come to when we find our social worth and acceptance based off such a material and impermanent attribute?

We all have our own opinions of which house has the best looking girls or the hottest guys, or which house has the smartest, funniest, laziest or rowdiest actives. We take these superficial generalizations, evaluate our looks and social skills and then place ourselves somewhere in the ranking. We are creating our own problem. We’re feeding the monster.

Socially, the world is a cruel place, but it all comes back to what we think of ourselves. Society can beat us down and tell us we’re not good enough, but as long as we think we’re good enough and we allow others to see that, nothing else matters. We need to make a stand and come to an understanding that what is beautiful is what the eyes cannot see. Qualities like kindness, generosity, humor, a warm heart, modesty and intelligence are what make people genuinely beautiful.

You could be a runway model, a TV star or the prettiest girl on campus, but if you’re not enjoyable to be around or cruel, none of that material beauty will matter. In the end, we all end up with wrinkles, unable to walk without assistance and sometimes missing half our teeth. If it’s genuine inner beauty you possess, as opposed to the artificial, you’ll be surrounded with friends and family until the end. You’ll find happiness regardless of your appearance.

It’s important we adjust our values now. Challenge yourself to stop untagging unflattering pictures, wear less makeup, spend less time worrying about getting your 4-pack to a 6-pack and wear jeans because they’re comfortable, not because they cost $200.

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
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