What Makes Feeling Beautiful In Todays Society So Challenging
Community

What Makes Feeling Beautiful In Todays Society So Challenging

How the perception of beauty is distorted by society.

145
What Makes Feeling Beautiful In Todays Society So Challenging
Dove.com

Before reading this article, take a look at this quick video produced by Dove Beauty called "Dove Evolution."

In 2004, The Dove Beauty Campaign did a study around the world that asked women the question, "would you describe yourself as beautiful?" The study found that only 2% of women answered yes when asked this question. Using the data collected in the study, in 2006 Dove produced a short film showcasing the distorted perception of beauty through the evolution of a photoshopped billboard model. As the model is altered through the heavy use of beauty products and photoshop editing tools, it is clear that the media falsely portrays beauty as a self-image game. No wonder all these women and men lack the self-esteem to feel beautiful.

As a woman who has been struggling with self-esteem and confidence issues since I was in elementary school, feeling beautiful in my own skin has always been challenging. Beauty is very hard to identify because it relies on each individual's perception and belief on what makes something or someone beautiful. I have always questioned what (or who) defines the norms for what is beautiful in society, and what I realized is beauty is a socially constructed concept.

So, I decided to reach out to a few close friends, both male, and female, and asked them the question: "what is your definition of beauty?" Here are the responses I received:

Female response- "Beauty is not how someone appears on the outside, but instead their heart within them. The most beautiful people are the kindest, most hardworking and positive individuals. Beauty is staying strong during tough times, and going out of your way to help others."

Male response- " Kindness, empathy, positivity, and a smile."

Female response- "A smile."

Male response- " Acts of kindness that are unnecessary. Just overall selflessness."

Female response- "Beauty comes from the inner selflessness, not the outward appearance."

Female response- "Radiating genuine happiness."

As you can see through the responses I received, not a single person defined beauty through physical attributes. Beauty is found in someone through the impact they have on those around them. The way their smile brightens a room or their contagious personality brings joy to others. Beauty is not the number flashed on the scale, the flawless, airbrushed, pore-less skin caked in foundation, the size tag on a pair of jeans, the filters piled on Instagram photos. If physical 'perfection' does not make someone beautiful, why do we allow the media to construct our perception? Because media outlets have the psychological power to set standards and norms for what is 'beautiful,' they can constantly feed us unreasonably altered images of 'beauty,' which we respond to by purchasing the products, adding the filters and even altering the parts of our bodies that may not match the set 'norms.' The problem is these media outlets are not portraying humanly attainable, healthy, or even realistic forms of beauty, which has caused women and men to begin developing self-image and self- esteem issues, even starting at very young ages. Eating disorders like anorexia and bulimia are at an all-time high and confidence is almost unheard of.

We have to learn how to value our inner beauty just as much as some of us value our outward beauty. Our bodies are what make us unique and beautiful, so taking care of them in a healthy way is what should be advertised in the media.

Two years ago, I had the fortunate opportunity to listen to Stacy Nadeau, a Dove Real beauty Campaign Model and an Ambassador for Women's Empowerment, speak at Iowa State University to express her belief in real beauty. Stacy was one of the original six models for the Dove Real Beauty Campaign, which she claims was a powerful, yet incredibly challenging experience. Through her experience as a model for Dove, Stacy came to the conclusion, "To make more women feel beautiful every day we have to widen today's stereotypical view of beauty by inspiring women to take great care of themselves. Your best and healthy self is only yours."

Stacy told her personal story of being directly stereotyped and publicly attacked for what she was campaigning for, but when she realized the amount of individuals she inspired through her work, she was able to understand the impact she had made. This is what inspired her passion for coaching and helping individuals struggling with body confidence and insecurities. Dove Beauty stresses, "We believe that beauty should be a source of confidence and not anxiety. Dove inspires women to want to look like the best version of themselves – because looking and feeling your best makes you feel happier" (Dove Beauty Campaign). Many individuals look at advertisements in the media and aim to conform to specific body types through dieting, over-exercising, or even plastic surgery. As explained by Stacy, the issue is it is impossible to conform to these individuals in the media because the images in the media are falsely portrayed.

Just look at the example of the Barbie Doll- something young children grow up playing with every single day. As children begin playing with these dolls, they are being fed unrealistic claims of how the female or male body should appear. How is this a healthy way for children to start looking at beauty?

Rehabs.com

Solutions to this issue are challenging because beauty is so socially constructed, but in the past few years, it has been incredible to see some companies, like Dove, change the way they advertise their products. For example, the company Aerie has started changing their advertising to appeal to all types of bodies and features. With their new #AerieREAL advertising, women can actually feel confident purchasing products that appeal to all body types. Aerie has created a Get REAL page to their website that contains workshops, advice and personal stories that help empower self-love and body confidence.

So the next time you begin scrolling through social media and start comparing yourself to the edited images filling your screen, take time to remember the hours of editing and photoshop that go into creating one of these images.

Your real, inner beauty will always be the most remarkable, unique part of yourself. Don't let societies false perceptions change your beautiful, glowing self.

Dove Beauty Campaign: "Dove Evolution"- https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iYhCn0jf46U

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

119 People Reveal How The Pandemic Has Affected Their Love Lives, And Honestly... Relatable

"I haven't been able to get out of the 'talking phase' with anyone."

The reality is, there's no part of life the pandemic hasn't affected. Whether it's your work life, your home life, your social life, or your love life, coronavirus (COVID-19) is wreaking havoc on just about everything — not to mention people's health.

When it comes to romance, in particular, people are all handling things differently and there's no "right way" of making it through, regardless of your relationship status (single, taken, married, divorced, you name it). So, some of Swoon's creators sought out to hear from various individuals on how exactly their love lives have been affected since quarantine began.

Keep Reading... Show less
Entertainment

5 Things You Need To Know Before You Watch 'Arrested Development' On Netflix

"Her?" Yes, she's an amazing show! (You'll get this joke after you watch the show).

Netflix

"Arrested Development" is an award-winning sitcom that aired for three seasons on Fox beginning in 2003, and then was picked up by Netflix for a fourth season in 2013, and then again for a final season in 2018.

However, it seems to remain one of the world's most underrated and under-appreciated shows of all time. Although this article alone won't be enough to skyrocket the show to Netflix's top 10, I hope that it will open people's eyes to the value and quality of the show.

Keep Reading... Show less
Entertainment

7 Books That Are NOT In The Young Adult Genre That Will Change Your Life

Young Adult isn't the only genre that exists, so here are seven books that any book lover wanting to try something new will love.

One of the most popular genres in literature that everyone has read at least one book from is Young Adult fiction. Now, I personally can say that, in the past, I have been one of those people that only read from the YA section of the bookstore.
While there is absolutely nothing wrong with just reading one genre, it's good sometimes to venture out of your reading comfort zone into the other book genres of the literary world.
In a previous article, I discussed the importance and power of words. The perfect example of this is literature and its impact on the world. Books have always played a crucial part in human lives, from how we are able to expand our knowledge to how we pass our time.
Literature holds so much power that there have even been time periods in our history where governments all over the world have felt threatened by its power and acted to eliminate it. But every time this has happened, people have acted and fought for the right to uncensor the knowledge they are allowed to learn.
Which is why I wanted to share my favorite books that have changed my life. These are books that have caused me to question and to learn. These are books that have influenced my life, and they are NOT from the YA genre.

Keep Reading... Show less

Anyone who goes to Panera Bread will tell you that their mac and cheese is to die for. If you're a huge fan of their mac and cheese, you won't believe the new recipe they're coming out with!

Keep Reading... Show less
Entertainment

Celebrities Stealing Designs From Small Fashion Labels Is NOT A Good Look, And They Need To Pay Up

When larger, more established figures or brands steal from lesser-known independent creators, they are taking opportunities away from these creators while also profiting from someone else's work and claiming it as their own.

Megan Thee Stallion and Cardi B recently collaborated on their new single "WAP," with the music video also being released on Friday. Both Megan Thee Stallion and Cardi B posted photos of themselves on Instagram to celebrate the premiere of "WAP." An independent designer quickly noticed that the rappers' matching tops were copies of a top she had designed last year.

Keep Reading... Show less
Featured

How To Binge-Watch A TV Show —And Then Write A Review About It

Writing your favorite and least favorite things about a show could not be more fun.

Photo by Mollie Sivaram on Unsplash

Looking for a new show to binge? Stop scrolling through your options and listen.

Sometimes a good show doesn't come down to the genre or the actors involved, it comes down to the fact that it is simply a GOOD show. If any of these things sound appealing to you, you should definitely watch.

Keep Reading... Show less
Health and Wellness

11 Reasons Why Getting A Cat Is The Best Thing You Can Do For Your Mental Health

Cats may mess up your puzzles but they'll always love you unconditionally — as long as you have some catnip, that is.

Scout Guarino

Alright, everyone, it's time to stop spreading the rumor that all cats are mean, aloof, and hate everyone. Like dogs, each cat has its own personality and tendencies. Some like a lot of attention, some like less — each person has to find the right cat for them. As for me, my cats Bienfu and Reptar have seen me at my worst, but they've also helped pull me out of it. They're a constant in my life and they give me the strength to get through the day in spite of my depression, and there's even scientific evidence to support it!

Keep Reading... Show less
Featured

How To Write Down The Holy Grail Recipe Everyone Begs You To Make

Because everyone has a signature cocktail, cake, or pasta they bring to every potluck.

NBC

From back when I used to bring my mom's classic white chocolate chip cookies to preschool on my birthday to now stirring up my signature tequila cocktails at every friends' barbecue, I've always had a couple of standby recipes in my culinary rotation.

Keep Reading... Show less

I've been bleaching my hair since I was in seventh grade. Yes, you read that correctly, seventh grade. That's nearly 10 years of maintaining a very light shade of blonde that too-often brings about dryness and brittle strands.

Keep Reading... Show less
Adulting

Meet My Cat: Cheshire, The Stray Turned House Cat Who Lives in Michigan

I never considered myself a cat person, but Chess immediately stole my heart.

Madelyn Darbonne

In 2016, a stray cat gave birth to a litter of three grey kittens on my aunt and uncle's property. I had never considered myself to be much of a cat person, but these furballs immediately stole my heart. I got to watch them grow up until they were old enough to leave their mother's side.

Keep Reading... Show less
Facebook Comments