Beauty Standards

How do the youth feel about today’s societal standards of beauty?

Tiffany Quach & Jessica Castillo, Staffers

   “My skin is so bad.” 

   “These clothes don’t fit me anymore.”

    “I wish I had their body.” 

   “Why can’t I dress like them?” 

   In today’s society, beauty standards have been soaring high – especially towards teenagers. With beauty standards comes stress and the draining of your mental health. Teenagers constantly feel the need to change their appearance, fit in, please others, and maybe even do things they don’t want to. 

   Sophomore Lanae Terry told us her thoughts about the beauty standards that are experienced today.

   “There were times where my friends would compare me to other people, but it would be in a positive and in a negative way,” Terry said. “In a negative way, they would compare my body and sometimes face to others, but they would compare my eyes to others in a positive way. I get complimented on my eyes a lot.” 

   Terry said she considers body shape to be the most common beauty standard.

   “People always want bigger features, like in their chest or bottom, but there are also others who want to be flatter/skinnier,” Terry said.

   With such standards set to beauty, Terry said that could have both a negative and positive effect on others.        

   “People try their hardest to fit in with other people to seem perfect,” Terry said. And sometimes it’s positive, because they sometimes better themselves.” 

   There are people who could change their hair, their face, get plastic surgery, etc., and still not be satisfied with themselves. Then there are people who change for the better and feel more confident in their skin.

   As for Terry herself, she has also been affected by beauty standards.

   “I have really curly hair, but I prefer it to be straight,” Terry said.   

   With those changes, Terry says that beauty standards make her a little self conscious.

   “As long as I feel comfortable in my own skin, I shouldn’t really care about what others think,” she said.

   Everyone has at least one thing they find beautiful about themselves. 

   Terry said that if she were to choose something that makes her beautiful, it would probably be her personality and the way she looks.

   “I do find myself pretty, but not in a vain way of course,” Terry said. 

   Sophomore Ariana Sierra also spoke about the beauty standards that have been experienced by others, and herself. 

   “Body. Definitely the way your body looks,” Sierra said. “My mom would sometimes compare my weight with others. Sometimes it would be a joke, but I still took those comments to heart.”

   Comments and beauty standards like those have a negative effect on others because it brings them down.

   “Some people admire others for their great hair or looks, and wish they would look like that,” Sierra said. “It makes them feel bad about themselves. Beauty standards kind of make me insecure. I start to doubt myself and my appearance.” 

   Sierra said she finds herself constantly comparing herself to others 

   “I guess I started wearing makeup because everyone around me was wearing makeup, so I felt like I was behind in some way,” Sierra said. “It’s tiring and can mentally drain people.”

   Simpson shares his opinion on the beauty symbols of the public today. 

   “There was never a time where I have been compared by looks to others,” Simpson said. “Only academically, but I don’t think someone has compared my looks to the people around me.” 

   Although his looks aren’t typically set side by side with others, Simpson said he has still experienced difficulties with beauty standards at one point of his life. 

   “Beauty standards make me compare myself to others, which makes me upset most of the time,” Simpson said. 

   As he walks around, he said he’ll find himself wanting to be like other people, or he’ll feel like no one likes him for the way he is already.  

   “I feel discouraged,” he said. 

   This is where the ideal type of beauty can have a negative effect on a community. A negative effect is almost always the effect of a beauty standard. 

   “People will change how they are, just to please others,” Simpson said. “It messes with people’s mental health because they think they have to meet the standards of others around them.”

   Simpson said he has actually changed his appearance to follow a certain standard at the time. 

   “I’ve cut my hair a couple of times to fit in with the trends,” Simpson said. 

   Simpson argues that skin color ties together with beauty standards as well.

   “If I’m being completely honest, I say that skin color could be the most common beauty standard,” he said. “My best physical feature would be my style, but besides that, I guess I like my face.” 

   AVID and Advanced English teacher Perinza Reddic explained how she feels about beauty standards, and how it impacted her growing up. 

   When I was younger, I was skinny and the cultural environment I grew up in at that time associated beauty with being ‘shapely in all of the right places,’” Reddic said. 

   Beauty standards vary from person to person, but Reddic has her own stance on it.    

   “Particularly, at my age, it is the focus on having a flat stomach,” she said. “It just seems like the common perception with beauty standards is that fake is in, for example, fake hair, lashes or nails.”

   Following the problem with teenagers having to change their appearance to fit in with others, Reddic said she has also endured a time where she felt the need to change something about herself. 

   “In high school I had my dad shave one side of my hair because that was the style back in the 80s and I wanted to fit in with the other girls,” Reddic said.

   In Reddic’s eyes, she said she feels that beauty standards have a negative effect on others. 

   I have heard so many people that go out and get something changed about themselves and they don’t get the reaction they thought they would get,” she said. “It doesn’t matter to me, because now it’s all about staying alive. Beauty is being mentally, physically and emotionally healthy. The love that I have for others is what I think makes me beautiful. I also think it’s about feeling good about myself, when I wake up in the morning and have the right attitude about living. Lastly, I find joy in helping others, so it’s not so much about my appearance.”