How beauty standards affect self-esteem
I’m sure you’ve heard that beauty standards affect women. But did you know that they also affect men? And everyone else, too? Beauty standards are everywhere and affect us all in different ways, whether we realize it or not. And the truth is: those standards can make us feel bad about ourselves and our bodies and ultimately lower our self-esteem.
I want to help you realize how beauty standards affect you so that you can take action against them — because if we don’t, who will?!
Beauty standards affect everyone, but especially women.
As a woman, you may have noticed that people will judge your appearance in ways they don’t judge men’s. You might be called out for your weight or age more often than others, and if you’re a person of color (POC), there are many other factors that could affect how people perceive and treat you based on your appearance:
- POC women who wear makeup are seen as trying too hard; POC who don’t are seen as lazy or unkempt.* Black girls with natural hair are told to straighten their hair so they’ll look more professional; white girls with curly hair are praised for embracing their curls.* Darker-skinned black women get asked where they’re from when traveling abroad; light-skinned black women sometimes receive compliments on how exotic they look.* Latinas are criticized for using “too much” bronzer/blush/highlighter–but if they don’t use any at all, then they’re accused of being pale!
Beauty standards make you feel bad about yourself, which affects your self-esteem.
Beauty standards can affect your self-esteem in a number of ways. First, the media promotes unrealistic beauty ideals and pressures you to conform to them. This can make you feel bad about yourself, which can lower your self-esteem and make you feel like a failure because of how far away from these ideals you are.
Second, when people around us compare themselves to these standards, they may also be comparing themselves to us. We may start feeling like we’re less attractive than others because they’re prettier or more muscular than us (or whatever other qualities are valued by society). This can make us feel bad about ourselves as well–and once again lower our self-esteem because we don’t measure up against someone else’s idea of what makes someone attractive or worthy enough of love/respect/etc., etc., etc..
There are plenty of reasons why people try to change the way they look — and it’s not always because they think they’re unattractive.
You might be wondering why anyone would want to change their appearance in the first place. There are plenty of reasons, and they’re not all because someone feels unattractive.
For example, people may have different ideals about attractiveness based on where they grew up or what cultural values were emphasized when they were young. Someone who was raised in an area where everyone was tall might feel pressure to become taller themselves; someone who grew up being told that redheads are “better” than brunettes might feel compelled to dye their hair blonde when they reach adulthood.
The pressure doesn’t stop there: it can also come from within our own minds (and bodies). For example, many people feel like having a larger body is less desirable than having one that’s smaller — even though this isn’t true! Everyone deserves respect regardless of how much space they take up in this world; however, if we aren’t taught this as children then we may think differently later on as adults–especially if other people reinforce these ideas by saying things like “you’d look better with longer hair” or “you’d be prettier if only…
Beauty standards hold people back from fully expressing themselves.
Beauty standards are restrictive and can make you feel like you don’t fit in. They also often make people think that they’re not good enough, smart enough, or talented enough–and this can lead to low self-esteem.
If you’ve ever felt like your body is too fat or too skinny; if your hair is not long enough; if your face doesn’t look like the faces on TV; or if there are any other characteristics about yourself that don’t meet someone else’s idea of what’s beautiful: Remember: beauty standards are just ideas! They aren’t facts and they don’t have anything to do with intelligence or worthiness as a person.
Beauty standards keep people from getting the support they need for body issues that aren’t considered “beauty” related.
Beauty standards are not just about body image, they’re also about mental health. People who suffer from body dysmorphia and eating disorders often feel like they don’t meet society’s expectations for beauty, even though their bodies may be perfectly healthy. Beauty standards can also affect people who have skin conditions like eczema or psoriasis–you might see these as things that make you unattractive to others (even if they don’t), or you might try to hide them with makeup or clothing choices that cover up the affected area(s).
Hair loss due to genetics or stress can be difficult for anyone; but when it happens during a time when everyone else seems to have thick hair and perfect curls, it can feel particularly unfair–especially if you see other people with thinning locks getting attention for looking “brave” after shaving their heads in support of cancer patients! Similarly, scars from injuries or surgeries may be viewed by some as marks against our “beauty scorecard.” Acne and cellulite are sometimes seen as embarrassing blemishes on otherwise flawless skin; while breast augmentation/reduction surgery is often seen as something glamorous women get done so they’ll look better in swimsuits/dresses/etcetera
You don’t have to accept how beauty standards affect you, and there are ways to stop them from getting to you
- You don’t have to accept how beauty standards affect you, and there are ways to stop them from getting to you.
- The beauty standards that affect you are not your fault. It’s important to remember that these messages come from a place of insecurity and self-loathing on the part of those who created them, not anything inherent in your appearance or worth as a person. It’s also true that many people have been taught by society (and perhaps even their own parents) that they aren’t good enough until they look like models or celebrities–but no one can live up to those expectations without help from Photoshop!
- You can’t change the way you look, but you can change how you react to it: If someone makes an insulting comment about your body, tell them off! If someone asks why your pants are so tight around your legs (or if anyone makes any other rude remark about how fat/thin/short/tall etc.,), politely tell them off! Especially if it happens in public where others will hear what is being said; this helps build confidence because it shows others know better than some random jerk trying unsuccessfully at making fun out of someone else’s existence rather than having his own problems solved first before bothering others who aren’t bothering him either way so why bother trying anyways?!
We know that it can be hard to stop beauty standards from affecting you. But there are ways to stop them from getting to you, and we hope this article has given you some ideas about how to do that! Beauty is a subjective thing and there is no one “right” way of looking. So if someone tells you they don’t like something about your appearance, remember that they may just not like what they see in themselves reflected back at them–and it doesn’t mean anything about how attractive or unlikable they think you are as a person (or vice versa).