Toxic Beauty Standards Harm Women


 The big issue in the world right now is something called “toxic beauty standards.” What are toxic beauty standards and where do they come from? Beauty standards come from society, and society starts forming an idea of beauty through comparison of one human being to another, and they set up unrealistic standards. Why is it an issue though? The real reason why beauty standards are toxic is that it makes it seem like “beautiful” people are superior to “ugly” people, or that some features are more attractive than other features. As a female, I understand how toxic these standards can be. I used to be ashamed of how I look. But not anymore.

Beauty standards mainly affect women around the world (they can also affect men as well). Beauty standards can be compared to an unrealistic mold that you will never fit into. Plastic and makeup are popular ways to change/hide unwanted features to fit into these standards. Beauty standards are like a disease that spreads like wildfire through people’s heads. 

But beauty comes in all shapes and sizes. I believe society needs to accept all types of beautiful people in modeling agencies and promote other people who don’t fit the toxic beauty standards society has made. Beauty is extremely targeted towards females. Makeup and cosmetic surgery are impacting our world in ways that are making women feel self-conscious. In the end, everyone is beautiful in their own way, and it’s not the responsibility of society to dictate who is and isn’t “beautiful.”

The main issue is society. This is where all beauty standards are born. Every beauty standard is different in every country, but they are all toxic just by setting up a “standard.” Some examples of beauty standards are: you can’t be fat, you can’t be too thin, no acne, no cellulite, no stretch marks, you can’t be too pale, or too dark. Everybody is so brainwashed about what is considered to be beautiful. Everyone is beautiful, but we are blinded by society’s evil mindset towards the concept of beauty. There is a disorder called body dysmorphia where some people think they are unrealistically ugly and they hate themselves for it. Toxic beauty standards contribute to all of these problems. Some people believe they are flawed because they don’t meet up with the beauty standard. Sometimes people get bullied for their appearance online (cyberbullying). This can trigger massive anxiety and low self-esteem in kids; it can even lead to suicide attempts. 

Toxic beauty standards mean toxic beauty treatments and products. Skin bleaching, flat ironing, and chemical hair processors are being used by Black women to comply with the standard of having light skin and straight hair. Skin bleaching irritates the skin, thins the skin, and causes kidney, liver, and nerve damage. Many Black females have been fired by growing out or wearing their natural hair to work, but when they have heat and chemically processed straight hair it is completely “normal.” These people believe that natural hair is “distracting” or “ugly.” But do you know what is not normal? That ignorant people are saying natural hair is “unnatural.” Even cultural Black hairstyles are considered “ghetto” and “dirty.” If you can’t accept a Black person’s hair, you are racist because you hate a part of them that they identify with. 

There is a whole obsession with Eurocentric features. Being white, having a small nose, straight hair, etc., is considered beautiful, and that is what has been shown to me ever since I was small. It made me feel ugly because I have brown skin and my hair isn’t straight. One of my family members even told me I look pretty for a “Black girl,” and I took that as a compliment, but I still felt uneasy because they insinuated that Black people are “ugly,” and I was one of the few Black people that are “pretty.” I started straightening my hair the whole time and it came to a point where my hair was getting heat and chemically damaged. I ended up crying because I didn’t just damage my hair, I damaged my “crown” just to meet up to people’s expectations of beauty. I never felt so embarrassed that I let my mom’s and other people’s problematic ideas get into my head.

We need to fight against what is wrong! Females should not be submissive to ignorance, toxicity, and misogynistic ideals. We need to educate people who don’t know the negative impact beauty standards have caused. No one should be oppressed by standards. We need to pave the way for other people who aren’t considered beautiful to society – to prove society wrong. No one should change their beautiful self to satisfy anybody because, as I learned from my experiences, you will never be satisfied. We need to help others who are struggling with low self-esteem to love themselves.