by Jess Badyna
Open a magazine to a clothes ad, or perfume ad. Chances are, there’s a big spread of an attractive guy and/or girl who is fat-free, has no body hair, lacks blemishes or acne, and is smiling brightly with perfect teeth. The models are doing the job of being eye candy wearing brand wrappers. Those models are displaying that product –and themselves – as the “ideal.” They pound into our head “the only way to be happy is to be attractive, the only way to be attractive is to look like me.”
People often say that those ads don’t affect them, but some common practices and taboos we have as a society are created by companies for the sole purpose of revenue.
While looking like models is a general preference as a Western nation, it has become less of a preference and more of an obsession, and people have shunned any traits unlike the ideal, when the ideal we see is only one combination of traits and lifestyles that most people can’t have. These standards are unhealthy, and are affecting the self-esteem of all who do not fit this narrow perspective of beauty.
Instead of embracing diversity, we often forget that we’re human, and ignore health to strive for perfection.
In fact, the media has obsessed so long over this ideal, that it has created warped standards that are physically dangerous to achieve.
These standards are enforced, not only by people of the opposite sex, but by people of the same sex. While it would seem that people of the same sex would be supportive of one another, instead they compete and perpetuate the unrealistic expectations of beauty.
It’s important to expose and support people who reside outside of the current ideal, and accept and embrace, imperfections that are currently scorned. It’s also important (and frankly, more impactful) to encourage and support everyone, regardless of sex, weight, body type and imperfections.
Youtuber Phil Lester put it best when he said “You should never make fun of something that a person can’t change about themselves.”
It is up to the individual to advocate for change, to demonstrate understanding to and say to everyone, “You are beautiful.”