Beauty is an attribute that we all see and value every day. Beauty is a matter of perspective and interpretation. The word beauty could be used to describe anything from the Pacific Ocean to the Rocky Mountains. Things that are attractive and visible can be described as beautiful. The word beauty is used to describe both people and things, something that our culture and society obsess about. As a result of the constant focus on beauty among people, as well as the pressures to meet beauty standards, we are often misled and confused about what beauty really is.
It’s important to consider where you come from when determining what your definition of beauty is and what you will do to achieve it. Lola Montez said that this difference of opinion is due to the color and shape of clothing. It can also be attributed to cultural habits. People can become discouraged by this. This can be discouraging for people. In places similar to America, women’s body figures and the ability to have babies are highly valued. The U.S. considers women with larger breasts and wider hips to have the perfect figure. It is difficult to meet the standards of beauty that society has established. This can hurt men and women who don’t fit into the standard. It is this feeling of change that creates the desire to make changes. Montez continues, “A Chinese Belle must have fat feet, small eyes, a nose that is short, cheeks that are higher than the average man’s thumb, and feet no larger than his finger.” The author continues to describe other countries with very different beauty standards. These cultures have a different standard and expectation of beauty. People are constantly exposed to media and celebrities. These images are used to influence the way people think. Many people try to meet the unrealistic beauty standards that we have become obsessed with. People start to hate their looks and themselves when they are unable meet these expectations. Those born with disabilities often struggle to accept themselves and be confident because they don’t meet these standards. Perfection is highly desired in today’s society, but in reality it does not exist. Unrealistic, unhealthy images in media promote unhealthy standards. Kim Kardashian, for example, uses the corset to slim down her waist. Montez mentioned that Chinese women must have feet smaller than a human finger. This is how the Chinese Foot Binding was born. Women with larger than normal feet or who didn’t match the beauty standard used the binding method. This broke the foot bone and reduced the size of the shoe by straining it out of its natural form. Diane Ackerman explains how people can alter their bodies in order to make them look more beautiful. Author Diane Ackerman says that European women ate Arsenic Complexion Wafers in order to whiten their skin. It poisoned hemoglobin, causing them to develop a fragile, moon-white complexion. Women would harm themselves to achieve the perfection society deemed acceptable.
Perfection is impossible. The beauty of something is up to the individual. Beauty is subjective and depends on the individual to define what they think is beautiful. Amy Larocca discusses the actress Christina Hendricks, and her larger body size. It affects the casting of her movies, her roles as an actress and in her cast. Producers choose actors and actresses based on their looks, not acting ability. Christina Hendricks was cast based on her looks and the character she played. Media is trying to include all sizes in actors, models, and actresses. Society, on the other hand, only accepts people who are severely underweight or overweight. Media glorifies extremes, unhealthy body types and tells them that they are beautiful. The media confuses appearance with character.
The society is more concerned with beauty than with character. The society glorifies unrealistic and unhealthy expectations, and confuses beauty with perfection. Beauty is just a guise that makes people set standards that are impossible to achieve. Only if the person is willing to hurt themselves to achieve perfection can it be achieved. Beauty is a cultural construct that obscures true human qualities.