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Who Defines 'Perfection' in the 21st Century?:#Conficiens

By: rennygurl


    “What is ‘perfect’?” Is it looking pretty and being polite? Is it being a leader that everybody thinks is flawless? Is it retaking a selfie over one hundred times through different filters just to end up posting just one on social media? Who defines perfection?
    “Perfect” is a loose term. The Google dictionary definition is “having all the required or desirable elements, qualities, or characteristics.” In the 21st century, aiming for perfection in humanity is showcased through ads and magazines and I wonder, “How can girls not want to be perfect?” The “perfect" I’m thinking of is gorgeous, flawless, and pretty and it’s not only me. Why else do you think that children at the age of 10 starts wearing makeup? It starts off with a little lipgloss in 5th grade and then moves on to foundation and eyeliner by middle school. As children grow older, they identify themselves as who they are with makeup and cannot bear to see how they look without it. You can see infants wearing makeup on tv shows! 
    Social media is one of many factors that affect “perfection.” Throughout the world, 1,000 selfies are posted every 10 seconds and 93 million selfies are taken each day. That is 19 out of 20 people who would have taken a selfie. Rarely do we take and post a selfie without a filter and scarcely do we post the first selfie we take. We turn on filters to get rid of our blemishes and faults. 
    Who defines this idea of perfection? Although we can't pinpoint one exact person, we can say for sure that celebrities help enforce this idea. Whether it’s by being airbrushed or putting out new makeup trends, they are constantly stealing the spotlight with their looks. Repetition in body image within a large society of people, like how most female celebrities are slim, wear a lot of makeup or get their nose, eyes, breasts, or bottom done all creates certain beauty standards that we think are considered 'perfect'. Female’s, such as myself, often compare themselves with these people. When we have a large group of people, who each have a large fan base, following the same trends, looks, and have a similar body, people generalize it and sum it up to become the definition of 'perfection'. This spreads to millions of people all over the country through apps like Instagram, Snapchat, and etc. This can be seen through different fashion and makeup trends per country. No country's trends will be exactly the same unless the celebrities in their country got influenced by different trends around the world. In South Korea, for example, you are looked at more highly if your skin tone is light (or close to white). Tanning is something that is frowned upon and cream that makes your skin look whiter is sold in every beauty store. Celebrities on magazines or on posters are often white-washed. This is an example of how the general perception of 'perfection' differs from country to country. 
    Social media is not the only way this idea of perfection spreads. Ads are everywhere, on streets, subways, and even on social media. In South Korea, there are thousands of ads on plastic surgery in subways and youtube. 1 in 4 women, including celebrities, have gone through plastic surgery. Out of 1,000 people, 67.8% have undergone a double eyelids surgery. These celebrities are seen in ads all over South Korea. We are constantly reminded of how celebrities look; slim and attractive. Those who have lower-self esteem could wonder “Why don’t I look like that too?” or the more deadly “Why can’t I look like that?” 
    The question, “Why can’t I look like that?” is very lethal. Pop culture in South Korea dominates fashion trends as well as body image. On TV, you only see thin girls dancing on the stage. That is what everybody else sees. What they don’t know is that you are not allowed to be over 50kg in some entertainment companies or that 50 kg is the average weight for a height of 150cm. These female Kpop idols are well over 150cm and are usually around 165cm. That is considered extremely underweight and is not healthy. If you are over the weight limit, you are fat-shamed, like many Kpop idols have publically been through. Fat-shaming is more prominent with females than males due to the fact that females are all told to have a certain body shape while males can be either lean or muscular. But do the naive girls who look up to these idols know this? No. They are pressured by what they see and since what they are exposed to is unhealthy for the body, you have more and more people becoming obsessed with an unhealthy body image. 
    To become like their idol, girls start skipping important meals, or even worse, taking appetite suppressant pills. Appetite-suppressant pills help keep your hunger down. It is not healthy to use this method for losing weight because it could lead to an eating disorder called anorexia. Some characteristics of anorexia are abnormally low body weight and a fear of eating. This usually happens to people who place a high value on controlling their weight and shape. Anorexia is not uncommon. 1 in 200 people in the United States have it. Throughout the world, 20% of people who have anorexia die without treatment and 60% don’t get enough. Normally, for teenagers, anorexia starts with dieting. 40% to 60% of high school girls, worldwide, diet. 

They diet even though they aren’t overweight. 

    Technology is the start of a new era. It helps make things easier and faster. Pictures of underweight models and idols who wear makeup to cover up their blemishes are seen on magazine covers, ads, music videos, Youtube videos. They are all over the internet. Everywhere you look, if you look hard enough, you will see them. “Perfection” will become more of a problem as plastic surgery becomes more and more mechanical, as are the ones in Seoul. The gap between the “attractive” people and the “unattractive” people will become larger, as more and more people try to become “perfect”. With this will come harsher judgment on those that are different. In the end, celebrities that portray and advertise this unhealthy body image practically define and enforce the meaning of ‘perfection’ into our society.

Message to Readers

#Conficiens Contest:
Prompt 3- Pop Culture Essay
The title says it all. You can write about ANYTHING, it has to be related to pop culture, though. Write about a book, about a movie, about a T.V Show, it's your choice.

Peer Review

This was really informational! I was quite surprised by some of the statistics you offered, and I think you explained your points really well.

You focused a lot of the female aspect of being perfect, but maybe you should include a little bit on the male aspect. Men also have to go through something similar. Their idea of perfection are the athletes or the male models. Although it's overlooked, there definitely is not only a female side to this, so maybe it would help your case to include more examples like that.

Reviewer Comments

I apologize because I'm not used to the essay format, but I tried my best to give feedback. You did a very good job!