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The Standards that Society Puts on a Women's Looks

May 12, 2021


“We [need to] stop treating each other like that, stop calling each other fat and stop with these unrealistic expectations for women. It’s disappointing that the media keeps it alive and fuels that fire.” These words, spoken by the award-winning actress Jennifer Lawrence are exceptional. There are standards put on everyone but many are specifically placed on the genders. Men and women are constantly being told to be a certain way; however, the standards placed on women seem to be heavily based on appearance. A plethora of unreasonable expectations are placed on the way a female’s body and clothing looks, not to mention that their skin and makeup are constantly being critiqued. The standards that society puts on a woman's looks are extremely irrational.

Body standards change very frequently, especially for females. Around 91% of American women are unhappy with their bodies, with only 5% of women having an “ideal” body. Waist size has always been heavily judged, and many people are very uncomfortable with their waist. It’s just now becoming more normal to be any size and to be confident in it, but according to society, a small waist is still the right thing to have. The pressure to have a minuscule waist size makes many girls feel that they’re not built right. This standard also plays a part in creating new cases of eating disorders in young ladies. Right below a woman’s waistline lies her legs, which are just another body part to critique. Legs differ in shape and size with every person you meet; however, society considers thin legs to be the “best thing”. For a very long time, the worth of your body was partially determined by whether or not you had a thigh gap. A thigh gap is the amount of space you have between the biggest part of your legs. This trend made it seem like if you didn’t have this gap, your body didn’t hold as much value. Many girls struggle with their broad shoulders. According to the standards thrust upon us, shoulders should be delicate and dainty but strong and muscular at the same time. All the standards make many women feel as though their body is built wrong and that they need to change; however, every body is perfect and society needs to stop with these expectations.

Clothing is a passion for many; however, society has placed standards on what a woman wears as well. What a person wears can show the world who they are, but clothing is also a place of teasing. When something is trendy, it means that it’s popular. Many people let trends dictate what they allow themselves to wear. For some, if you don’t wear the popular items, you’re considered a “loser." Society also tells girls that if they look a certain way, they can’t wear certain things. For example, if a person has a wider body type, tight clothes should be off-limits according to society. This is completely wrong and makes people feel as though they aren’t good enough to wear certain things. The places that a woman gets her clothing is another thing that has an immense amount of expectations placed upon it. People perceive clothing in an odd manner, the more expensive the brand, the better the clothing. Many girls feel lesser because they can’t afford the high-end clothes, and some even end up being bullied for it. The standards that connect women and clothing are unrealistic and should be halted, for fear of hurting the feelings of young girls that are already fragile.

Every day a person’s skin is slightly different. Whether it’s the addition of a freckle or the disappearance of a pimple, the skin never stays the same. According to the media, a female’s skin is more attractive if it is clear. People have been trying to elucidate that acne is normal; however, most of the time it is heard by unwilling ears. Acne brings girls’ self-esteem down as it is, but the added pressure of people judging them makes it so much worse. To cover up their skin, many girls rely on cosmetic products. Makeup has become many women’s best friend; however, it seems that people now perceive natural looks as looks with light makeup. Natural is no longer wearing any makeup but wearing cosmetics to give the illusion of a perfect appearance. This creates the pressure to wear makeup every day which makes girls feel rushed and tired from waking up early. Just like with clothing, the more expensive the brand, the more fabulous someone is for having acquired it. This gives girls the impression that they must spend their hard-earned money on cosmetics rather than buying it from the drug store and getting something that they desire with their money. Makeup is an incredible thing and women should use it to its fullest extent if they want to, but they should also feel no pressure to use it.

Society shouldn’t place these unrealistic expectations on a woman’s appearance. They make girls feel bad about themselves and it creates stress and depression. The way a woman’s body, clothing, and skin looks should not make them any less perfect. Every body is perfect, every square inch of someone’s skin is flawless. Sadly that’s not how the world thinks. These stereotypes and standards need to be changed into positive things. Remember that all bodies are beautiful and all people deserve to feel confident in their own skin, don’t ever ruin that for someone.


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  • May 12, 2021 - 4:30pm (Now Viewing)

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1 Comment
  • Elodie

    This is such an important topic! As a Hunger Games fan, I love Jennifer Lawrence and her stance on body image. The other thing is that a lot of society's expectations contradict each other, which just makes it worse. Girls shouldn't feel pressured to conform to a specific image or idea. The worst part is social media, which is basically just a cesspool of unrealistic expectations and criticism. Thanks so much for writing this! You did a great job!

    3 months ago