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The myth of beauty standards

A piece by Aya Salah, who is currently at university in Egypt and on our wonderful team of volunteers.

Over the decades, all forms of media have been trying to brainwash us with what they call "beauty standards." Through adverts, social media influencer accounts and countless images that display the "perfect" appearance. Many corporations have benefitted from our own insecurities, they’ve been trying to convince us of the "ideal shape" that a woman is supposed to have as if it's a rule that we all need to follow. This ideal shape that they promote doesn't even exist in real life but unfortunately, not all teenagers and children are aware of that. This type of content can truly manipulate people into thinking that there's something wrong with their appearance and it drives them to desperately want to change the way they naturally look. They may buy massive amounts of products that supposedly improve their appearances, get plastic surgery, or go on a strict diet that could gravely affect their physical and mental health.

Undoubtedly, this issue and its negative impact affects all people. Everyone continuously gets exposed to such negative content that makes them doubt themselves and feel insecure. For example, many men fall victim to advertisements that promote "tall, muscular, tough" male models and convey toxic messages. Navigating a world shaped by media can be like walking through a minefield. It's filled with so many negative messages and we just need to protect ourselves from its effects.

We really need to ask ourselves, what is beauty?

What's considered beautiful and what isn't?

The answer is simply that beauty is relative, it's certainly not a scientific term that has one constant definition! It's a fluid concept that varies from one person to another. As the common saying goes "beauty is in the eye of the beholder". My definition of beauty is different from yours and everyone else's. You're the one who sees beauty in people, not "rules" or "standards" that make you see it. Beauty comes in many forms and I believe that each human being has their own unique type of beauty. There are no classifications for beauty and no such thing as "beauty standards," despite what the media would lead us to believe. There are only differences from one person to another, these differences surely don't lessen anyone's beauty, in fact, they make them unique. Do you know what can actually be considered as ugly or not appealing? Hatred, injustice and harming others in any way.

Beauty has nothing to do with the way you look but rather with what's inside you. So, we really need to focus on what's inside, always develop ourselves and allow ourselves to grow and bloom. We've got to remind ourselves of how worthy we are, how our existence is indeed, a miracle. We just really need to stop comparing ourselves to the others and appreciate ourselves more.

Give yourself some credit. Love yourself. Remind yourself of how special you are, that you're a whole individual full of wonders and potential.

The image below is a piece of artwork that Aya chose to accompany her writing, by the artist ambivalentlyyours, who you should definitely follow on Instagram & check out their store!

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