It’s often thought that we are hardwired by eons of natural selection to be attracted to particular physical traits; that preference is thought to guide a search for healthy mates to help us produce healthy offspring.
But today studies challenge the notion that our inborn ideas of physical attractiveness are immutable. Scientist argue that these ideas constantly change, our standards of beauty shift automatically and unconsciously, and can do so with no direct social pressure.
Where judgement can become clouded is through mass media. How? In essence, people are engineered to follow the crowd, instinctively, for survival which can include likes and dislikes. This innate instinct is often exploited through mass media and mass marketing. A good example is the fashion industry with its notorious homogeneous standards of beauty — at New York Fashion Week in February, more than three-quarters of the models were white. But fashion’s diversity problem extends beyond just skin color. The runways focus on one strict standard of beauty, marginalizing models left and right because of unique characteristics. Where this has an impact is on young girls coming of age.
These standards of beauty influence many girl’s opinions of themselves, forcing them to believe that they have to attain someone else’s perception of perfection. This can have a detrimental impact upon the self-esteem of many young women.
The good news is that the internet continues to connect us all and people have started to shift their thinking around standards of beauty. This is a positive thing and should be nurtured by society. Our culture needs to stop putting strict definitions on the words beauty and attractive. We need to realize that each individual has their own shape, their own size, and their own characteristics, and that’s what makes us so great! We aren’t clones; we aren’t photocopies of one another; we are ourselves—our confident, good-looking, good-feeling selves.
cover photo: Louis Vuitton Spring 2015 Campaign lookbook