Dangerous Beauty Standards

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Daniella Rodriguez

A young woman, Alexandra Rodriguez fills in her eyebrows with a special pencil right after applying mascara before work. “I don’t exactly like wearing makeup, but I feel like it’s necessary to wear out to certain places.”

Throughout history, beauty standards have always held a heavy presence in every woman’s life. Whether it’s maintaining a certain weight or having a certain hairstyle, beauty standards have maintained their reputation to be completely ridiculous. Beginning in the era where powdering your face completely white was still a thing, beauty standards have taken a dangerous turn for the worse. Beauty standards at this moment in history are extremely difficult to achieve and can prove to be just as dangerous.
People throughout history, women, in particular, have always strived to meet beauty standards no matter how ridiculous or dangerous they may be. At one point in history, owning an elegant green dress was all the craze. However, this specific shade of green could only be achieved by being mixed with arsenic. In case you were not informed, arsenic is a chemical that can poison humans and is also flammable. Women who have worn these stunning green dresses have caught on fire, and this became a normal occurrence after some time. People who worked around this chemical would become sick and eventually die. If this isn’t the definition of a dangerous beauty standard, then to what extreme must it be taken?

Eighth grade Alexander Diaz-Cruz believes beauty standards go for both men and women, and he thinks that dangerous beauty standards are still going on today. “I think those beauty standards are for both men and women, but more so on women. Nowadays [beauty standards] are hard to live up to just because women are expected to have a bigger bottom and chest area, but then have a small waist. Some people have these features naturally, but most people don’t so some undergo plastic surgery in order to live up to society’s expectations.” Beauty standards today are harder to reach than ever. Is it even worth it to achieve these expectations? Diaz-Cruz does not agree with it at all. “I don’t think it would be worth it because they’re risking their lives. I think it’s dangerous because it could affect their mental health as well as their physical health.”

Freshman Sanskriti Sehgal feels like beauty standards of today are definitely set high and are exceptionally dangerous. “I feel like beauty standards nowadays are placed too high, and people think makeup is everything… you’re beautiful the way you are! I don’t think it’s worth it going to such extremes just to look ‘better’. They [beauty standards] are quite realistic and sometimes dangerous… You could just see people who wear makeup for work… they use a lot of makeup, under all that mascara their eyelashes are really badly damaged and so is their skin. Sehgal feels like skinny shaming along with any kind of body shaming also fits into the dangerous category. “It’s really dangerous, I see it if you are like close friends and just joking around, but if you’re not just joking around then you need to stop because it’s dangerous. I’ve seen people in my past that go home and torture themselves [over the shaming], your basically killing them because one mean comment could end a life!”

Sophomore Samantha Casarez has a lot to say about beauty standards on its own along with their accompanying riskiness. “Well for one beauty is just based on opinion and has a lot to do with different cultures. There’s no standard for beauty because it’s subjective. So I think beauty standards are just nonsense because there really is no standard, it doesn’t exist.”
Casarez thinks that though the green arsenic dresses were a trend, many people wore them because they liked the color. “I mean when the emerald green color came out, a lot of people just thought it was really pretty. So while some may have been wearing it for the trend, I feel like most were wearing it just because they genuinely liked the color… I mean at the end of the day it’s just a color really. It’s not worth the health complications or death.”

Casarez claims she isn’t extremely well informed of today’s beauty standards, but does voice her opinion based on the information she does know. “I honestly don’t know much about today’s beauty standards. I mean today out of all times is when I believe people are realizing that they’re just purely rubbish. From what I do know, yeah I’d say they’re kind of unrealistic. Any beauty standard is dangerous, maybe not all of them physically but for sure all of them mentally. Beauty standards can affect anyone, no matter what gender. Exposing them to things like this at a young age can leave lasting effects on their future. Just let people live freely. If they want to get a cosmetic procedure purely for themselves, who cares. If they don’t, totally chill. But an idea of the perfect being shouldn’t be forced upon anyone. They shouldn’t feel like they have to do something or have to change something about themselves even if it isn’t in their interest.”

As for body shaming, Casarez has a firm belief in it being terribly wrong. “Any kind of body shaming can be dangerous. You shouldn’t morph someone’s beliefs over their body. So many bad things can stem from body shaming. It could cause a variety of different mental illnesses, and mental illnesses can cause physical issues as well. Body shaming can even be fueling a mental illness or thoughts the person may already have. It sometimes just ends up messing with their head and it could just be something lingering in the back of someone’s mind after that. Just don’t shame people. It’s just bullying.”