International Concepts of Beauty
15 May, 2013
Have you seen the movie, “Mean Girls”? If not, watch it and become enlightened about the terrible things that girls do to one another and the ordeals they must face to climb the social hierarchy of high school. Beauty is a necessity in every culture as it can determine social status. In other words, the most beautiful would have more opportunities than the less beautiful. Standards of beauty restrict women all around the globe and all succumb to the pressures of the beauty industry, even if it means a lifetime of devotion to beauty regimen. Beauty seems to define the individual more than their occupation and intelligence. The modern world is improving everyday, however, the things that people do to be beautiful in society has become a burden. It seems ironic that an attempt to be beautiful, which is suppose to bring happiness brings misery instead; however, beauty is the one of the most adulated, and “although ideas of beauty may ultimately be subjective and unique for every human, there are clear cultural trends that shape these subjective views” (“International Concepts of Beauty”). With today’s innovative science and technology, “modern societies draw closer through global communication and media, international standards of beauty may also be converging toward a universal concept of what it means to be beautiful” (“International Concepts of Beauty”). The mass media; television programs, advertisements on billboards, magazines, films promoting perfection, the fads that countries like the United States, England, South Africa, China, Japan, and Korea deem beautiful, and cultures that are pressured to conform to “Western” ideals encumber women globally as they undergo cosmetic surgery, go on impossible diets that lead to eating disorders, and have instilled women with insecurities about themselves. By generating awareness and
instilling self acceptance in women through the communication between family, friends, and the community and have television shows that encourage realistic and healthy psychological and physical well being, the restrictions faced by women can be alleviated. From the dawn of time, women have suffered from self image as they struggle to adhere to the standards of beauty. “Throughout human history, food shortage has been a constant concern and obesity has been almost non existent. As a result, large body size was admired as a symbol of wealth, prestige, and prosperity. Today, cultures in which the risk of starvation is real continue to view a plump physique with these same positive associations. In many developing nations, big women are considered sexually attractive and beautiful, and plumpness is seen as a sign of fertility, strength , and survival” (Smolin). But in fact, obesity is seen as the bane of existence for women around the world in developed countries as they are deceived by the beauty industry resulting in eating disorders in order to measure up to an unrealistic and unhealthy weight. As Sherrow, author of “beauty Standards” states: Eating disorders occur in societies where food is abundant and the body ideal is thin. They do not occur where food is scarce and people have to worry about where their next meal is coming from. For example, there is a lower incidence of eating disorders among women living in nonWestern, non industrialized nations and among certain ethnic minorities in the United States. Immigrants to Western countries are more likely to develop eating disorders than those who remain in their country of origin. As economic changes occur in nonWestern societies, the incidence of eating disorders is increasing. They are becoming common clinical problems in young women in high income Asian societies such as Japan, Hong Kong, Singapore, Taiwan, and the Republic of Korea .
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