Brave to be natural: beauty standards debunked

By Joallie Paluchak

Photo: MCT Campus

Do you ever catch yourself looking idly at celebrities’ selfies on Instagram? You know the familiar image that eats away at your self-esteem; it depicts a young woman, who has an unreasonably flat stomach, voluptuous hourglass shape, makeup flawlessly done by professionals, and of course, the perfect lighting. Whether you believe their selfie is the true definition of beauty or not, I assure you that you will struggle putting that image away and your mind will indefinitely question your own appearance afterwards.

This self-doubt of appearance is exactly what happens every time I view Kylie Jenner’s selfies on Instagram. And might I add, I check her profile often just to compare my appearance to hers. Yet, each time, I walk away feeling inadequate with the weight of society’s expectations and norms of beauty weighing on my shoulders. I repeat this cycle of looking at Jenner’s profile a couple times a week just to see if trends are changing or somehow our appearances have become more congruent.

Why do I and many others engage in this self-deprecating behavior? Moreover, my mind wonders: how do celebrities attain the privilege of having the “ideal” beauty standard and why do we, as a society, fall in line with them?

The answer is quite simple: we give celebrities the power to dictate beauty standards and thus trick ourselves into believing they’re special due to their master status we’ve given them. Celebrities are powerful merely because we give them the attention and money to thrive off of and create norms in various categories. We flock to their social media to match their outfits, hair and makeup. We run to the stores and buy their products such as Jenner’s lip kits. We immerse ourselves in their reality TV shows. We obsessively talk about them with our friends. Therefore, with all this power and control they hold in our everyday life, the question drastically changes to: how could celebrities not impact or set the beauty standard in our modern age?

As we’re comparing our bodies to these “perfect” celebrity bodies we negate the fact that our “Average Joe” life is nowhere near similar to these celebs. Their lives are not superior to ours and vice versa; they are just two very different experiences that are not comparable.

For example, the typical college student takes between four to six classes, is involved in extracurricular activities, and has a job and personal life to focus on. Additionally, you have to factor in the cost of college tuition and daily expenses.

Based on these circumstances, it only makes sense that the average college student can’t hire professionals to do their hair and makeup for hours, whereas celebrities have that luxury. Comparing and critiquing our two appearances — average Joe versus celebrity — is as useless and unnecessary as watering your lawn as it pours down rain. It serves no purpose, other than to destroy the naturally healthy grass that already existed.

I recently heard in the media that celebrities who go out in public with a “natural” face— meaning no makeup or at least limited amounts — were praised for being brave. That statement truly got under my skin and crawled around for days, because celebrities who are in this high position, which allows for mass popularity growth, are instead setting back young girls’ self-esteem. They’re claiming that wearing your makeup-less face out in public is something to applaud.

This makes me irate that as a culture we are collectively telling young girls that their natural self is not good enough or “pretty” enough for normalcy. How will our next generation of young women see themselves and therefore impact our culture’s norms and guidelines?

I fear for the implications, because as time progresses and young girls believe less and less in their own beauty, they rely on others to guide them. And we as a nation will completely lose our intrinsic values and beliefs to false eyelashes and pounds of concealer.

Joallie Paluchak is a contributing writer for The Spectator.