Beauty culture may seem harmless, but it is more than just skin deep. How we approach our aesthetics is part of our psychology, and it has a heavy impact on how we view ourselves and construct our identities. The value that we place on beauty as a society has an affect on the individuals within it. Obviously, some individuals are going to have more beauty than others, and a society that overly values beauty is sending a message to its less beautiful members that they are not as valuable. This is a tragedy as beauty should be seen as inconsequential.
The first part of the message that beauty culture sends people is that there are beauty standards. Merely the implication that these standards exist is already setting an unrealistic precedent. Who could possibly have the authority to set beauty standards? No two people look alike. We have incredible diversity in our appearances. This is the first problem of beauty culture: that its entire foundation is based on a fallacy.
The second part of the message that beauty culture sends people is that beauty standards are ever increasing. This is a stressful notion considering that a person can only change their appearance so much. But alas, one can examine changing beauty standards over time and realize that they are ever becoming more and more strict, reaffirming the notion that one can never feel satisfied and confident with their appearance.
And lastly, the third part of the message that beauty culture sends people is that ever increasing beauty standards must be met. The implication is that those who do not meet the culture’s standards of beauty will be left behind and devalued. This is such a harmful message to send people, especially to the more vulnerable members of society. Implying that someone is not worth while and has nothing to contribute to society because of the way they look is extremely detrimental to their sense of worth and self esteem.