Circulation of Beliefs about Beauty in Contemporary North American Society

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Circulation of Beliefs about Beauty in Contemporary North American Society

The phrase that beauty is in the eye of the beholder no longer holds. Today, in North America more than elsewhere in the world, society dictates beauty. The North American notion of beauty is governed by cultural and social influences and ideals of aesthetics established by fashion requirements of the present age (Zaborkis 1). Women, and occasionally men, frequently go to great extents and a immense suffering to reach that unattainable standard of beauty. It does not help that the North American culture and attitude of perfection has soaked into the definition of beauty (Argo and Dahl 976). The standardization of beauty across the North American culture to match a singular path of perfect height, hair, light eyes, youthfulness, glowing skin, high heels, certain clothing, and any other subcultural dictates have circulated to create impossible demands on women of all ages leading to social issues, isolation, and non-conformity problems.

People have strived to look their finest since the dawn of humanity. Nonetheless, society has a significant role in determining what is attractive. In North America, for example, maintaining a youthful appearance has traditionally been seen as a significant aspect of attractiveness, particularly among women of all ages who want naturally flawless skin and other standards that require enhancements as one ages. The majority of people in North America value fairness, especially persons of color who live in areas where it is valued (Brown 74). Women with a larger body, long, bouncy hair, and a healthy shine to their complexion are viewed as more beautiful in particular age groups. For example, the number of women who get cosmetic procedures to enhance their appearance and fulfill beauty standards such as having fuller lips, smaller bodies, and larger breasts has steadily increased over the previous several decades (Alotaibi 9). A thinner figure is viewed as a key aspect of being beautiful in most locations across the globe. Women’s aspirations in North America, on the other hand, have reached unprecedented heights, as have the demands placed on them to match those expectations. People have started to associate physical appearance with positive outcomes such as happiness and financial success as the globe has grown more linked. As a consequence, North American women began to want the cultural conceptions of what was attractive. Being tall, fair, and slim, as well as possessing light eyes and hair, were formerly considered the most attractive attributes.

The phrase “beautiful” is highly prized by both men and women. In today’s culture, what is considered beautiful and how people need to conduct themselves are both determined by materialism and commercialism. Both men and women fall victim to this trap, and once within, they are conditioned to want to conform to an idealized depiction of what constitutes a beautiful man or woman (Reid‐de Jong and Bruce 55). According to the findings of psychological research, all of these things occur as a direct consequence of the prejudices and constructions that are the product of the social norms that are prevalent in modern society (Elliott 1). When a person’s identity and their physical appearance are intertwined, the influence of cultural imperialism has a huge effect on how they evaluate beauty. This is especially true in Canada, where commercialism and consumerism both play a significant role in the economy (Veresiu and Parmentier 265). Women are attracted to what is considered beautiful by society, such as having a small waist, long legs, narrow hips, long, lustrous hair, a light complexion, and thin bodies. Societal standards of beauty are always shifting. Men are judged according to their muscularity, tone, and shape, as well as other masculine traits that define attractiveness in today’s society, such as whether or not they have hair on their chests. As a direct consequence of this, it is plain to see that the size of both men and women shown in the media has decreased throughout the course of time. Indeed, this is a perfect instance of the new beauty mania that has recently evolved in our society.

In contemporary North American culture, individuals’ high standards of beauty have given rise to problems in a variety of facets of life, including their physical and mental health. Yan and Bissell (197) highlight the development of “lifestyle conformity anxieties,” which include concerns about one’s health, disappointments, impossible goals, and a society that is always seeking to be flawless. Ideas regarding what constitutes beauty have played a role in contributing to this rise. Eating disorders are often brought on by one’s own preconceived ideas about how one’s body ought to look, for instance (Reid‐de Jong and Bruce 55). Researchers eventually determined that the desire to be thin, which arises from unhappiness with one’s looks, is what causes anorexia and bulimia. This was a significant discovery. Anorexia and bulimia are both caused by others who are against the thin-ideal view of beauty as well as others who find beauty in curves. Others who see beauty in curves. The idealized sense of beauty that exists in today’s culture is being criticized by these people. On the other hand, the criticism has gone too far, as shown by the fact that eating disorders and obesity have been brought up. According to studies, being overweight may cause a person to experience psychological discomfort, which in turn can have an effect on a person’s body image, which in turn can lower a person’s quality of life (Afful and Ricciardelli 454). When seen from a psychological point of view, obesity is considered to be one of the most embarrassing features of society. It would seem that people in North American culture have a natural bias towards those who are overweight. Having an interest in the aesthetic standards and conceptions that are widespread in North American culture has important ramifications for one’s health as well as the general enjoyment that may be derived from living one’s life.

The problem is more prevalent for women than it is for any other social or demographic segment in North America because of the expectations placed on them by culture, fellow women, the workplace, communities, social media, and other areas of life. This is different for other regions like China where macho men are the societal symbol of what a man should be (Elliott 1). Body image is a challenging subject since it is made up of a personal belief, emotions, feelings, moods, and actions (Brown 67). Women’s mental health may be influenced by how they see themselves and feel about their physique. Women who are self-conscious about their looks are more prone to have eating disorders, physical problems, mental health problems, and other conditions that make it difficult for them to work and earn a living. Reading women’s publications, being on social media, and following influencers and social leaders cause more than 70% of college-aged women feel horrible about their own beauty, according to poll data (Esmonde 77). Finally, it seems that this problem will intensify, affecting not just women but also men, the elderly, LGBTQ+ people, people of color, and a wide range of other groups.

In conclusion, the standardization of beauty across North American culture to match a single predefined path of perfection dictated by society has circulated, creating impossible demands on women of all ages, leading to social problems, isolation, and non-conformity issues. unfortunately, there seems to be no positive aspects related to the definition of beauty on a cultural and societal level. However, the consequences continue to pile up, especially for women who are constantly expected to fit into a predetermined “box” of what beauty entails. As the problem begins to extend to men and other social categories, it is important for individuals to begin stepping away from these expectations.

Works Cited

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Argo, Jennifer J., and Darren W. Dahl. “Standards of beauty: The impact of mannequins in the retail context.” Journal of Consumer Research 44.5 (2018): 974-990.

Brown, Shaunasea. “Don’t touch my hair”: Problematizing representations of Black women in Canada.” Journal of Pan African Studies 12.8 (2018): 64-86.

Elliot, Josh. “China bans ‘sissy’ and ‘effeminate’ men under new macho media rules.” Global News.

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Reid‐de Jong, Victoria, and Anne Bruce. “Mastectomy tattoos: An emerging alternative for reclaiming self.” Nursing Forum. Vol. 55. No. 4. 2020.

Veresiu, Ela, and Marie-Agnès Parmentier. “Advanced style influencers: Confronting gendered ageism in fashion and beauty markets.” Journal of the Association for Consumer Research 6.2 (2021): 263-273.

Yan, Yan, and Kim Bissell. “The globalization of beauty: How is ideal beauty influenced by globally published fashion and beauty magazines?.” Journal of Intercultural Communication Research 43.3 (2014): 194-214.

Zaborskis, Mary. “Gender Studies: Foundations and Key Concepts.” JStor Daily (2018).