Society Loves Beauty and the Beast but Does It Love All Beauty and Races?

Emma Gonzalez

In current times, our society creates beauty standards that cause people to believe they need to look a certain way that varies based on gender and race.

Each race has their own struggles and their own opinion about beauty standards that they feel are expected within their race. The reasons for these beauty standards can differ, but some are based on social media, television, or culture. 

Junior Kaylee Yonamine is a young Black and Japanese woman. Yonamine discusses how different she felt because she is from two different cultures and the typical beauty standards set within these races such as her hair type. 

“I grew up in a predominantly like Japanese family so I was surrounded by Japanese culture a lot, and compared to the rest of my family, I had very different hair,” Yonamine said. “I didn’t really know what to do with it growing up, and neither did my mom because she was Japanese so it was really hard for me growing up… my hair is different than everybody else’s, what do I do with it, do I just always put it up or do I let it out?”

70% of women coming from different races feel that they should be skinnier even though all of these women were of average weight. On the other hand, 34% of men coming from multiple races as well feel that their body is not enough for themselves (MACMH, 2014).

Christine Hong is a young Vietnamese woman that revealed the struggles that her mother faced in Vietnam regarding beauty standards. In order to look or feel beautiful, society within this race created a standard that Vietnamese women had to look slim.

“When my mom was my age, back in Vietnam, she was super conscious about how small her waist was,” Hong said. “She used to tell me that she took a measuring tape, and like measured how small her waist was every day. And then like her weight, she tried to keep it around like high 80-90s.”

Black women are often stereotyped because of their darker skin tone, these stereotypes can result in other people acting like these Black women are less than other races. Black women can also be wrongfully mistaken for something that they aren’t (NCBI, 2017).

Junior Makayla Wilson talks about the expectations that society sets for a Black woman and the way that they are expected to look. Wilson feels that society automatically assumes that she is of another race simply because of her lighter skin complexion.

“However, me, my skin tone is very like caramelized, I have like a butterscotch, the candy lollipop type complexion,” Wilson said. “And, to me some people think like, oh my god, you’re mixed like you’re not a black girl because I don’t look like a dark, like a dark chocolate type of skin tone.”

In Race Beauty Standards Set By Society Poll, nine out of twelve people claim that they feel pressure to look a certain way within their race in order to be beautiful/handsome. Almost everyone said that women have it harder to live up to these beauty standards. Their reasoning for beauty standards focused more on society depicting how a person should look on the outside through stereotypes while trying to still be enough for what is shown through social media.

Junior Jack Medina is half Mexican/white. Being a young man in his race and generation, he feels as though there are certain beauty standards that having fame brings to younger men of different races. Medina thinks that every race will have their own celebrities that they look up to and feel like they have to look like them in order to be accepted.

“A lot of what the standards are for beauty is, like, you know, is based off of oh what’s this celebrity wearing today, you know, like how am I going to I guess emulate that or like show off my style to like to be inspired by this,” Medina said. “It’s also important like in beauty standards that you look kind of like the people around you, not clones necessarily but you, I guess, dress yourself and make yourself presentable, so that it’s not out of this disclose the people around you. And that like that kind of varies between different cultures.”

There was an experiment conducted focusing on how different countries would envision male beauty and how a man should look. Designers took an original photo of a man and then photoshopped how he would look if he were living up to these beauty standards in different countries. The United States wanted a man that had hair that spiked upward, had muscles, and also had an uneven tan. Meanwhile, the envisioned man in South Africa had muscles as well, but a darker skin complexion (Business Insider, 2016).

Junior Tyler Parker is a young black man who feels that he has more challenges because of his race, specifically because his level of beauty standards compared to other races is higher. Parker perceives society as a place where race can create various obstacles. 

“Every race has a certain standard. Of course, it will be easier because we are, as Black people, we are talked about a lot and we feel like we have to fit in or look a certain way to [feel] welcome in this world,” Parker said. “And so it would totally be easier than another race for the beauty standards.”

Although there are certain beauty standards expected from each race, many have chosen to embrace themselves instead of conforming to these paradigms of racial beauty. Rather than succumbing to others’ expectations, numerous people have accepted that physical features don’t define race.

“You don’t have to have certain features in order to identify as being black,” Wilson said. “If you have those bloods and cultivates in your family from generation to generation, then express it how you want to express it and be your own definition of life,” Wilson said.