Current beauty standards are unattainable for a reason: the current characteristics of beauty are of those found in children, not adult women.
Think about it.
We’re meant to be completely hairless in the places where we grow hair exactly after puberty.. Weird. Baby smooth skin, we’re told to repress any signs of aging, fine lines, wrinkles and greying hair. Not to mention the fact that we’re also rewarded for being submissive.
Take models as an example, a majority of them have no boobs or hips or jiggle on their thighs. They maintain the body of a prepubescent girl. Flat, incredibly skinny and lanky. Runway models are not an accurate reflection of what women look like, because most grown women have wide hips, a stomach and boobs.
And the modeling job only lasts as long as the woman’s youthful look does.
As a woman, we’re taught to see ourselves through the desire of the male gaze. We’re groomed from a very young age to be ashamed of our body hair, to look for taller boys because men don’t want a woman who’s bigger than them.
Ever wonder why you raise your voice a few octaves higher when you’re around a group of boys? It’s because you’ve been programmed to think that a higher, sweeter voice is more “feminine” and therefore more palatable to boys.
The odd obsession with a girl being a “virgin”, which is simply a social construct.
Why is there such a fetishization of the school girl uniform in the realm of porn and adult films? Don’t you think that’s weird? That there’s an entire portion of the population that chooses school aged children for their sexual pleasure.
Surely every woman remembers how the male gaze changes once they reach puberty.
Why did I suddenly become self conscious of the stretch marks on my boobs and thighs when I hit puberty? Why was I ashamed of the hair I had growing under my arms or the pubic hair that would poke out of my bathing suit in middle school? Why was I worried about that stuff when I should just be able to have fun at the public pool with my friends and not be worried about the way in which I’m being perceived by other people?
The way in which we normalize these standards can look subtle, it’s a comment made in passing from a mother to her daughter. It looks like my mom ingrained in me from the age of 16 that I need to wear moisturizer with SPF in it every single day or else I’ll have a “wrinkly face and wrinkly boobs.”
Take this and compare it with the fact that my boyfriend doesn’t even know what a skin care routine is, and never even thinks about applying sunscreen.
That’s the difference between the beauty expectations from men and women; men are allowed and even applauded for aging, we give them affectionate names such as “silver fox.” While anti-aging products are aggressively pushed on women from their teens.
In a society that sexualizes child-like features, there is an unequal amount of pressure placed on women vs. men and that is simply a fact.
As a society, we must do better. We must stop sexualizing child-like features and putting unnecessary, and unrealistic pressures on women. It’s disgusting and impossible to preserve such a disturbing level of youth among adult women.
The next time you find yourself getting grossed out or phased by a woman with body hair, check yourself. Think about why.