The Problem With Beauty “Standards”

By: Jolie Brownell, IATG ContributorFebruary 1, 2016


Many of us have read headlines like, “Young Celebrities Challenging the Beauty Industry” or something similar in magazines. It’s great, don’t get me wrong. We should definitely be celebrating the women who choose to go against the standards and be 100% themselves. My question is why are these celebrities “challenging” today’s unrealistic beauty standards? As if the beauty industry is some powerful figure that stands undefeatable. Yes, society’s beauty standards are very powerful because they negatively impact a girl’s self-esteem. But, they can definitely be defeated.

We can change the beauty expectations and standards of today because we change its definition. But we can’t do that if we see it as “going against” something unchangeable.


We can only truly defeat our society’s unattainable and unhealthy beauty standards by going old school: taking out the pen and rewriting its definition on each and every human heart and turning it into truth.

Society has tattooed our hearts with messages that continuously remind us that we will never be good enough, pretty enough, skinny enough, tall enough, smart enough, etc. It’s time to cross out and erase all of that nonsense and rewrite news messages on our hearts that teach us that we are enough and forever will be. We are beautiful just the way we are--with our full thighs, stretch marks, acne, scars, natural bellies, and all the other so called “imperfections.”


Everything is beautiful and that should be the new standard.

But wait a minute, can’t we take this even a little bit farther? Isn’t a standard itself defined as an idea or thing that is used as a measurement to determine the norm? And isn’t it also true that beauty is technically in the eye of the beholder so it has no limit and thus it is immeasurable? If so, can’t we logically conclude that beauty standards shouldn't even exist because they both contradict each other?

You can’t measure something that is immeasurable, it’s impossible. The only possible way to do that is by limiting the thing you are measuring. Which is exactly what society did, they tried to measure beauty and by doing so also limited its endless definition.

Beauty is beauty. However you choose to define it is all up to you. I just hope that you one day you are able to erase society’s definition of “not good enough” and replace it with the definition of who you are. Because you are beautiful! You are included in the definition of beauty because EVERYONE and EVERYTHING is!

So when you go out and choose to be authentically yourself and someone tells you that you are “challenging the standards of beauty,” correct them and say, “No, I’m not challenging the beauty standards, I’m rewriting its definition.”

Let’s Chat!

How have unrealistic beauty standards shaped the way you see yourself? What role does media play in enforcing these standards? Next time you’re chatting with your friends, make a point to compliment their smarts, their hearts, their killer kindness and start rewiring our ideas about beauty.

About Jolie

JoliJOLIE_BROWNELL_writer_bio.jpge is a passionate teenage I AM THAT GIRL Chapter leader in Beaverton, Oregon. Who, like many other girls, is sick of society making her feel inadequate and unheard, so has made it her goal to change the norms of this world and help create a new norm where girls are encouraged, heard, and accepted!





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