Breaking the Stereotypes


Virtue Nyarko, Editor-in-Chief

Society often encourages the idea of being “one’s true self’ while setting guidelines for how to be that person. Most commonly, beauty standards among men and women are dictated by popularity and tend to fluctuate over the years. In the 1990’s, the idea of beauty was determined by being extremely thin and sickly looking, unlike the 80’s when being athletic, curvy and tall was all the rage. To Hayley Easterday, 12, she believes that people conform to society because “no one wants to stand out in a bad way so they try to not stand out at all.” 

Not only are beauty standards held for women, men also face many issues, as well. The expectation for most men is to be athletic, strong, and built. Men of a different nature tend to be overlooked and scrutinized by social media and reality. Though the negativity in body image is higher in women, the number of men struggling with this problem continues to grow at an accelerating rate.

Especially among younger men, the struggle to conform to societal standards showed a significant increase with the use of skincare products; between 2012 and 2014, men’s skincare products increased by 70% worldwide, amounting to $3.3 billion globally in 2013.

In recent times, the standards of beauty have been more lenient among men, as opposed to women; being a “healthy” skinny with a flat stomach is more acceptable. Although it’s not clear what a “healthily skinny” individual looks like, it can be detrimental to one’s health to uphold that standard.

Within recent years, plastic surgery has also  been a growing factor in people wanting to fit in with societal standards and look similar to celebrities or people of admiration.  As of 2018, almost 18 million people underwent surgical operations on things such as facelifts, liposuction, rhinoplasties, etc.

Although this growing trend sparks controversy due to botched operations and judgment, the results are extremely profitable. In 2018, as well, about $16.5 billion dollars were spent on operations, which further proves that people are willing to spend any amount to look a certain way.

Though the image towards beauty may not change, the power of self-encouragement and finding happiness within one’s self is heading toward changing the status quo. As Easterday suggests, “Find a style that you feel confident in, comfortable in, and compliments you and your body.”