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How a Whole Generation Has Been Brought Up with Unattainable Beauty Standards

With the social media marvel, we are able to see people from all over the world. With celebrities and social media influencers taking social media by storm, gaining millions of followers and likes through every post.

With people excessively photoshopping and editing photos to look like they are different people leads to a whole generation thinking that that is an ideal beauty standard and that if they’re not part of that then they are not good enough.

The Chronicles of the celebrity filter world

Stars such as the Kardasians are known for their social media platforms, especially the likes of Instagram, where they have millions of followers. Many of the photos they’ve posted are heavily edited and filtered. From their campaign photoshoots to everyday selfies, the family have been guilty of photoshop numerous times.

They’ve looked like entirely different beings, accentuating their waists to look tiny, bums, and near enough every other part of their body. To the naked eye normally they are unnoticeable, however, when you look closely and in some photos, the evidence of photoshop is pretty obvious. With warped backgrounds and floors to limbs missing and just odd shapes of their photoshopped bodies.

Being some of the most-followed people on the planet, it conjures up the argument that by editing their pictures so heavily influences the way in which their followers and the general public think is the beauty standard.

Ethnicity and the notion of unacceptance

Race and the colour of your skin have been an argument for decades, with certain skin colours and races been seen as superior to others and disregarding the people who have darker skin complexion. The standard for beauty has always been light porcelain-like skin, alienating darker skin tones.

By making light skin the standard, people of colour especially, the black community have been singled out for their dark complexion. Leading to the phenomenon of skin bleaching to arise, many people of colour would bleach their skin to fit the standards made by the western world. This is seen within many third world countries, where the market for such products is off the scale.

Inevitably this makes a huge dent within these communities, where many people feel the need to lighten their skin, so they can just about meet the standards. Many people would reject their skin colour all for the validation of other people, making themselves lighter for the appreciation of others.

YSL’s contradiction of inclusivity

High fashion has been a key culprit within the argument of body image and psychological effects of their audiences, with the high-end brands inflating their consumer thoughts on what they deem as the ideal beauty standards.

The usage of slim white models leads to many people wanting to be identical to the models, ignoring the fact that the many models would weigh little and many models being underweight.

Big brands such as YSL have pledged that they are no longer using super-thin models. Appreciating the concern and recognising the detrimental effect it has had on their customers. However, in shows such as the Fall 2019 ready to wear, the models were eerily thin, and still to this day the brand has not used a plus-size model on their runway.

With the French Law in place and the companies all standing with the idea of inclusion, the brands are still ignoring the fact that this needs to be implemented form their shows to their marketing.

Victoria Secret’s trifling secret

Victoria Secret, which had the iconic yearly shows, had cemented the ideal body for females, with each model having similar body shapes. The use of one plus-size model was astronomical, as not once in their 22-year history of runway shows did the brand ever use multiple plus-size models.

By showing this insane image of what they deemed as ideal for body types, it’s lead to generations of people finding themselves trying to fit into this unattainable mould.

This led to the inevitable: all UK Victoria’s Secret branches fell into administration, showing that when brands lack in inclusivity the consumers won’t shop there.

Savage X Fenty’s fight against exclusivity and lack of diversity

On the other hand, many brands have taken the idea of inclusivity in their stride, showing the world and in specific, the fashion community,  that creating an inclusive brand and lines are achievable.

Savage X Fenty, lingerie brand by singer Rihanna, showed that the idea of inclusivity is more than a marketing tactic. Placing plus-sized, trans, disabled and women of colour on their shows and adverts showed the world of fashion has changed and is now allowing for all models and consumers to be represented by such brands.

This is something which has been part of the dna of the brand: focusing on the design of the items rather than the models and what they look like has led the popularity of Savage X Fenty to skyrocket, being dubbed as giving Victoria’s Secret the last nail in the coffin.

It has also opened doors for other brands to follow. Doing so, the brand has millions of consumers as well as critical success, but the show stopper is the approximate net worth of $600 million, even though it’s only been in operation for two years. 

The magazine standards

Magazines set the tone for the fashion industry as well as society as a whole, they tell us what’s in and what’s out. Creating new trends and new phenomena, to body weight, sex, and size to the style of clothes.

The constant reinforcement of their power is shown with only in the late 2010’s. We’ve started to see people of different colours and sizes on magazine covers. This makes people like you and me feel that it’s permissible to be represented in society.

This gives people who seem to not fit in the dated standards a chance to be accepted within society, for who they are and not for who they can be. However, this is still a tiny percentage, showing that the magazine world is still hostile to inclusivity to an extent.

The mental impact of exclusivity

You don’t have to be a professor to understand that this has detrimental effects on our mental health. We’ve all heard of someone who’s suffered from extreme mental health issues, from eating dorsers like anorexia and bulimia to depression which have become extreme coping mechanisms, as a result of fashion and society’s norms placed on all of us.

These are just a few mental health issues that have arisen from this, which shows the severity of these norms. By constantly seeing this ideal image of who we can be, leads to us all attempting to achieve this disregarding our health physically and mentally.

Why does this hold such power over us? They create the norms, trends and expectations for us all, and for decades we’ve strived to meet these, simultaneously losing who we are as a result of this. The fashion empire and society have both taken a change for the better when it comes to the argument of the effect of mental health.

By making inclusivity a key marker in each brand, leading to the concept of diversity a topic which is being tackled.

The footprint left for the next generation

Growing up in a world that accepts us for who we are, including all of our stretch marks and whatever size we may be achievable if aspects such as social media, fashion, and social norms change. Allowing us, you and me, to accept our bodies and to allow for the liberation of our bodies.

Gen Z’s like myself have accepted inclusivity with every might, unchaining ourselves from such norms, and catering a new norm. Where we encompass all body types. But these ideas have left a detrimental mark on society as a whole, where we keep seeing an exclusive body type and look being pushed, leading to us all doubting if we are really making a new beauty standard which is inclusive of all.


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