Let's talk about beauty.
Not beauty products or how drinking a green smoothie everyday will give your complexion a healthy glow (which is does, by the way). I want to talk about beauty ideals.
There are certain clichés surrounding people's ideals about beauty, one of my favorites being "beauty is in the eye of the beholder."
As I've gotten older, my standards of beauty have changed as my personal standard of myself has evolved. As I've grown to embrace how I am, sans makeup and other beauty amplifiers, my judgment of other people's aesthetic value has softened, and it has taken a huge weight off my shoulders.
Today, many people, especially women, seem to be holding onto an unfair standard of beauty, and this self-deprecation often causes a myriad of issues.
One friend of mine is a brilliant writer and she has the resume to prove it. However, all of her achievements seem to fall by the wayside when she walks into a crowded bar. She feels men aren't giving her the attention she deserves. She becomes meek and self conscious, a complete 180 from the gregarious, confidant woman I witness when sitting poolside without the loud music and drunk guys.
Suddenly, her brilliance became buried under all of her self-loathing. I noticed how defensive she was in conversation and I began to catch her envious eyes following other women when we hung out.
When beauty becomes the priority of a person's worth, then that person becomes an object. It's not something that's pinpointed to women or an American standard of beauty. It's simply the idea of placing too much value on a person's appearance, and it's crippling us from manifesting our dreams and simply living.
I don't want to spotlight my friend as the victim. Up until I turned 21, I had been the quintessential girl with the self-esteem issues because I didn't feel pretty enough. I would feel uncomfortable when other people received attention or a compliment because I felt it was a passive-aggressive attack towards me. And I would whine when I didn't return home at night with a certain amount of new numbers in my phone from a party.
Sounds petty, right? It's because it is. In all honesty, the time I wasted wondering if my physical appeal measured up to other's standards could have been poured into anything else, but instead I spent it lamenting on how my life would be so stellar if I was a 10.
We, as people, already have the perpetual tendency to focus on objects and glorify them (hold your horses, religious buffs — I'm talking about iPhones, not false idols). But when these expectations begin to transfer over to people, the result is often disastrous. The truth is, no one is perfect. People can't be constantly upgraded and fixed to meet society's standards, but still we continue to push others and ourselves over the limit.
This is the same reason why so many women feel the need to inject themselves with silicon and other fillers to get larger posteriors, lips, cheeks, breasts, and why men feel pressured to become better endowed. It's why you see people spending hours at the gym, not to keep heart disease at bay, but to look good on a beach. We're hurting because we can't meet the standards that society has pinned upon us, but to cover our wounds we continuously attempt to upgrade ourselves in hopes of reaching that impossible place on the pedestal.
I understand. It's almost impossible to completely throw away the constructs we place people in, and like people in a completely open way of thinking where beauty doesn't matter. But we can at least move toward a way where our priorities can shift.
There's more to life, and people, than someone's outward appearance.
— Victoria Wright is a junior in journalism and electronic media. She can be reached at email@example.com