Spiral in Standards

The swift increase in beauty standards and expectations throughout the past few years.


Photo credit to As/Is on Google

Nidhi Kuchulakanti, Body Copy Editor

The initial outbreak of COVID-19 had many effects on society’s beauty standards, and they continue to linger to this day. Throughout the past couple of years—initially beginning during quarantine—the state of society has taken an immensely negative turn. Beauty standards have changed, expectations have changed, and discrimination has soared. 

The lockdown for COVID-19 initially began in March of 2020, and it ended up lasting several months. Throughout this lockdown, society experienced a huge change. Everyone had been confined in their homes for an extended period of time, and exposure to other people was severely limited. Because of this, lots of people’s social skills plummeted and expectations started to increase exponentially. Although the state of COVID-19 is not as intense as it once was, the hapless situation from 2 years ago created a long-term influence on a number of people. 

Throughout the past couple of years, beauty standards have changed in an extremely unrealistic way. Nowadays, the beauty standard is to have skin without a single blemish in sight, an extremely slim body, a small nose, a sharp jawline, plump lips, lustrous hair, clean makeup, etc. Although the beauty standards initially started to become quite unobtainable in the early 2000s, it has been falling down a very slippery slope lately and continues to become more and more unrealistic as the days pass by. 

The standards in society nowadays are exceedingly impractical. In an attempt to fit in, people are doing one thing after another to try and change themselves. However, many people fail to realize that the features one has is entirely made up of genetics, so it is not always attainable to modify every feature about yourself. 

Through these unattainable beauty standards, discrimination has started to increase as well—creating an extremely toxic environment in society. The current beauty standard is not easy to achieve in any way, so people who are not born with the certain features that fit the criteria cannot magically accomplish it overnight. Because of this, people who tend to not fit beauty standards are extremely discriminated against, they are seen as ‘not clean’ or ‘not pretty’. Unfortunately, these issues within society have nothing to do with individuals themselves, but rather a larger pressing issue with classism. The unhealthy issue with classism has become a very large issue in society, it’s created a prejudice against people who do not fit every aspect of beauty and it has caused a very destructive and biased environment. 

The issues with classism, prejudice, discrimination, and beauty standards have changed a lot since 2020. With people being restricted in their homes for so long, all they had for a certain amount of time was themselves and social media. 

Social media is an environment where people constantly photoshop their pictures, add filters, and completely change their appearance. If others compare themselves to unrealistic pictures and videos, unattainable beauty standards start to arise—creating numerous insecurities and an urge for people to change themselves. Therefore, it is important to understand that social media is not equal to  real life, beauty standards are not realistic in any way and always end up being more harmful than helpful. The healthiest thing that someone can do for themselves and their health is to not compare themselves to others and try to ignore the toxic beauty standards.