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Eurocentric Beauty standards


written by michelle bok


Blue eyes, small, sharp nose, fair skin. 


As I look into the mirror, I fail to recognize any of these features in me. 


Before my family moved to Federal Way, Washington, which is one of the most diverse communities in the country, I attended elementary school in Trumbull, Connecticut, a predominantly white community. I used to look up to celebrities such as Taylor Swift and Ashley Tisdale, who played Sharpay Evans in High School Musical, wishing to also possess the glamorized blonde hair and light-colored eyes. 


Yet, as I spent my time pondering about my insecurities, I came to understand that the core of my issues extended beyond the locus of personal identity and into society’s warped beauty standards which perpetuate the racial and political ideologies of a few powerful countries in the west. 


The prime example of this phenomenon is most evident in Hollywood, for decades the movie and entertainment center of the world. And yet, as East Asian countries began to prosper and to produce their own compelling images of beauty, I can see how even Korea has been guilty of promoting unrealistic standards that discriminate against a wide swathe of the world population. I myself have been berated by my grandparents who were angry at me after I became too tanned at the beach. They said I looked dirty (a euphemism to suggest that I looked South Asian, Indian or Thai, for example). Another issue is Korea's obsession with plastic energy, which has allowed Koreans to achieve double eyelids and retroussé noses, common features of Europeans. I’m surprised by how often my parents have encouraged me to get these procedures done after I graduate from high school. 


Why must women of the BIPOC community feel shamed and that their beauty is undesirable just because they are not white? Why has racism become so deeply ingrained in our community that children already grow to hate themselves from a young age? 


The continued spread of Eurocentric beauty standards can partly be attributed to the white social media influencers and models which causes many who are non-white to internalize racism, institutional oppression, and colorism. Beauty standards rot our polychromatic community, becoming the driving force of insecurities, body dysmorphia, and the constant fear of being judged for simply who we are. Just as much as society glamorizes Eurocentric standards, we must also appreciate and recognize the beauty of other races. After all, everyone is beautiful in their own way, and nothing can truly justify why we should aspire to standards that exclude the vast majority of us. History may have said otherwise, but it is now time for each and every one of us to embrace our own beauty. 

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Designed by Anneabella Pioquid

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Designed by Anneabella Pioquid


written by Michelle bok

It’s no doubt that ever-changing, unattainable beauty standards have been components of human societies for millennia. From the earliest days of perceived beauty to the unrealistic pictures of models we may see on our Instagram feeds, damaging pinnacles of physical attractiveness are present everywhere. This poses the question, what effect do these beauty standards have on the great majority of people that look at them as causes of insecurity?


The effects of these unhealthy expectations are so ingrained in society due to the fact that they’re evident at the forefront of our lives since childhood. A popular experiment is called “The Doll Test,” initially conducted by Clark and Clark in 1947. They went to schools in Massachusetts and Arkansas to use 253 black children between ages three and seven in their experiment, where they were asked which doll they preferred when given two dolls. However, the dolls were identical in every aspect other than skin color; one doll had light skin, and the other had dark skin. The experimenters found that approximately two-thirds of the young children had a preference for the white doll, regardless of the fact that the children had skin colors that more closely resembled the black doll.


This experiment has been tried and tried again among many different children from its formation in 1947 to present day, and the results have not shifted. This self-loathing is not innate, and only occurs as a devastating result of the prevalence of eurocentric beauty standards being pushed into the social sphere.

Overconsumption of media surrounding purely eurocentric beauty standards in children is dangerous and sets this issue up on a systemic scale that won’t end unless consciously stopped. The cycle is damaging and must stop, as both children and adults should not need to have this irrational resentment towards their appearance.

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