English 101: How the Definition of Beauty of Women and Men Has Changed Over the Past 50 Years

How the Definition of Beauty of Women and Men Has Changed Over the Past 50 Years

Introduction

Today’s world is a world in which individuals are constantly under scrutiny about their appearance. The notion of beauty keeps changing every century. Every man, woman, and child knows what is beautiful. For the men, a beautiful woman could be described as having blond long hair, long legs, blue eyes, and white in complexion. This description may also be valid for the women. Children perceive their toys, including cars and dolls as beautiful. Women are persistently striving to become beautiful and utilize every available means to achieve this. Beauty may be described as a blend of characters, including shape, color or form that satisfies the visual senses, particularly the sense of vision. Beauty may be interpreted in numerous ways across time as well as culture; however, this subjective concept has been attuned such that women feel that beauty is objective.

For instance, the media has a great influence on the society’s insight of beauty, which has resulted in women feeling unconfident about their looks. As depicted in the Blue Eye novel, the American media normally portrays the white men and women as a representation of beauty. In the novel, Claudia was always faced with white standards of beauty. There is a time she received a blue-eyed, blonde-haired, pink-skinned doll as a Christmas present. This made her feel so unconfident of herself. Instead of adoring the doll, she tears it down completely because of the resentment that she felt (Morriosn 20).

Definition and Standards of Beauty

In the novel, the Blue Eye, the author disputes the Western standards of beauty. She discards the traditional perception of white standards of beauty because she views it as racist and frolicsome and it separates the females from the reality. According to him, the notion of beauty is socially created. She also outlines that if whiteness is used as a standard of beauty, then it means that the significance of blackness is weakened and the novel is aimed at subverting that tendency. In illustrating the pride in being black, the author of Blue Eye, doest not just describe the positive image of blackness, instead talks about the damage that the black women characters undergo through the construction of feminists in a radicalized society. Most women may view beauty as a central focus.

However, since the ultimate beauty is depicted in the Blue eye as a woman with light skin and blue eyes, it is impossible for any woman who is not light skinned to achieve this. The white dominated culture has radicalized beauty, as it has defined beauty specifically in terms of white beauty, putting more emphasis on the physical features that only the white people are likely to possess (Taylor 17). Thus, the experience of the black women in trying to attain beauty is different from that of a white woman. This can be depicted in the experiences that the black women characters in the Blue Eye novel go through in trying to be conventional to the American standards of beauty.

The Blue Eye novel narrates a tale of a young black girl named Pecola Breedlove, who desires to have blue eyes, for the reason that she views herself, and is regarded by other characters in the book as ugly. The standard of beauty subscribed by her fellow teenagers is presented by the Shirley Temple, who is a white child actress in the novel. Beauty is a very objective obsession to measure. Every individual has his/her own standards of beauty, taking cause from ones family, society, and culture. The standards of beauty may be regarded by some as lately swerving towards a more ethic look as the diversity in American demographics have rapidly increased. The proverb that “blondes have more fun” is not resonating as did in the past 50 years; the time when the curvy Marilyn Monroe was a beauty icon (Martinez Para 2). The standards of beauty in the majority of Western cultures and especially in the U.S, are considered as slender, light eyes, and elongated hair. Even though beauty standard may differ based on the various American cultures, they have taken on the euro-centric beauty standards from the major white society to a great extent. Even though the society may say that they do not recognize the media beauty standards, many people have been bombarded since their childhood with images of white beauty. While such images may portray real beauty, the perception of what is considered physically desirable has been limited, as compared to other ethnicities in the United States and the rest of the world (Martinez Para 3).

As portrayed by various superstars of other ethnicities, the standard of beauty has changed into a more foreign and culturally vague outlook. For the Black Americans, beauty ideals are regarded as a blend of the white beauty ideals and the black ethnic skin tone. The considerable light skins of celebrities, such as Beyonce have become the essence of beauty, especially in young Black Americans. However, they do not represent the looks of a majority of the black women. The light skin, long hair, and the blue eye features leave most women out. Many women undergo a number of radical surgeries for the purpose of changing their appearance to a more Caucasian look (Freedman 320). Many of those women think by changing their looks, they would find solutions to all their problems. For several months, Pecola wishes that her eye turns blue. She had numerous problems in her life, beginning with her family issues, and she believes that if she had blue eyes, all her problems would go away. She believes that with the blue eyes, everyone would see her as beautiful. Being a black young girl is a community that adores blonde-haired and blue-eyed beauty; she feels she is very ugly. Pecola empathizes the dandelions since she knows how it feels to be devalued (Morriosn 23).

One may wonder if the new beauty standard is turning into a more ethic look signs of a post cultural society, whereby ethic beauty is readily acknowledged. It is not necessarily the case; it establishes a room for a new set of feelings of insufficiency in the beauty department of a majority of the Caucasian women who have pale skin, thin lips and very slim, and also the dark skinned ladies who do not have the classic curvaceous figures of the ethnic women (Freedman 319). Other ethnic groups, such as Asians are the most underrepresented in the media. Bleaching Creams and eye surgeries have become very popular in the Asian societies. A majority of women with light complexions are distress as a result of the tanning booth damage and sun exposure. Women of different ethnic groups opt for butt implants. There have been a number of documented cases of death as a result of complications that result from this kind of surgery in ladies of all ethnic groups (Martinez Para 5).

The Media

The media is not taking any considerations when representing various kinds of beauties from various ethnicities that now reside in America. In terms of casting for huge budget motion pictures, the conventional production firms make it impossible to green light films with ethnic leads. They are normally afraid of failing to bring the crowd. An example of this is the production of the Asian comic book movie known as Akira, which is currently set to cast as all white cast. Why must there be a single standard? The society is still far much behind when it comes to understanding and accepting the notion of multiculturalism and diversity. The Well-liked confirms that the nature of beauty that does not conform to the standards is uncomfortable. This explains much about the society in general, since its people are the ones that provides for the media and the entertainment industry (Martinez Para 14). In the Blue Eye novel, Claudia keeps praying that Pecola’s baby survive. This is because she wants the child to live to offset the community set ideals of beauty, which emphasizes that the blonde-haired and blue-eyed girls are the most beautiful. Claudia had hopes that with the new black child, the society would see blackness as something that could also be admired and something that is beautiful in a unique way (Morriosn 190).

Conclusion

Unlike over 50 Years ago, individuals today are constantly under scrutiny about their looks. The perception of beauty has changed so much and it keeps changing every century. Beauty may be described as a blend of characters, including shape, color or form that satisfies the visual senses, particularly the sense of vision. It may be interpreted in numerous ways across time and as well as culture, but this subjective concept has been attuned such that women feel that beauty is objective. Based on the Blue Eye novel, the American media portrays the white men and women as a representation of beauty. The ultimate beauty is depicted in the Blue eye as a woman with light skin and blue eyes. The white dominated culture has radicalized beauty, as it has defined beauty specifically in terms of white beauty, putting more emphasis on the physical features that only the white people are likely to possess. This therefore implies that Thus, the experience of the black women in trying to attain beauty is different from that of a white woman.  It is therefore important to understand that every individual has his/her own standards of beauty, taking cause from ones family, society, and culture.

 

 

Works Cited

Freedman, Rachel E. K, et al. “Do men hold African-American and Caucasian women to different standards of beauty?” Eating behaviors 8.3 (2007): 319-333.

Martinez, Venessa. America Today: The Standard of Beauty. (2011). Available at http://www.urbanenature.com/america-today-the-standard-of-beauty/

Morrison’s, Toni. “The Bluest Eye.” What white looks like (1970).

Taylor, Paul C. “Malcolm’s conk and danto’s colors; or, four logical petitions concerning race, beauty, and aesthetics.” (1999).