By Divine Hanna
The cliché that beauty is in the eye of the beholder entails that beauty is subjective. However, society doesn’t really follow this maxim. The current beauty standards favor one group of people in particular. From films to social media, this widespread belief has deemed Caucasian as synonymous with beauty. Isn’t it time that we embrace bodies and features other than those of white people allowing beauty to truly be subjective?
While social media has promoted this principle a fair amount, the romanticization of fair skin, blue eyes, and a petite figure date further back to a time when Instagram and TikTok were nonexistent. The general conception of what was considered beautiful has been based on Eurocentric beauty standards for generations upon generations. Although they can definitely be charming, these features shouldn’t be considered the ideal.
This detrimental mindset has brought upon much harm to our youth from different ethnic backgrounds. By society pushing Eurocentric features as ideal, people of other backgrounds tend to long for different physical traits than what they were born with.
As a child, I remember envying the girls who had pin-straight hair, ivory skin, and button noses. I was frequently compared to the Wicked Witch of the West for my nose, or Chelsea Keezheekoni for my big hair. These references only worsened the strained relationship between myself and my ethnicity. By the age of eight, I had already planned on getting a nose job and a Keratin hair treatment. The worst part was that I didn’t even dislike my big nose or poofy hair, I simply loathed the negative attention I received from it.
This adversity has prompted many to dye their hair, bleach their skin, or go on extreme fad diets to reach the Eurocentric ideal. In the end, the same people lose a part of their identity to society’s standards.
The romanticism of Eurocentricity extends far beyond beauty standards. Our society has shown preference for white people in social, economic, and political matters as well. In a recent report, Georgetown University’s Center on Education and Workplace stated that white employees have access to more opportunities and receive more advantages than non-white workers. “These economic inequities are rooted in the long history of racial injustice in the United States. Stretching back to the earliest years of European settlement on North American soil, many advancements by Whites have come at the cost of the forced displacement and stolen lives and labor of other racial and ethnic groups.” according to the Georgetown study.
White supremacy is an ongoing issue that unfortunately presents itself in many aspects of our lives.
Luckily, there has been a boom in the self-love and body-positivity movement. The entrance of plus-sized models on runways and the appearance of people of color as main characters on television have brought lots of change towards encouraging acceptance of oneself or others, regardless of their features. In addition, it has decreased bullying among young people and helped reduce the development of negative self-images for those who do not fit the Eurocentric standard.
Although we have seen increased inclusion in the acceptance of different features, the issue of Eurocentricity is still present. Unfortunately, criticism and bias are unavoidable in a world of judgment and prejudice. However, it is time we move forward and past the materialistic perceptions of others. When beauty is in the eye of the beholder, the world can be a much more beautiful place.