UNITED STATES—How does one define the word ‘beauty?’ Is it outward appearance, is it inner appearance or is it behavior? There are a variety of ways to describe precisely what it means to be beautiful, but why does American culture place beauty on such a pedestal?

We like to categorize people, as much as we’d argue we’re not an egotistical, self-centered culture, we actually are. We care more about ourselves than the well-being of most others. Do you want to know where the root of beauty starts? I’ll give you a clue; most celebrities don’t leave their homes without it: its make-up.

Yep, the idea of putting on your face, to achieve a new look or to beautify yourself to a degree that others can’ imagine continues to shape our perception. I’m bringing this issue to hand, as it appears women face so much slack for what it means to be beautiful compared to others.

We live in this world where a size zero is a must. I don’t know what its like to be a woman, but it can’t be easy. Most women encounter harsh commentary from other women. Like aren’t we supposed to be living in a world where we embrace one another not take one another down?

It’s like if I don’t feel beautiful, I’m going to make someone else feel just as ugly as me. Hearing stories about news anchors discuss the hate mail they received for outfits they wear is just horrendous. Like seriously, what someone is wearing bothers you so much, you just have to hand write or email them a nasty comment to get your point across. How about you shut your trap?

Make-up is one issue in regards to beauty for women, but the other issue is none other than the fashion industry itself. Hey designers, stop glorifying a beauty regimen and body type that is not representative of American culture. You have power, why don’t you start using it.

All you see in magazines are photo-shopped images and the belief that what is seen is ‘real’ when in reality it’s an image of what they ‘want’ you to see. I can’t recall the last time hearing a fashion designer or editor stand up for real beauty. You guys are continuing to perpetuate this issue of beauty that people are literally dying to achieve especially women. 

Am I asking for you to promote unhealthy eating habits and so on, no! We all know obesity is an issue in this country and it’s something that we have to take a more direct approach to tackling. However, that does not mean we should promote the idea of self-starvation, exercising to death and a slew of other unhealthy habits.

Of course guys catch flack in the beauty department as well. Particularly in the physique department, where having a six-pack, a toned stomach, biceps, and a chiseled face, is what women seem to swoon over. I almost feel like someone put together a blueprint of what beauty is supposed to be. Some computerized program, where no actual human being perfectly fits that mold.

We are setting ourselves up for failure, being beautiful doesn’t mean being a size negative, it means ‘feeling’ it. Wearing the right pair of pants, shirt, shoes, hat or watch can make a difference. I think we perceive body image as being key to all of those things, being healthy does make a person feel beautiful, but focusing solely on the body does not.