How living on Another Continent has made me think about Beauty Standards

My sister has straight, blond hair. Mine is curly and brown. Of course we’d both rather have the other sister’s hair. Why? Because when it comes to looks, humans (women especially) always seem to want what they don’t naturally have.

How did that happen?

I’ll tell you how. The Beauty Industry happened. And it promises you this: If you change the way you look, people will like you. And when people like you, you’ll be happy.

Sounds plausible? Well. The peculiar thing is that the way you should look differs massively depending on which continent you’re currently on. I grew up in Germany, now I live in Japan. Let’s compare what’s going on in those two countries, beauty-wise:

In Germany, a lot of women straighten their hair.

In Japan, women spend a lot of money on perms.

In Germany, women (and men) risk getting cancer in order to get darker skin in tanning studios.

In Japan, most creams have ’whitener’ in them.

In Germany, there’s a thing called ’cat eye makeup’ that makes your eyes look Asian.

In Japan, I just today discovered the ’double eyelid tape’ in a drugstore.

In Germany, most women say they’d like to lose weight.

In Japan, you can buy jeans with inbuilt ’butt cushions’. (I really have no idea if that’s what they’re called. Probably not.)

Did you notice a pattern? Yes, exactly. The beauty standards women are being told are the exact opposite on the opposite sides of the word. And we believe in them, just like that! What we fail to see is:

They’re fooling us. They’re fooling us all.

This is not about us becoming happier, but about them becoming richer. The Beauty Industry preys on our vulnerability and feeds off of our insecurities. The two things we can do against that are:

Realising how paradoxical and ridiculous this whole circus is by looking beyond our own culture, our own country, our own continent and seeing the bigger picture of what’s really going on.

Doing everything we can to instill into ourselves, and our children, that trying to look like someone or something else isn’t the key to feeling happy and loved.

I spare you a sappy ending to this post about the real way to happiness, but I know for sure: Taping your eyelids is definitely not the way to go.

 

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