The media now has a huge grip on what an ideally beautiful person is than it has ever had before. With our ever evolving technology, the media has influenced a good part of society on what beautiful is supposed to be. Advertisements, commercials, bill boards, magazines , film , TV are all mediums where ideal beauty is portrayed. With all these mediums, these images are constantly in our face. In the United States, I feel like ideal beauty is largely based on someone’s body shape. What is considered a good body shape has evolved over the past eight decades. Different body types were considered “acceptable” over the years. Bodies have gone from “curvy” to “slim” and back again to meet the demands of change. These constant changes can be very sensitive to a young girl’s psyche. They might not be aware and/or understand how photo-shopping plays such a huge role in making the models look unrealistically flawless. It has become an epidemic, setting unrealistic standards of beauty that people are pressured to live up to.
Not only have unrealistic standards of beauty have been set by media and society in the United States but it has also been set in my native country, India. From my observations, it is not so much that Indian society has a major obsession with body image as it does with the desire to be light-skinned. Before India gained its independence in 1947, it was ruled by Great Britain. The fair coloring in India was provided by its European conquerors. A common influence of European colonialism is the desire for the conquered territories to have the features of their conquerors. Lighter and whiter apparently means more beautiful and desired. Despite this ideology, it has been over 60 years since India gained its Independence and should have stopped using this ideology a long time ago. Unfortunately, that is not the case in India. With technology and major media platforms, popular Indian media have elevated the idea of being light skinned to be one of the best things an individual can be. Indian television and movies are constantly bombarded with over exaggerated commercials for skin lightening products and other products featuring only light skinned models and celebrities. Rarely do I see a person, especially a woman, who is of a darker complexion in a starring role in a movie, ad, or commercial. The thing is some of these people who are made to look light skinned are actually darker than you think. I believe photo-shopping and makeup have a lot to do with a person’s skin looking lighter than it is but their natural skin is still often lighter than the majority of the Indian population. I have also provided a link that features a video of Lakshmi Menon, a dark skinned Indian model, talking about the fair skin epidemic in India. She and I both agree that the obsession to be light skinned has become very destructive to many young people in India.
It is important that both woman and men stop being brainwashed by these ridiculous ideologies of what beautiful is supposed to be and embrace who they are despite what the media may suggest. It is much more attractive to celebrate your authenticity than to conform to some over hyped societal norm, anyway.