Rina Factor/Contributing Writer
Our first encounter with the concept of beauty starts when we are very young.
For me, I realized how my perception of beauty was being shaped, when I asked my mother to buy me a Barbie doll during my elementary school years.
Despite the fact that I am half-Asian and shared features with an Asian Barbie doll my mother picked out for me, I insisted that she buy the white Barbie doll instead.
This brief moment from my childhood is a reflection of an unattainable standard of beauty that results from a bigger issue in our country–the idea that white European beauty is the ideal type we should all strive for.
As a little girl, I often dreamt of how happy I would be if I inherited my father’s big blue eyes instead of my own Asian features, because I would then be considered the “prettiest girl in the class.”
I was also surrounded by a predominantly white community and continued to see more white representations of beauty on television and movies.
In live-action adaptations of Nicholas Sparks novels, for instance, the romantic leads are always white. Whenever the male character fell in love with the female one, she was always a beautiful Caucasian woman—never Asian, black, or another race.
As a half-Asian, half-white girl, it was painful to realize that I was the only girl who didn’t share the white, Caucasian features of my classmates or the actors I watched on screen.
It is difficult to accept other versions of beauty when the white Eurocentric standard is the version that’s most perpetuated as “perfect” in our community, in the books we read, and in the movies we watch.
When other types of beauty are ignored in our media, it becomes difficult to believe that these types can be beautiful.
Since many people equate happiness with beauty, it’s essential that society realize that physical beauty is not tied to a specific standard–anything can be considered beautiful.
Beauty should not be constrained by white European standards, as beautiful people exist among different cultures and ethnicities. There are as many beautiful Asian, Black and Hispanic people as there are Caucasians, and this should be expressed more in today’s media.
In fact, beauty should not be constrained by body shape or any other standards. Beauty is beauty, regardless of shape, size, race, sexual orientation, and the like.
We all deserve to see ourselves as beautiful–and see other forms of beauty represented in the media. We must reshape the perception of beauty to accept a broader spectrum so that all people may learn to accept themselves and avoid achieving impossible standards.
The opinions presented within this page do not represent the views of Panther Press Editorial Board. These views are separate from editorials and reflect individual perspectives of contributing writers and/or members of the University community.
Photo taken from Flickr.