On the border of Thailand, women of the Kayan tribe proudly wear brass rings around their neck as a sign of both elegance and prominence. In New Zealand, the Maori people practice a beauty ritual of tattooing. In Western Africa, extreme lengths are taken to get as plump as possible as a sign of wealth. Unlike the United States, a sun-kissed glow is not beautiful in China, and a pale, ghost like complexion is strived for.
These are all different from what Americans think is beautiful. There is no universal definition of beauty, as each region of the world has their own ideal of what is good looking.
A study by The Dove Campaign for Real Beauty revealed that only 2% of the women around the globe would describe themselves as beautiful. Where did these limiting, unrealistic molds come from and why do we judge those who do not live up to these standards?
Dr. David Williams, Arizona State Sociologist, believes the answer is simple: conditioning. “People judge people on how they look because that is what they are trained to do.” At a young age, people form ideas that they carry with them for the rest of their life. “When your little you watch things. You see things.” From constantly seeing images from pop culture and advertisements, the shallow model of beauty is formed.
“We have to realize we are in the United States. The most wonderful societies in the history of the world.” As cliche as it sounds, people come in all shapes and sizes, and are not any less beautiful because they were not born a certain way. Individuality is what sets us apart from each other. Brittney Willis states, “In society, uniqueness allows everyone the possibility to be themselves… It allows us to interpret what we like and these differences make the world go round.”
Dr. Williams said, “Hopefully things will get better, but it is a battle that has to continue to be fought.” [People] think the world is so bad and so mean that they can’t do anything to change the world, but you should make sure that you never do anything bad or do anything intolerant yourself.”