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Students need to redefine beauty standards

Beauty standards are both challenged and amplified by social media. As our generation moves to adapt to new standards, we should be moving towards individualistic expression and self love, not a cookie cutter template of “beauty” | Photo by Fiona Legesse


In a superficial world where standards for beauty are impossibly high, college students may struggle to live up to the ever-changing, pre-conceived ideals set forth by society. This impacts students’ perceptions of their bodies, causes depression and isolation, and lowers self-esteem.

What constitutes beauty? Is beauty defined by what society deems attractive?

The development of appearance-altering makeup routines, created by online beauty gurus and popularized by impressionable young women, says it all: there’s a distinct difference between a desire to look put-together and a desire to conform to societal beauty standards.

For students, appearance is important, but often takes a backseat to comfort and practicality. While students want to look good, they do not necessarily want to go to the lengths to adhere to society’s beauty standards.

“I come to campus in tights and a T-shirt and I feel great,” said English sophomore Grace Smith. “Comfort is more important, and when you’re comfortable you feel good, you feel beautiful. It’s just seeing yourself that way, like yeah I’m pretty and I don’t need makeup to make me feel that way.”

Beauty means something different to everyone. It can mean a wide range of things, not only physical beauty.

The definition of beauty means something different for everyone and extends beyond the physical.

“I feel beautiful in my hijab. I don’t wear a lot of makeup, but for me I don’t need it,” said marketing senior Maria Usmani. “I think that superficial beauty is advertised so much that we’ve just started to believe that that’s all there is. We need to look like this to be a part of that trend, and that’s not true.”

The decision to determine one’s own beauty and self-worth, independent of societal standards, allows students to be less critical of their appearances.

Students have the power to redefine societal beauty standards by making the choice to realize their beauty independent of outside influences.

Coming to campus, you’re exposed to different people, ideas and influences. You’re in a place where everyone has their own story, people have a background and we’re all just trying to fit in. Each of us has a socially constructed view about how we “should” see ourselves, but it’s up to us. We should redefine that and choose to set our own standards.

Coming to campus, students are exposed to a variety of people, ideas and influences. Each individual has a socially constructed view of how one ought to see themselves, but in the end, it’s up to us. We need to redefine beauty and choose to set our own standards.

Contributing writer Laraib Hashmi is a senior journalism major and can be reached at [email protected].

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