Alyssa Woodard

Too many women know the unrealistic and burdensome beauty standards set by a beauty-obsessed world. In order to fit beauty standards, one must have the ‘perfect’ shape, ‘good’ hair, flawless skin and have perfected the ‘no-makeup’ makeup look.

In my opinion, this is the most difficult skill I’ve ever attempted to master. I can never seem to get the foundation-to-skin ratio just right.

College-age women especially are in their prime years of combating the ever-present pressure of beauty standards. These expectations have proven, in many cases, to do more harm than good. Not only do they not uplift women, but they also create tension and competition between women to ‘one-up’ each other.

In general, however not necessarily, college ages range from 18-22 years old. Get your degree by any means necessary, sis. A woman never tells her age, anyway.

These are relatively young women, some right on the other side of hallways filled with lockers and prom, who are battling insecurities when it comes to their warped self-image the world has inflicted upon them.

Freshman Lauren Carson says, “Personally I believe that they’re (beauty standards) messed up. Not only are they degrading and downright objectifying, they weren’t even made to fit every woman. For black women they aren’t practical. These standards weren’t fit to uplift or glorify the features of black women like myself.”

Carson was unmistakably bothered by the topic.

Carson goes on to say, “I think that my mom always taught me that I was a reflection of her, and looking presentable is not something I think about consciously anymore. I was raised to always look my best, even without makeup when I leave home.”

Some women, myself included, have created the habit of being unconsciously hyper-aware of their appearances, often inconveniencing themselves by waking up earlier to do their makeup before going out and, in extreme cases, sometimes to places as mundane as grocery stores.

Carson continues, “Once a week, I try to at least do my eyebrows for class. I usually put on makeup when I’m in good spirits — so then I'll say, ‘let me get up and put myself together,’ which I feel that I shouldn’t be like that. Maybe if I made an effort to look good even when I’m feeling bad it might give me a good start to my day.”

I can personally relate to this statement.

Often times it’s rare that I wear makeup to class. This is mostly attributed to the fact that I wake up a mere 20 minutes before my class is scheduled to start. I digress, I consider it my motto that “when you look good, you feel good,” meaning when I make the effort to look presentable according to my standards, I notice an improvement in my overall mood and productivity.

I introduced Carson to this motto, and these are her thoughts.

“I really like that statement partially because you taught it to me. I like it especially because personally I’ve been going through a lot lately, and the reassurance that I look good makes me feel accomplished because it's like, well, even though I feel bad at least I checked one thing off this imaginary to-do list.”

Hopefully in the near future, women can come together in order to continue to demolish beauty standards. With artists like Lizzo promoting body positivity and Billie Eilish proving that she is more than her physical assets through her specific clothing choices, this goal isn’t far off.

Alyssa Woodard is a freshman in exploratory studies. She can be reached at alydwood@vols.utk.edu.

Columns and letters of The Daily Beacon are the views of the individual and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Beacon or the Beacon's editorial staff.

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