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Dominique Lee

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How do we make a societal change to provide healthy body image and self-esteem in a culture that pushes unrealistic beauty norms on youth?

I've been researching positive body image and self-esteem works and wonder if as a culture we are able to provide a realistic portrayal of what beauty is in our youth and young women? Or are we setting them up with unrealistic expectations and failure? Are we rejecting those who do not fit in those cultural beauty standards? What are your thoughts? How can we make a difference?


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    Feb 8 2013: This is a good question, and one that has been bothering me for some time.

    But I'd like to ask you - why is your question about beauty norms of youth? Why not older people too? At what age do we cease to be beautiful?

    I find the idea of beauty judged exclusively on outward physical appearance very strange indeed, because beauty of mind can easily override any physical characteristic that falls outside any modern idea of it. Beauty of mind also isn't age-specific. An older person can thus be far more beautiful that any young person who spends every waking moment preening themselves in front of a mirror.

    But there's a dilemma here in current trends of how beauty is defined and displayed. Although controversial and subjective to say so, it seems that ugliness is now the new beautiful in the things we own. We buy ugly cars, own ugly dogs, live in ugly houses with walls adorned with what is laughingly called 'art'.

    I can only suggest that if what I've said is true, then beauty seems to have moved from depth to shallowness; from the enduring to the temporary - with a kind of timidity of being anything other than youthful.

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