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  • Writer's pictureAmanda Wang

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, depending on whose eyes…

When the everyday person uses search for beauty standards via the Google search engine, what might show up?


Usually, pictures of women from different cultural backgrounds—some with hourglass figures, some with thick lips, and others with pale smooth skin. Beauty standards vary for everyone based on factors that can include their respective cultural backgrounds The Oxford dictionary defines ‘beauty’ as “the quality of being pleasing to the senses or the mind.”

Fashion is a factor that is strongly influenced by the beauty standards in different countries. Although fashion trends may not be significant for everyone, it persists in holding a massive impact on society.

Some people believe that viral fashion trends develop from different beauty standards– inspiring new ways of dressing, while some experience a negative impact from the overwhelming standards that are vaguely generated by the fashion trends.


Rachel Hoffman, the Chief Clinical Officer at Real, emphasizes the effect of social media fashion trends and the negative impact they can create in one article, “Social media creates a false sense of unrealistic expectations and creates one standard for 'beauty' based on whatever goes viral on social media. The idea that certain images are 'perfect' is inherently the problem itself. We are taught by society, especially social media, that certain body types, fashions, and haircuts are the semblance of beauty.”


Stevenson, as an inclusive community of more than 100 international students from various countries like China, South Korea, Germany, etc., holds a variety of interpretations of this ‘beauty standard.’ As these students transfer from a school in their home country to the USA, they experience a culture change–a change in fashion trends and beauty standards.


A survey was sent out to collect the opinions of international students on beauty standards; many replied and formed a variety of responses. Wonjin Eum, a sophomore from Korea, discusses the beauty standard in her home country, “Big eyes, small faces, long hair, skinny body, etc…”. A junior, Vivian Kou, talks about beauty standards in China, “I think that the common Chinese beauty standard for women has an emphasis on lighter skin tones, with big eyes, high nose bridge, and a skinny body form.”


Although many students’ home countries hold some similar beauty standards, these influences do not affect how students define beauty standards. Some think that beauty standards in the US are more inclusive than in their home country. In contrast, others think that the beauty standards are different but still hold the same concept of ‘perfection’ with exact labeling for each body part, as Vivian Kou expresses: “The beauty standard of the USA for women has an emphasis on high cheekbones, thick lips, thick eyelashes, and a preference for a well-rounded figure.” Students vary in what is the best fit for them in fashion based on their understanding of beauty standards, “​​I rather feel more comfortable wearing clothes that I like also because people are so welcoming and diverse, even if it does not make me look skinny” (Zoey Jiang 25’). Stevenson provides students with an inclusive environment for them to dress in their own unique style from their home country, also creating an excellent atmosphere for a general US high school.


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