The Specific Appearance Expectations of Women in Our Society



Beauty… a noun used in both a positive and a negative way in society. In today’s world, such things revolve around social media, specifically aiming towards women. Not a day goes by where I don’t hear a young woman say, “I want that nose” or “I want Kylie Jenner’s body.” Just like how Bethany wants to appear like Carla in Beauty. If one looks up on YouTube “The specific appearance expectations among women,” the first few videos you’ll see is men rating women on their appearance. Judgmental personas and today’s society with social media are the ones setting such expectations towards women. These expectations for women include; plastic surgeries, specific clothing, using skin care products to appear younger, wearing makeup. The reasoning is because women want to have better treatment, an easier lifestyle, and fulfillment of self care. Through diligent research, women do have specific expectations on how to appear in our society do to wanting to fit in on today’s norms.  

Plastic surgery has been happening for a long period of time. It was first meant to help those with disfiguring body features, however it has turned into a new exception for women to gain new opportunities and acceptance within today’s society. Ashley Mears, a sociology professor, says that women must “have a certain type of ratified beauty in order to even get into a high-ended party.” Which actually relates into what Bethany was saying in Beauty when she said “It’s the nasty secret at large in the world. It’s the unspoken tidal desire in every room and every street”. When Bethany said this she was mentioning how beauty is a large expectation in acceptance in society for women. However, Carla did mention she had to get some work done. When arguing with Bethany she said that she’s “The one who had to have a nose job”. Many women are willing to be the young Kardashians of today, when in the end, are creating a false fantasy on how a woman should appear just to feel accepted. The double standard between men and women beauty is also a specific expectation that women today need to deal with. There is no research needed to prove that inequality between both men and woman has been occurring for centuries. One inequality specifically being when it comes to who wears what. In my personal experience, prior to this pandemic, many young girls would be dressed coded within school property. Meaning if a girl was to wear a tank top that isn’t appropriate she will be given an opportunity to change or go to detention, however if a boy would have been wearing a similar tank top that student would of just be given a pat on the back. Giving the expectation of women to learn how to cover up, or dress appropriately. 

Yet, there are other circumstances in which a woman is forced to look better than a man, in a way to perceive as a younger woman. A situation like this occurred in Fox News when it created a conflict in which two anchors “some older man who’s wrinkling and graying and might not have the most fit physique, next to a woman who’s 20 years younger, completely perfect, and coiffed” (citation). This is being referred to as the “symbolic annihilation for older women” (citation). In other words, the new young is the new old. Skin care products are being marketed resulting in “few representations of women showing visible signs of age” (citation). Bethany in Beauty relates to this by saying “Beauty is the real deal. You are the center of any moment of your life”. This relates to this topic because this has been going on trend since the 70’s, and as the years go by the products improve. Therefore, no matter at what point in life you are in there are products in which one can still perceive as young or appear beautiful. 

Finally, another appearance expectation towards women is wearing makeup. Growing up in a strict culture, wearing makeup was something that had to be worn by women. If not, one would have been downgraded as a woman and wouldn’t appear appropriate towards others. Year after year, family members would buy me makeup, when in reality it will end up in my closest. Bethany in Beauty actually mentions to Carla that she has seen her “get offered discounts on makeup for no reason”. This shows how Carla’s beauty gives her a better treatment compared to Bethany. However it also shows how both of the women feels the need that makeup is important when it comes to beauty. This type of self-care has been suspected to plummet in popularity within this pandemic, but if anything the “beauty industry has been going up” (citation). The reasoning behind this is because aren’t “comfortable letting go” (citation), just how in Beauty when Bethany wasn’t confident on how she appeared. As a result, many women in real life are so used to the norm of wearing makeup prior to the pandemic that they feel expected to continue on wearing such products by society.

In conclusion, they are specific expectations for women when it comes to physical attributes. Those physical expectations include but not limited to: plastic surgeries, clothing, using skin care products to appear younger, and wearing makeup. Such expectations have been placed on women for centuries for reasons such as better treatment, easier lifestyle, and a fulfillment in self-care. Women have been treated unequally compared to men, now they have been objectified by men to appear “more beautiful” just so they receive the same treatment as them. With being treating equally things in life comes easier to them. Overall, such women have been objectified to feel like they be beautiful by today’s society with social media platforms, judgmental men to fulfill their pleasure, and conservative family members.