We live in a time where there’s a difference between being cute, sexy, or cute and sexy.
A time where a lot of us tend to claim that it wasn’t until we got older that we became “hot.”
Where the beauty standard for women tends to be beige- to apricot-colored skin, straight hair with bumped up artificial curls, being between the heights of 5’7 to 5’9, a flat stomach, and some makeup. Where we, as people, tend to have our own subjective meaning of what’s attractive – whether while looking at people romantically or even in a platonic way.
So, seriously, what does it mean to be attractive? Who was the first to say what was attractive and what wasn’t?
When I was younger and dealing with low self-esteem issues, I did not find myself pretty – let alone “attractive.” Come late middle school and early high school, I felt a lot more pretty – though I didn’t necessarily feel “attractive” unless I had a nice dress and some makeup. I eventually believed I was beautiful, even without makeup, but I did not know whether or not I constituted as attractive – especially without makeup.
Was I supposed to know? Were some just “born with it”? Was wanting to be attractive a shallow thing to want?
You have designers and specialists out there who tell you the correct way to dress your body type, the best hair products you have to use to maintain your hair, the right amount of exercise to get the figure you want to transform into, and the products to use to help your skin glow – whatever that is supposed to mean.
But why do they get to constitute what we have to do in order to be attractive?
Although I keep thinking and rethinking about the things that perpetuate our need to conform to a standard that can either be difficult or impossible to achieve with the expectations we and others set upon ourselves and each other, I actually want to point out how standards have been shifting in a positive way.
We have more plus-sized models getting hired, more dark-skinned women on Cosmo covers, and there are even cases where women with disabilities have well-done photo shoots. Sure, there’s still the normalcy of airbrush technology vs. the question of whether or not this shift will stay or disappear (as trends do), but they’re all still steps in the right direction about changing the course of thought about attractiveness.
Do I view myself as attractive now?
I guess it depends on the day, how well my hair is able to stay put, or what I feel good wearing. Hopefully, we can all come to a place where the standard of attractiveness is either more internal than external – or it’s a standard that will disappear – just like trends do.