Cultural constructions of beauty not only create the internal and external idea of what beauty is, but also the behavior of women, and their social and professional potential along with so much more.
Thinking about the question of what would happen to the lives of women if the cultural practice they have participated in, was suddenly outlawed, really resonated with me. I thought about the cultural beauty practice a religiously follow, shaving my underarms, and what it would mean to me if I could no longer legally practice that. The combination of northern European fair skin on one side and dark-haired ancestors on the other has landed me with translucent appearing white skin, and almost black hair. This is not an easy combination to have living in a culture that praises hairlessness everyone except the crown. Basically, I worship my razor and have made appointments to start laser treatments to permanently remove the hair under my arms. If I was suddenly no longer allowed to remove my underarm hair, I would be up in arms and furious, but I would also be so uncomfortable, I would only wear long sleeves no matter the temperature. Thinking about it a little deeper, and presuming I had already had the laser treatments, I would feel a real crisis of identity. I had taken a step towards what society praised, a hairless body, only to have the world around me suddenly turn upside down and condemn it. Previously I had fit in the fashionable and desirable body type, and had made a permanent change to my body to come closer to that, and now I would have done something then perceived as bad, undesirable and to be looked down on and prohibited. I would feel lost in my own home.
Beauty standards create so much of what we do, how we act, how we spend our money, how we modify our bodies. It also has a profound effect on the way we view ourselves, and how we orient ourselves and our role in the society we live in. It is how we understand how we are treated, how we expect to be treated, and the options we give ourselves.