american beauty standards

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For years now, we’ve talked about the unrealistic beauty standards forced upon us by the media and our culture. And for years now, campaign and corporations have worked to break down those standards so we can all love the body and beauty we have. It seems to me that we might be getting a little closer every day.

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Beauty standards are not just body types but also include skin tones. We’ve seen an uptrend in creating options for all skin tones and types in recent months, thank you Rihanna, and we can expect more companies to get on board with the new paradigm. Body inclusion is still a little behind the times, but I believe it’s catching up.

Campaigns like, I’m no Angel by Lane Bryant are empowering, but they don’t feel inclusive to me. I still get a feeling of them and us. Dove did a better job with its Real Beauty campaign, but the 2014 marketing campaign aimed at starting (or continuing) the conversation on what it means to be beautiful can only penetrate so much on its own. Dove doesn’t have standalone retail stores or specific marketing ads on the shelves. You go to the store and by Dove deodorant off the shelf like any other brand. Once the viral huff died down, only a few people remembered the campaign.

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european beauty standards

Changing the beauty standard, if we want to get serious about it, requires a more significant market saturation and for the first time, I see some of that at the retail giant, Target. I’ll admit I don’t shop at the big retailers often, but I was impressed when I walked into a Target last week. The store had recently reorganized itself and swimsuit department, which at my Target is the first department you see, features real-sized mannequins. The oddity of it instantly struck me. 

We’re all so used to seeing size “0” bikinis hanging off the emaciated forms of store displays that when we see something else, we feel something like confusion at first. Hopefully, the excitement is soon replaced with a knowing smile and appreciation for what Target is trying to do – make me and all other body types feel welcome in this world.

Throughout the store, I found not a separation of body types but displays that show how the clothes looked on all types of people. I was so impressed by the inclusion that I stopped to look through the clearance racks. Maybe there’d be a gem for me too.