Ashton Garrison begged her mother for liposuction when she was just seven years old.
Before she even reached high school, she recalled receiving waist trainers as gifts and even purchasing some for herself.
Additionally, she recalls the effect that viewing advertisements for weight loss goods had on her social media account. “I would cry to myself wondering why I couldn’t just take a pair of scissors and cut away my fat,” says Garrison.
At the age of 14, Garrison is aware that media representations of beauty, such as those that associate beauty with skinny, white females, have harmed her perception of beauty.
Although they had been taught the same norms, her classmates ridiculed her for her size and viewed her differently because she had darker skin and coarser hair.
Garrison, like many Americans, experienced the negative psychological impacts of not feeling good enough and sought solace in things like shapewear.
I used to always use a waist trainer, but I no longer do, she claims.
She is thankfully lot more accepting of herself now, but many Americans cannot say the same.damaging beauty standards’ price
According to Dove’s “The Real Cost of Beauty Ideals” report, Americans spent over $300 billion on beauty standards in 2019.
This sum covers the price of procedures like chemical hair straightening and skin bleaching.
The analysis, which examines the economic and societal costs of unhealthful beauty standards on Americans aged 10 and older, was created by Deloitte Access Economics under contract with Dove.
According to the survey, limited and unrealistic beauty norms are what are meant by unhealthy beauty ideals.
They frequently exclusively mirror white norms and lack variety in terms of various body kinds, ages, complexion tones, hair colors, and sizes.
“It [the report] assesses the number of people who have been impacted by dissatisfaction with their bodies and appearance-based discrimination, and then we look at all the impacts,” explains Simone Cheung, partner at Deloitte Access Economics and head of the Health Economics and Social Policy team in Sydney, Australia.
The costs associated with each of those impacts are then estimated separately.
The study found that 45 million Americans, or 16% of the country’s population, reported body dissatisfaction.
And across the board, discrimination based on looks and body dissatisfaction cost women the most money.
According to S. Bryn Austin, the report’s lead researcher and the founder of the Strategic Training Initiative for the Prevention and Treatment of Eating Disorders (STRIPED): A Public Health Incubator at the Harvard Chan School of Public Health, “Body dissatisfaction really gets to the core of how someone feels about themselves. “This can encompass their identity. When body dissatisfaction is severe and persistent, it raises the possibility that an individual will have eating disorders, depression, and anxiety. Additionally, it makes engaging in dangerous behaviors like substance abuse more likely.
minimizing the harm caused by unhealthy beauty standards
“Everyone truly bears the costs related to these effects. Therefore, it’s not only a one-time expense. Government, friends and family, companies, commercial health insurers, and society all pay a price for it, according to Cheung.
Therefore, everyone has a part to play in tackling the underlying causes that promote and disseminate detrimental beauty ideals while you’re thinking about investments.
According to the study, the following steps might be implemented to lessen the negative effects that damaging beauty standards have on America:
Since skinny white models and slender white actresses have long been the norm, it’s crucial to have that representation. Of certainly, no ill will against them,” adds Garrison.
“However, I believe it’s about time someone that resembles me or Lizzo showed up and came out in the open. more people who are plus-sized. And all brown girls come to mind. Girls of South Asian, Black, Indigenous, and Afro-Latino descent. Every huge, brown person deserves to feel beautiful and to be featured in the media.