Image for illustrative purposes only Image Credit: Supplied

  • Beauty standards are set by society 
  • Readers discuss the different forces that affect beauty ideals

While many beauty standards are similar around the world, there are some that completely vary within different communities. While some might consider a slim, lean body more attractive, people of another region of the world might consider plumper body types more beautiful. Various aesthetic, biological and socioeconomic factors play a part in setting such ideals. Gulf News readers discuss

Financial stability

People follow groups who are considered well-off

It’s often said that beauty is in the eye of the beholder. However, we seldom consider the origins of the standards we perceive people with, how did we decide who is classified as beautiful and who, simply put, is not?

There are forces behind the standards of beauty and they may, to a certain extent correlate with socioeconomic basis however, there are other factors.

People within the higher class are perceived as beautiful due to their financial stability. However that is subject to people’s circumstances as well. It is all a mindset of what being financially comfortable and happy means to certain people.

Coming back to the birth of beauty standards now, the exponential growth of media has a massive impact on how we think. There were certain periods where rigorous advertising was made and the agenda that ‘the skinnier the better’ was pushed strongly into our community, during that time, everyone scrambled to look like the models idolized.

I think beauty standards are just trends nowadays its up to you whether you wish to hop on the train or keep moving at your own pace

Sarra Wissam Hamed

Pupil based in Dubai


Social patterns

Throughout history, social markers dictate beauty ideals

We often hear that beauty is subjective; cultures around the world have different notions of what would be considered beautiful. From fair skin to lean legs, fuller hips to longer hair, no facet is exempt from scrutiny but what factors determine beauty standards today?

The advancement of society, technology, and economies brought about changes to beauty standards around the globe. In the days before and during the Industrial Revolution, the socially dominant classes had better access to resources and thus were likely to have excess fat and they, therefore, became the conventions to strive for as they denoted power, fertility, and beauty. However, the models we see nowadays are far from this ideal. Most are tall, athletic, and lean, with symmetrical features and barely any hints of roundness.

The media plays a huge role in what we now deem acceptable. We are constantly being fed images of the ideal- from magazines to movie screens. Through observation of the media, it is more apt to say that the standards of people in positions of power or who are seen as influential are what affects beauty standards in each region.

Devmini Rodrigo

Pupil based in Dubai

Devmini Rodrigo
Devmini Rodrigo Image Credit: Supplied

Health comes first

People tend to follow what society sets

I do think that in certain parts of the world, beauty standards are impacted by socioeconomic factors. However, I also think that as times are changing, in addition to the notable increase of awareness of ethical and moral values, the impact of the socioeconomic values is getting less.

More emphasis is being put on how you present yourself in a community or how well groomed you are. These may be a result of the socioeconomic factors or simply because one enjoys grooming themselves as per their taste. Taste is mostly acquired in relation to your personality but your surroundings definitely play a role. It is also shocking to find that in some societies being of a certain weight is not only consider aesthetically pleasing but can also define your status. People are forgetting that beyond wealth and common society outlooks, health is always to be considered first. As an example of people in Bangladesh who think the heavier you are, the more wealth you have, may also fall into risk of cholesterol, diabetes and many other diseases. The level of danger could be the same about societies who consider being extremely thin is best.

Emaan Asad

Web developer based in Dubai.

Emaan Asad Image Credit: Supplied

Poll results

What are beauty standards set upon?

Aesthetics 49%

Socioeconomic force 51%

Have your say

What social forces create beauty standards?