15 Impossible "Beauty Standards" That We Need To Stop Holding Women And Girls To

    "My neighbor had her daughter start shaving her legs and ARMS at SEVEN years old because 'she's Italian.' I was so appalled."

    Recently, I rounded up some of the most ridiculous modern beauty standards that people think society needs to let go of. In the comments, members of the BuzzFeed Community shared even more impossible expectations that people — especially women and girls — are sick of being told are "standard."

    Here are 15 of their top responses:

    1. "The idea that women over 30 should try to keep up with the clothing and beauty trends the girls in their teens and 20s are into."

    Three women dressed in fashionable clothing take a selfie, one wearing a lace top, another in a suit, and the third in a silky blouse

    "If you want to, go ahead, but if we all look back at our moms when they were in their 30s, their clothes, makeup, and hairstyles were kind of outdated and 'uncool.' I'm not 25 anymore, and I want to wear what I want to wear, whether it's trendy or not!"


    2. "The push to look your cutest at the gym, especially with matching workout sets."

    Woman in workout attire on a stationary bike, with focus and determination on her face

    "I’ll just wear my old leggings and T-shirts, thanks."


    3. "To the people [who say] you can 'opt out' [of beauty standards] — good in theory, but there are people holding you to some of these standards. Ask any woman of color in particular about their experiences with 'standards' regarding their hair and their employment status, for example."

    On "Mixed-ish," Alicia tells her kids she changes her hair every day for work

    "Opt out? Where are we gonna work? (Particularly, but not limited to when you're starting out.) Because 'opting out' means cutting the pool of jobs to an even smaller number of possibilities.

    Black girls learn this very young. It's why my first few paychecks went to haircare as a teen. You don't have a choice when you're literally told your well-maintained natural hair is 'wild' and could be more 'professional.'  It is certainly not unique to me. Most Black women have heard similar things at some point in their lives.

    (Women, in general have this problem regarding their looks. I do think it's heightened for POC who don't fall within the 'normal standards' of beauty, however.)"


    4. "I get asked all the time if I'm going to cover my gray. I'm nearly 60. I've earned my gray. But now I see where, being older, I'm treated very differently. Like, 'Wait, you were younger once?'"

    Miranda Priestly from 'The Devil Wears Prada' rests chin on hand, showing off large ring, with a contemplative expression

    "Well, hell yeah, and I did things you only dream of."


    5. "I call [it] 'pretty fat' — big butt, big boobs, and big thighs. If you got a gut and not a butt, you are 'ugly fat.'"

    Woman in hat expressing disbelief with phrase "That's ridiculous" on screen

    "As is painfully obvious for those of us who are NOT 'pretty fat,' it's frustrating and so disheartening."


    6. "My neighbor had her daughter start shaving her legs and ARMS at SEVEN years old because 'she's Italian.' I was so appalled."

    Eleanor Shellstrop is appalled

    "Please don't instill these [wild] ideas in your children."


    "An ex-friend of mine started shaving her daughter's legs for her at age 10, not because said daughter wanted to shave her legs and asked for help, but because my ex-friend saw hair on her legs and insisted she shave it off. This poor kid didn't care at all about leg hair until her mom-shamed her for it and made her remove it. Fuck. That. Noise."


    7. "I worked in the beauty industry for over ten years, specifically selling cosmetic products. Believe me, I have some stories! But after thousands of interactions with mainly women, one of the things that has stuck with me is how many times I would have a customer come in to try makeup or get a service and APOLOGIZE for not wearing makeup or looking 'put together.'"

    Caption reads "Forgive my appearance" with a glowing-eyed woman in vintage attire on screen

    "I would then proceed to reassure them that I was not judging, and what's the point of trying makeup if you already had it on? Ladies, we need to stop apologizing for being our authentic selves and nip this whole beauty standard in the ass once and for all!"


    8. "It's not just teens, it's KIDS who are 9, 10, 11 following [ridiculous] TikTok trends. It's common for teens to experiment with skincare, but no 9-year-old should be buying jade rollers, tightening serums, and honestly, no one under 30 needs any damn wrinkle cream."

    Cassie from Euphoria intensely using a rose quartz roller

    "I have seen some shorts on YouTube where there are 11- and 12-year-olds showing off their skincare routines, and they are using ten products and taking 45 minutes. It's honestly sick, and I feel that we've gone backward as a society and have failed if literal CHILDREN feel like they have to have perfect skin and hundreds of dollars worth of skincare. Parents: stop buying your kids this shit, too. No 9-year-old needs a $45 hydrochloric acid face mask, for fuck's sake."


    9. "My very good friend won't be seen with short sleeves because she doesn't like her arms and will only exit her apartment if her hair and make-up are perfect. SHE IS 94 YEARS OLD."

    Kate McKinnon as an older lady with glasses wearing a floral shirt, sweater vest, and pearl necklace in a kitchen set

    "When does this ridiculousness end?!?"


    10. "The idea of girls needing to not have scars! It makes me hate having to wear ankle socks when it's hot outside because I have scars on my ankles from surgery I had so I could walk better."

    Woman in a patterned cardigan stands at a classroom desk, appearing distressed and sweating profusely


    11. "When I was a girl, my grandmother said I had perfect legs because, in her time, you should be able to hold a knife between your thighs. That was a beauty standard at one time."

    Katy Perry is appalled


    12. "Silver hair is now 'cool' on a woman, but I am 50, and my hair isn't going gray or silver, just getting to be a more dull, dishwater brown/blonde. So apparently, I'm not even aging in the right, trendy way."

    Woman with short blonde hair in a patterned top makes an expressive gesture on a news set


    13. "You can be fat, but in addition to being ~proportional~, you also have to have a skinny face. Absolutely no double chin."

    Woman  with dark hair and bangs rolling her eyes


    14. "It's all so very true, and shoved in our faces from such a young age. At Christmas, I worked at a Santa's Grotto, and one little girl, when Santa asked what her hobbies and interests were, said 'skincare.' She was eight. EIGHT."

    Girl applies skincare cream, looking at mirror, reflecting beauty routine


    "There are acne products made for teens. I used anti-acne products as a teen, and that's fine. What these kids don't need is expensive eye cream, retinol, spot correctors, etc., that have active ingredients intended for adult skin."


    15. And finally: "I follow an ex-coworker on IG who has young daughters — like seven and five years old — and in every picture of the daughters she posts, they both have a *full-face* of makeup on. And it's been like that for several years, for the older one especially."

    Toddler dressed up for a pageant with makeup, looking exasperated, text overlay: "I can't, no, no I'm not doing that, I'm sorry"

    "The mother wears a full-face of makeup too, and while there is no problem with grown women wearing makeup (it's your face, girl, do what you want), I am so distressed by these extremely young girls growing up thinking the only way they look 'pretty' is to wear copious amounts of makeup.

    (Disclaimer: I am not a mom, but I also don't envy parents having to talk to kids about makeup and body image and all that in today's social environment.)"


    What other beauty standards are you sick and tired of? What advice would you give others who feel pressured to conform to them? Share your thoughts in the comments!

    Note: Some responses have been edited for length/clarity.

    The National Alliance on Mental Illness helpline is 1-888-950-6264 (NAMI) and provides information and referral services; GoodTherapy.org is an association of mental health professionals from more than 25 countries who support efforts to reduce harm in therapy.