You can hardly go on the internet these days without people complaining about “unrealistic beauty/body standards” and how society expects them to look like “the ideal.” My question to that is who? Who expects you to look “ideal?” Has anyone who wasn’t a complete jackass ever come up to you and told you that you need to work harder at looking exactly like a magazine cover model? That you’ll never get married or find a partner or achieve happiness without being a size 0 with 6 pack abs, pearly white teeth, and a perfect 0.7 waist to hip ratio?
The media likes to shove it in your face that you don’t look like that. But the media is not society. Yes, most people find those models attractive. That’s why they’re on magazine covers, on TV, in movies, in ads, etc. “The ideal” is sexy, and sex sells. But your average Jane/Joe does not actually expect you to look like that. In fact, complete strangers aren’t likely to notice much about you at all unless you’re purposely doing something to stand out.
You know what average people expect? They expect you to look average. Today, that means around 166lbs for a woman and 195lbs for a man. When looking for a mate, people are more likely to look for someone similar to them. People are intimidated by other people they deem to be “out of their league.” So average people are looking for average mates, even if they secretly hope for more.
Beauty standards these days are not really all that unrealistic. And by standards, I mean what real people expect you to look like in day to day life. Brush your hair. Wear clean, matching clothes that are appropriate to the situation. Don’t stink. Be a healthy weight/slightly overweight. Those are all pretty reasonable. There are some that are exclusive to women that some people may find unreasonable, like wearing makeup, shaving your legs, or plucking your eyebrows. That’s perfectly fine. If you don’t want to do those things, don’t. You’ll be attractive to some and unattractive to others, just like you will be if you do anything else with your appearance. You can’t please everyone, so stop trying to.
My point is, society as a whole, society as in the real people who are part of it, does not expect you to look or be perfect. You do not have to emulate what’s on a magazine cover. You also cannot bend the preferences of society to your own will. Determine your own personal ideal for yourself, and work towards that. Focus your energy on what’s important to you and stop worrying about what’s important to other people.