Beauty is such a malleable definition for me, the way I viewed beauty today is very different from the way I viewed beauty 5 months and 5 years ago, and I am sure that 5 months or 5 years from now, my view today will be outdated for my future self.
Growing up as a first generation American in a home and environment with Cambodian refugees, my cultural upbringing swung towards traditional Cambodian views and beliefs. In Cambodia, the media only focused on white (light-skinned), thin women with thick, long and jet black hair. These women were the face plastered in the movies, music videos and billboards all around the country, a country working its way to recover from the very recent genocide. As someone who lived in the United States growing up, what I saw in the media here in the US and in Cambodia, these unrealistic standards of beauty strayed far off what I was seeing when I looked at myself in the mirror. As someone who did NOT look anything like what was seen in the media, the way other people viewed me really influenced the way I felt about my own body and appearance for a long time. Being no more than 10 years old and having aunties and uncles during family gatherings to tell me to stay out of the sun, eat less and play more really affected my self esteem and how I viewed myself for a very long time. Like Delali Bright’s Cultural Clashes in Defining Beauty Ted Talk, I was put on strict diets and was giving strict schedules on when to eat, how much to eat in order to maintain/work on the way I was rapidly gaining weight as a kid. When Bright said “I realized I let other people's opinions determined my joys and sorrows based on what the two cultures defined as beauty” I could really relate to her, this is how I felt at the age of about 13, when I realized that although I did not fit the narrative of the girls and women that I see in the media in the United States and Cambodia, I was my own type of beautiful. I am still finding it hard to completely love and accept myself for who I am, and I do think that it will take me awhile to do so, but I am so glad that I am working in the direction of acceptance and self love. There is no one standard of beauty, beauty is everywhere.
Bright, D. (n.d.). Retrieved February 3, 2020, from https://www.ted.com/talks/delali_bright_cultural_clashes_in_defining_beauty?utm_campaign=tedspread&utm_medium=referral&utm_source=tedcomshare
West , L. (2016). Are you there, Margaret, It's Me a Person Who is Not a Complete Freak. In Shrill: Notes from a Loud Woman.