What does beauty mean to you? (Then answer 3-4 more of the questions below): What were the dominant beauty "ideals" in the community where you are from or grew up? What is represented in the U.S. media, or from your birth place, to represent "beauty"?
Beauty to me means loving and accepting of myself and others. In the context of our appearance, natural beauty is what I call beauty however, some people feel the need to put on makeup or alter themselves in order to look beautiful. That is also beauty, but that doesn’t resonate with me as much. I don’t feel the need to do those and I feel like people shouldn’t either because that is what everyone is born and gifted with. I grew up not caring much about my appearance however, as I get older I feel very self-conscious about my appearance right now. The dominant beauty ideals from where I grew up was that you had to have blemish free skin much like a clear glass skin, small pointy nose, a v line face shape with a tall and skinny body. What also makes women attractive was the fact that you needed to have obvious breasts, curvy hips and small calves and thighs. And one last touch is wearing colored contacts that make the appearance of the eyes look bigger, looking like a real life doll. Having muscles don’t make an individual attractive and so many Taiwanese women would massage their legs after a walk to make them slim. Based on my experience of having been back to Taiwan so often, I would see so many gaming ads with women or virtual characters in it. Many would be seen with very revealing and scandalous outfits that are skin tight and their cleavage will show. They have a small v line face with big doll eyes. Essentially, when you see so many of these gaming ads and posters that are plastered everywhere, everyone looks very similar if not the same. Everyone wants to be like that, be beautiful like the women on ads so they can be recognized.
Did dominant ideals of beauty in your country and/or community influence the way you felt about your own body and appearance? Explain.
How are beauty standards different for men vs. womxn in the U.S. and/or another country you wish to discuss?
The dominant ideals of beauty have influenced the way I felt about my own body and appearance because essentially they are now the standard that I feel like I need to live up to. Being in a long distance relationship with someone who lives in Taiwan is a bit of a struggle. Although there are some slight similarities of ideals of beauty between America and Taiwan, I feel the need to look a certain way in order to look good to impress my significant other. I am torn between which ideals I should look like but more importantly; I have become more self-conscious of my beauty image. This wasn’t a problem for me growing up, but as I go back to my own country, I sometimes feel a bit manly. There are many women on the street that look thin and attractive. I am thin too, but I have lean muscles and not enough fat. And so, many of the times, I feel muscular compared to many women and it makes me feel not so attractive. I also have problematic skin and it becomes worse when I go back. I feel the need to cover my face because it is not small and pointy like many others and I have acne issues that I know would immediately attract people’s eyes. Having to compare myself to the ideal beauty and what I see on the streets of Taiwan, it makes me not want to go out because I don’t have the confidence anymore. There would always be a clash in my mind, do I want to be thinner like those girls on the street or should I put on some healthy weight that is praised in the American beauty standard. Like Dalali Bright from the TedTalk, I had multiple cultural clashes in defining beauty in my mind.
There is an obvious difference in the beauty standards for men and women in Taiwan. Much from what I physically see, observed, told by friends and have watched from talk show clips online, men in Taiwan need to be built. A lot of women said that their ideal men should be tall and built. They want a masculine significant other that can take the lead and give them a sense of security. On the other hand, men want women who are shorter than them, skinny and very feminine. A lot of Taiwanese men like women who are innocent, don’t know much and are very oblivious and so this would give men a sense of masculinity and responsibility leading them to believe and have a possessive feeling that “this woman is mine”. Both genders have very countering standards which I believe is very common across other countries and cultures. However, the intensity of the beauty standards in Taiwan differs from the beauty standards in U.S. primarily because they like their woman to be petite.
By: Liya Chang