Build-A-Bear! A one-time experience to create your ideal bear with a wide variety of different eye colours, body shapes, and audio phrases. ‘Build-A-Bear’ can help you build the perfect companion! Women are not ‘Build-A-Bears.’ She cannot be custom-made to meet the ‘ideal’ women’s blueprint where others can pick and choose her eye colour, body shape, or what she can and not say. She is created with flaws and should be embraced by all.

Society has always created unrealistic expectations about how a person should appear, and now with social media platforms, the beauty standards are even narrower: model-like figure, fair skin, oval face with a straight nose, large eyes, and the list goes on.

The cosmetics industry has a huge role when it comes to obtaining facial beauty standards. Many will argue that the cosmetic industry has looked past these standards and are now more focused on the creative potential of using makeup, such as glamorous tutorials and/or cosplayed inspired looks. However, the majority of cosmetic consumers use makeup to conceal their daily blemishes and facial imperfections.

Women of all ages who wear makeup admit doing so impacts their everyday lives.”I wear makeup because I was self-conscious and was ashamed of my acne. I felt the need to wear makeup because I wanted to be included in conversations and what product is popular at the time,” said a young woman who chose to remain anonymous.  Psychologically: the fear of can lead to an emotional response to the thought of being ignored or unpopular. Social exclusion could also lead to mental issues for any young woman, such as low self-esteem, depression, anxiety, and social withdrawal.

In some countries, the pressure to conform to a beauty standard is intense. South Korea has a booming beauty industry that encourages young women as young as 16 years of age to undergo plastic surgery. The most popular surgeries consist of double eyelids, eye-widening, rhinoplasty, forehead augmentation and jaw reduction. This cultural norm may sound nonsensical to foreigners, but it shows how Korean women are willing to risk their health and possibly their lives to feel socially acceptable. However, by doing so, they may acquire, what some believe to be the perfect lifestyle: a perfect job, financial stability, marriage or the perfect spouse. It is astonishing how their appearance can measure the value of a person.

Online media, specifically Instagram, has a vast beauty/makeup community. Even though most of the makeup trends are light-hearted, every so often, there will be an influencer who wants a change in our society for a better cause, such as making a statement through makeup challenges, personal stories, Instagram vs. Reality, and unmasking their facial features. They are powerful trends but they have also caused controversy, such as the ‘Beauty Transformation.’ The videos show a series of attractive women removing coloured eye contacts, wig, false eyelashes, nose sharpening, etc. thus exposing actual facial features that are drastically dissimilar from the beginning. Controversy about these beauty transformations from one perspective shows how unrealistic the beauty standards are, many will think these women chose to hide their imperfections because they do not ‘fit’ into society’s beauty standards. “Makeup is a type of art expression. If this is what makes you confident, then you should wear it. But if you are using makeup all the time as a way to trick yourself or somebody else, then maybe it’s doing more harm than good, and you start to love a false reality,” said a Riverside student who chose to stay anonymous.
The CNN Style guest-star Selena Gomez explained her thoughts on the pressures to be perfect. “It wasn’t easy for me to open with the fact that I was struggling with depression and anxiety. I felt like there was pressure to be perfect, as so many people looked up to me. But after I decided to seek help and be open about what I was feeling, it was such a relief. I think admitting I am a human being and not perfect was more beneficial to the people that looked up to me.” It is shocking to hear celebrities, who seem to have it all, such as Selena Gomez also face these issues.

It is unattainable for women to achieve the ‘ideal’ women’s blueprint of how society wants them to appear. It should not be our number one priority to constantly think about what others might say or think of us because, in the end, everything we do to ourselves is for our gain and happiness and not for anyone else. Glennon Doyle once said, “When a woman finally learns that pleasing the world is impossible, she becomes free to learn how to please herself.”