Beauty standards have always been important in our lives. But in the United States, they have taken on an entirely new level of importance. Over the years, what the public perceives as attractive and desirable has shifted drastically, reflecting the changing values of our nation.

From the era of Television until present day, these American beauty standards have been ever changing. It has become commonplace for people to ask themselves questions such as, “What is the perfect body shape?” or “What features make someone attractive?”

These are valid questions to ask, as the American beauty standard has such an immense impact on how we view ourselves and how we interact with our peers. Therefore, it’s important to gain an understanding of the history and current state of the American beauty standard.

So in this article, we have discussed what are the American beauty standards. We’ve also included other information about American beauty standards such as how it affect girls, the older generation of American women, and more.

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What is the body beauty standard in America?

Most people in America view beauty as having a certain body shape or size. A slender figure and toned muscle are seen as essential attributes, while curves, body fat, and cellulite are frowned upon.

Women are often encouraged to stay thin and youthful looking with a small waist, long legs, and flawless skin. Men, on the other hand, are encouraged to be strong and muscular, with a slender figure, broad shoulders, and a deep, sonorous voice.

There’s no denying that beauty standards in the US are heavily centered around what’s ‘normal’, and this leaves out those who don’t fit into this mainstream idea. Despite an important shift in recent years towards embracing diverse body types and self-love, there’s still a long way to go before American beauty standards reflect the real diversity of the population.

What is the American height beauty standard?

According to fashion pundits and current trends, the average height for a female American is 5’ 8” while the average height for a male is 5’ 11”. Even more, tall individuals are seen as more powerful, desirable, and attractive.

This height standard implies that those who are shorter or do not conform to this ideal may be viewed as inferior or seen as lacking confidence. Consequently, women and men aspiring to be the “ideal” have been manipulated into believing that being tall is an essential component of beauty.

When did beauty standards start in America?

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It is believed that the idea of beauty standards in America began in the 1800s, when the Industrial Revolution and urbanization created a heightened sense of competition. The concept of fashion, with lavish and expensive clothing, gained traction during this time.

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Women were expected to look neat, tidy, and stylish as a measure of their character and social standing. At the start of the twentieth century, beauty standards transformed to reflect something closer to the iconic ‘flapper’ era when thin figures, shorter hair, and slimmer silhouettes were en vogue.

The media, particularly Hollywood, had a significant influence on the spread of these ideals. By the 1940s, American beauty standards shifted to the more feminine ideals associated with World War II. This included evidence of femininity such as curves and a more orderly presentation.

These ideals lasted for decades, until the 1980s when thinness became the normative beauty ideal in America. While in the 1990s, the media invited diverse representations of beauty, although these were still largely subjected to thinness as the body ideal.

What were the 80s American beauty standards?

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The 1980s were a wild ride in terms of fashion, makeup, and hairstyles. The idea of the “perfect body” often changed according to popular trends. The biggest 80s American beauty standards revolved around the notion of physical health and fitness, achieved often through diets, exercise, and tanning.

This concept of having a “perfect body” manifested itself through thin waistlines, toned arms, and muscular legs — all with a glowing, bronze complexion. For women, long and voluminous hair was also a major trend, with many opting for perms and other styles to create lift and depth.

As for makeup, women loved bright colors, feathered lashes, and glossy lips – all the perfect way to show off their natural beauty.

What were the beauty standards in America in the 1990s?

The 1990s had a definitive beauty ideal that celebrated slim bodies, big hair and white features. It became an era that most refer to as the “supermodel era”. The trend in America at this point was to be tall and thin, with minimal curves.

Neither men nor women wore any type of body-covering clothing; instead, cropped tops, tight jeans and mini-skirts were popular. These styles, combined with the athletic trend, made being slim the ultimate beauty goal.

The emphasis on being thin and having minimal curves was intense, as evidenced by models and celebrities like Kate Moss, who were praised for their androgynous figures.

Hair was another essential factor of beauty standards in the US during the 90s. Large, bouncy curls, as well as poker-straight hair, were both popular. This created a standard of long, healthy-looking hair.

These beauty standards weren’t just for women; men, too, had to have a certain look to fit the time.

What were the beauty standards in 1920s America?

In the 1920s, the American beauty standards were shaped by the glamour of Hollywood, the rise of consumerism, and the changing roles of women in society. Women were expected to be well groomed and were encouraged to attempt to beautify themselves with cosmetics and fashion choices.

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The beauty standards of the 1920s didn’t only focus on physical appearance. Women were encouraged to project confidence and fun-loving attitudes in order to appeal to the other sex.

The 1920s beauty standards also glorified white supremacy, with the “American girl” described as having a slender figure with blue eyes, blonde hair, and porcelain skin.

In the case of men, the 1920s standard focused on style and attire. The characteristic “modern man” of the flapper era was characterized by a debonair sense of dress and a fashionable air of success.

What was the 1950s American beauty standard?

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In the 1950s, the American beauty standards had an incredibly precise standard of what was deemed perfect. This standard included a slender, voluptuous figure with an augmented bust.

Hair was perfectly coiffed and set in perfectly set curls, and the ideal skin was pale and flawless. Lips were painted a light red, with a glossy finish, and the face was framed with perfectly shaped, defined eyebrows.

Women were seen as the epitome of beauty, their bodies dripping in jewel-encrusted evening gowns with elaborately sculpted hair. While men were expected to be strong and reserved, portraying a masculine exterior.

Women were also expected to focus their attention on their appearance and strive to achieve this “perfect” beauty standard. As a result, many women turned towards dieting, beauty products, and new surgeries to appear as perfect as possible.

Why is American Beauty so famous?

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Social media also has an incredibly strong influence on American beauty ideals. Popular personalities and influencers on platforms such as Instagram have become the new trendsetters, changing the way beauty is perceived in the US.

American beauty standards are also heavily associated with the fashion industry. Big brands often produce clothing and accessories with one ideal body type and type of beauty in mind and that’s exactly the image that’s fed and showcased to society.

These items of clothing become the clothing of choice, setting the trend for what’s fashionable and accepted in society. Basically, the fashion industry, Hollywood, and social media have all propagated the same messages to the public and because of this,

How beauty standards affect girls?

Beauty standards caused girls to try to look a certain way to feel accepted and admired. They think the goal should be to look like the women on TV and in movies, with perfect hair, skin, and body.

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This drive to meet unrealistic expectations of beauty can have serious consequences. Some girls become obsessed with dieting and exercising and may even resort to extreme measures like starvation and plastic surgeries, risking their health in the process.

Others may also develop low self-esteem as they attempt to compare themselves and their bodies to a predetermined standard of beauty.

What is the dark side of beauty standards?

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TBeauty standards are meant to bring us beauty and happiness, however, can have a very dark side. Many of us become obsessed with obtaining perfection and fail to appreciate our “imperfections” despite their natural beauty.

This can lead to feelings of low self-worth and self-criticism which can often manifest in self-destructive behavior. Additionally, the narrow description of American beauty standards can make some members of society feel inadequate or excluded from traditional ideas of beauty.

And people who do not fit this often-unrealistic beauty standard can be made to feel that they are less attractive and even invisible, leading to serious issues with self-esteem.


In conclusion, American beauty standards are a tricky and multifaceted concept, with various elements all playing a role in shaping our society’s beliefs about attractiveness.

It is important to remember that beauty is subjective and should be celebrated in all its many forms, for it is only then that we can truly embrace the wonderfully diverse and unique range of beauty in our world.

Let us strive together to redefine beauty, break gender binary stereotypes and ultimately, to undo the oppressive notions of what it means to be beautiful in America.

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