It is no secret that American society and the world as a whole faces an issue with racial bias. The Implicit Association Test found that white and biracial people show a strong favoritism towards people of European descent over people of color. The beauty industry further highlights this implicit bias. Whether this is in accordance with physical appearance or other traits, Caucasians are almost always held in higher regard to beauty standards than other ethnicities and have been throughout contemporary history.

Beauty products are frequently marketed around the world, especially in Asia and the Middle East, to make people of color appear to look more Caucasian. In past years, whitening creams have become popular in many Asian countries, including China, South Korea and India. In fact, the skin-whitening market in India was estimated to be worth $450 million according to New Statesmen.

The beauty industry as a whole is based off of one’s personal insecurity. People buy beauty products to fix the things about their body that society has taught them to be ashamed of.

In South Korea, many people undergo plastic surgery procedures in order to resemble Caucasians. This practice has become increasingly normalized across the country. According to the International Society of Aesthetic Cosmetic Surgery, rhinoplasty (or nose surgery) as well as double-eyelid surgery are among some of the most common procedures in South Korea. The objective of these procedures is to have a more European looking face.

“A relatively common procedure for women here [is] double-eyelid surgery [which] creates a crease above each eye [which is] common in Caucasians but less so in Koreans,” said Jaeyeon Woo, a reporter for the Wall Street Journal. “For some Asian men, a high-bridged nose common in Caucasians is seen as desirable.”

A favoritism for Eurocentric beauty standards is nothing new. European societal norms have been in place throughout history. Dating back to European colonialism in 1800s, European culture has diminished different cultures’ individual values of beauty.

Whether this is in accordance with physical appearance or other traits, Caucasians are almost always held in higher regards to beauty standards than other ethnicities.

The beauty industry as a whole is based off of personal insecurities. People buy beauty products to fix the things about their body that society has taught them to be ashamed of.

When only thin, white women are shown in the majority of beauty advertisements and media, women are once again reminded by society that they do not measure up to beauty standards.

Industries do well when women feel bad about themselves and in turn, seek ways to fix their own perceived imperfections.

Although America claims to thrive on diversity, there is still a widespread presence of partiality towards white people over people of color. We can only move past these stereotypes that divide us if we become aware of them.

About The Author

Grace Kitayama is a junior at Palo Alto High School. Kitayama has been a member of The Campanile since her sophomore year of high school and is also a member of her school's dance team. In her free time, she enjoys hugging large shrubs.

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