Men Should Have to Follow Beauty Standards, Too


“What is beauty?” 

That’s a question with ever-changing answers in a day and age where we are exposed to thousands of new faces, bodies and trends on a daily basis. Society expects women to conform to these variable standards no matter how quickly they change or how unattainable they become. Women are expected to be beautiful above anything else — and being beautiful is no easy task. 

Beauty standards are an inexplicable part of women’s history and experience. Despite the unattainability of these standards, they still encourage us in an unhealthy way to make us look younger, thinner, “better.” So much goes into maintaining this standard of beauty: spending time styling hair and applying makeup, staying ever-conscious of one’s weight, keeping up with style trends, even plastic surgery. As the saying goes, beauty is pain.  

Women are aware of their appearances starting at a very early age and we spend our entire lives learning new ways to maintain and improve ourselves. The standards that are introduced to us at an early age only persist as we get over the metaphorical hill, as nearly half of all middle-aged women consider cosmetic surgery.

Trends seem to be cycling at a faster rate in the past few decades than ever before. In our beauty-obsessed society, there has never been a time when it is easier to alter and enhance our physical appearances than now. Plastic surgery and cosmetic procedures are popular and widely available — but it seems like women are getting lip fillers much more often than men are getting hair plugs. 

Women are getting breast augmentations more frequently than men are getting veneers, despite the fact that veneers are cheaper (and safer) than breast implants. However, despite the fact that cosmetic augmentations are becoming more accessible for all, women still account for more than 90% of all cosmetic procedures.

 I’m not saying men should strive for the unattainable beauty that women are already chasing, but the standards for their appearance need to be raised. Society’s standards make us pay more attention to ourselves, and this can be a good thing. Beauty alone isn’t enough anymore. In 2022, women have to be hardworking, independent and successful as well. But being perceived as attractive helps people succeed

It’s impossible to be the most perfect person in the world, but in 2022 it is fairly easy to be viewed as attractive. It is scientifically proven that a symmetric complexion has always been the baseline universal standard for attractiveness. In this day and age, access to dermatologists, dentists and plastic surgeons is as simple as a Google search. There is no excuse for men to neglect their personal hygiene, especially when they are otherwise successful, hardworking, etc. If women are expected to be unconditionally “presentable” by meeting society’s beauty standards, men should be too. 

Usually, when we talk about President Joseph Biden here at the Ram, it has something to do with his policies or his approval rate, but I would like to turn attention to his physical appearance. Say what you will about his policies, his opinions and even put aside the fact that he “is showing signs of dementia,” the man looks pretty good for someone who is pushing 80. The pearly white smile and head of hair in the president’s official portrait is quite possibly thanks to veneers and hair plugs, among other things.

My point is not that we should enforce standards that perpetuate body image issues and self-hatred, but simply that men should at least be expected to have manicured hands and a skincare routine. Women are expected to be free of body hair, wrinkles and blemishes, to be thin, dressed up and wearing makeup at the minimum. 

Aging men should dedicate more effort to maintaining their appearances, and maybe take a page from Biden’s book. It is unacceptable for the face of a nation to be rotting and matted — and we should hold ourselves as individuals to the same standard. Though looks aren’t everything, they’re certainly worth something, and in this day and age, there is no excuse to not have an at least presentable appearance. Beauty is not a bad thing, and it should not only be expected of women.