The "Religion of Beauty" in The 21st Century

About this sample

About this sample


Words: 599 |

Page: 1|

3 min read

Published: Jan 21, 2020

Words: 599|Page: 1|3 min read

Published: Jan 21, 2020

Along the course of the modern era, we have now reached an age when ideals are bestowed not only on our politics, but also on our bodies. Under the development of contemporary capitalism, terms such as “appetite” and “diet” are redefined into words that shape our perception towards how the perfect male and female bodies should be like. The pursuit of beauty among young women in particular has been quite a controversial topic, due to the illogical and almost inhumane methods females use for the sole purpose of downsizing. Both slenderness and whiteness are the fundaments that modern women long for in their general aesthetic, they are the core qualities that builds up what we call the “Religion of Beauty” in the 21st century.

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The dominance of whiteness in the definition of beauty is, in general, easier to explain, considering how much it appears in current media. The “Fair Face” is a widespread image that creates a message pushing people to achieve more than just a seamless texture of skin, but also an ideal colour. Skin whitening surgeries and cosmetics of a lighter shade are giants in the beauty industry, and the women who represents the perfection in “beauty” are almost exclusively white on social media. A recent report posted by one of the biggest fashion events in the world, New York’s Fashion Week, concluded that 82.7% of the models who participated in the fashion shows are white (Johnson, 2016).

Skin lightening creams are sold prominently in countries such as India and Nigeria, where almost 77% of females use them in hopes of reaching a lighter skin tone, even though they can potentially cause kidney damage and has scarring effects. This one-way colorism puts a standard to women all around the world, telling them the whiter they are, the prettier they are. But being white isn’t simply about looking white, it is also about acting white. Within sociology, whiteness is defined as a set of characteristics that proves our attachment to the white culture. With the overpowering entertainment industries in Western countries, especially in the US, whiteness is also about the way we dress, the music we listen to, the movies we watch, the way we speak etc. The world is familiar with the idea of white privilege, which is the sort of privilege white people get from everything and anything in life, just by being white. White privilege today includes for instance the ability to speak and write with little criticism, an underserved amount of authority, etc. And people from other cultures want that, they want to enjoy these privileges and mimic the impression of a white person in order to achieve that higher status white people get.

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In a more historic manner, the social meaning behind whiteness dates back to our colonial history. Sociologists such as David Roediger, Joseph R. Feagin and George Lipsitz, explains that being “white” is a process of preventing exclusion and negation (Davies, 2018). In the past, Europeans who colonized Africa and other indigenous countries have perceived and stigmatized the exotic locals as poor, uneducated, savage and backward (Cole, 2018). Whites on the other hand is viewed as the predominant, more superior race. They are seen as the representation of a ruler, of a premier head. This form of perception has moved along with the times, and in order to break this stereotype, people of color nowadays prompt for different methods to achieve this luxurious whiteness, for the pursuit of this “higher power” behind lighter skin tones. That basically sums up why whiteness continues to outstand in the ever-evolving world of female beauty.

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Dr. Oliver Johnson

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The “Religion Of Beauty” In The 21St Century. (2020, January 15). GradesFixer. Retrieved February 21, 2024, from
“The “Religion Of Beauty” In The 21St Century.” GradesFixer, 15 Jan. 2020,
The “Religion Of Beauty” In The 21St Century. [online]. Available at: <> [Accessed 21 Feb. 2024].
The “Religion Of Beauty” In The 21St Century [Internet]. GradesFixer. 2020 Jan 15 [cited 2024 Feb 21]. Available from:
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