Beauty Societal Standards Essay

Beauty Societal Standards Essay


In the society today, pretty but ugly seems as though no matter how a woman may look perfect, she still would find a flaw in her body and do what it takes to perfect and maintain her beauty. According to Nathaniel Hawthorne, the ugly truth about beauty is that a large number of women are obsessed with their physical and facial appearance. He further notes that most men in the society fail to notice whether or not a woman has applied countless hours into being prepared to get out in a more presentable manner. Personally, I agree that a good number of women do extreme things to perfect their beauty, but fail to agree with the idea that men do not appreciate women’s efforts to perfect their physical appearances. Man-made western beauty practices have spread out to the whole world through globalization and now most women are becoming fashion models in every country. The role of women view about self-image and appearance on beauty standards has changed and greatly evolved in this our modern society throughout social history. Also, the meaning of beauty has evidently evolved over the decades through the subjectivity of societal standards. In this research paper, the stories of “The Birthmark by Nathaniel Hawthorne” and “The Fat Girl by Andre Dubus” will be included in explaining social standards of beauty to in the modern world.


The other day I read the stories of The Birthmark and The Fat Girl and could not help but realize that almost all characters admired to be physically perfect. In Andre Dubus “The Fat Girl”, people need to accept themselves first before accepting others, and the story is about a girl who tries to fit in the modern society beauty standards and satisfy her parents. The author plots the girl in a manner that portrays the pressure people face of conforming to the superficial image in order into fit to the standards of the society (Andre 5). In the story, Andre Dubus takes into account a mother who is convincing her young daughter why getting fat will make it difficult for her to make friends. She tells the young girl, “You must start watching what you eat….. I can see you have my metabolism”. Since her mother does not want Louise to have a lonely social life, she puts Louise into a strict diet. This defines our modern society since there is no woman who wants to lose shape for they fear that no men will get attracted to them.

In the story of “The Birthmark” by Nathaniel Hawthorne, the scientist of obsessed about a birthmark in his wife’s cheek. According to Nathaniel Hawthorne, romance literary entail the supernatural, strong emotions and powers of nature (Hawthorne 420). He focuses his story on obsessive love and the existing conflict between science and nature and how this is manifest in today’s social world. In the story, the love between Aylmer and Georgiana could have been a success, but turns into a nightmare when Aylmer becomes obsessed about removing a small birthmark on Georgiana’s cheek. Aylmer feels that the birthmark is the only obstacle making Georgiana not to be perfectly beautiful. Aylmer says, “No, dearest Georgiana, you came so nearly perfect from the hand of nature that this slightest possible defect……..shocks me, as being the visible mark of earthly imperfection. Being a scientist, Aylmer believes that he is able to fix her using science. However, Georgiana is upset of Aylmer’s comments. People in love must not feel obsessed of one another’s unattractiveness of face, this is her idea. Her previous boyfriend had claimed that the birthmark added to her charm and made her more beautiful. She also informs Aylmer that there existed a strong connection between her life and the birthmark. Unfortunately, Aylmer remains stubborn and continues to complain of its awfulness. The guy hates the birthmark more than how he loves Georgiana. On the other hand, Georgiana loves Aylmer more than herself and tells to him to try removing the birthmark, even if this will claim her life.


Based on these two stories, women play a major role in their appearance and self-image on beauty whose impact has evolved in our modern society today (Englischlehrer 26). In this regard, women embrace beauty standards to please men. In Nathaniel Hawthorne’s “The Birthmark”, Georgiana is portrayed to have been comfortable with the birthmark on her cheek since birth. In her love history, the former boyfriend considered the birthmark as a charm that made her attractive and more beautiful. However, when she gets in love with Aylmer; she forgets about herself and loves him more than she loves herself. Aylmer complains that the birthmark is unattractive and does not make her completely beautiful. Georgiana’s decision to tell Aylmer to remove the birthmark from her cheek depicts how women embrace beauty in an attempt to please men. No woman is comfortable when men do not see her being completely beautiful (Englischlehrer 30). Most women are dying as they try to find beauty, and this is alarming in the today’s society.

The meaning of beauty continues to evolve in the society today, and women have always played a role. In Andre Dubus “The Fat Girl”, Louise’s mother educates her on the importance of maintaining body size and shape in making friends. Beauty is not all about facial attractiveness; it is more than just that. The modern society is obsessed about fat women, and men are shifting their attention on the size of women they marry. Mothers have been playing a role in ensuring that their young daughters stay fit, balanced, and healthy in order to be accepted in the society. Louise’s mother is seen to subject her daughter to a strict diet (Eckstein 517). However, despite parental care, girls in the modern society displease them by eating junk foods in their absence. There exists a conflict between mothers and fathers in the society, as fathers are misguided on beauty standards of the society. The joy of our mothers is ensuring that their girl children embrace beauty standards while young so that they fit in the society.

But women are subject to their self-image issues. In the case of Louise, she is seen to doubt her ability to secure intimate relationship and find happiness in the society. Women form friendships in their lifetime (Braziel 6). Andre Dubus “The Fat Girl”, plots Louise to have only two friends, Marjorie and Joan who were thin and considered themselves as social outcasts in other ways. Due to her fatness, Louise felt comfortable in the presence of other girls who felt unhappy and insecure. The choice of her friends is too ironical for they were not heavy since she worried about how other people would see her. The major reason behind this is that her mother put in her head negative perceptions such as “In five years you’ll be in high school and if you are fact the boys won’t like you; they won’t ask you out”. In this quote depicts the feeling of women who do not meet the modern world beauty standards.

Romance in the modern world shapes a beauty standard that could be dangerous to women. Women of the society today are too loving and worried about their beauty such that they can do anything to please their boyfriends to just perfect men’s view on their attractiveness and beauty (Eckstein 515). In reference to Nathaniel Hawthorne’s “The Birthmark”, Georgiana is concerned of her boyfriend’s unease, hatred, and despise of the birthmark in her cheek. Knowing that Aylmer is a scientist, she gives him the mandate to perform science on her to remove the mark so as to perfect her beauty. Aylmer ignored many warning of experimenting science on her wife and dives her portion of poison to drink. The worked and removed the birthmark; however, Georgiana fades with it and dies of love. Romance in the modern world is controlled by science as more women are diverting their attention on science in order to become beautiful.



Most women are worried about their beauty and facial attractiveness on the eyes of men. Beauty is a modern industry which conflicts the aspects of nature in women, and men are closely associated with women’s decisions on beauty. Among the modern world, beauty standards are face attractiveness, maintenance of body size and shape, obsessive love, application of science on love, and the transition from natural beauty to science. In the two stories, it is evident that most women feel obsessed of their physical appearance and that most men (like in the case of Louise’s father) fail to notice women’s countless time into ensuring their daughters embrace perfect beauty from their young age. Get me right, I think women should take considerate time in making themselves look beautiful but not feeling obsessed over it. I feel that it is wrong of women to taken pills and other science medics to become beautiful; instead, they should embrace natural beauty and strict diets that would make them remain beautiful.

Work Cited

Andre, Dubus. “The Fat Girl, Andre Dubus: English Literature. Published in 2015 and last Edited in 2017. Pp. 1-22<>

Braziel, Jana Evans, and Kathleen LeBesco, eds. Bodies out of bounds: Fatness and Transgression. Univ of California Press, 2001. Pp. 1-10

Eckstein, Barbara. “Hawthorne’s ‘The Birthmark’: Science and Romance as Belief.” Studies in Short Fiction (1989): 511-519. Academic Search Complete.Web. 10 Apr. 2012.

Englischlehrer. “A Beautiful Young Woman.” 2012. Web. 1 April 2012. Pp. 20-36

Hawthorne, Nathaniel. “The Birthmark.” The Bedford Introduction to Literature. Ed. Michael Meyer. 9th ed. Boston: Bedford/St. Martin’s, 2011. 420-431. Print.

Leave a Reply