AUTHOR

Nandini Tripathi

DATE

06/08/2021

TAGS

Social Good

How Gen Z is transforming the concept of ‘Beauty’

AUTHOR

Nandini Tripathi

DATE

06/08/2021

TAGS

Social Good

The concept of beauty has expanded, changed, transformed and evolved over the years. Different milieus and socio-cultural landscapes have given rise to varying conceptions and definitions of what the term signifies. While what we consider as ‘attractive’ or pleasing to the eye is subjective and constantly shifting, what it has come to denote today is something more inclusive and fluid than ever before. Much of the credit for this goes to Gen Z, the largest and most diverse generation in history whose changing perceptions and greater awareness of their surroundings has transformed the very definition of the term that we once accepted and imbibed without question.

Source::https://www.nationalgeographic.com/magazine/article/beauty-today-celebrates-all-social-media-plays-a-role-feature

Beauty is and always has been cultural. Traits that a certain community values and deems superior have seemed odd and unappealing to another. While it is, at a certain level, deeply personal and subjective, it is also universal – a standard and straitjacketed ideal that men and especially women have constantly strived to live up to and had to compare themselves against. The youth of today, however, have gone back to the individual. With their focus on being the best version of yourself, they have firmly rooted the idea of beauty in personal choices and decisions. The ‘Be-You-tiful’ trend has sought to reassert individual identity in the face of limited and often even misleadings conceptions and definitions of the word that popular culture and mass media propagate.

In the present day and age, the youth across the globe are looking for products and brands that espouse a certain transparency, inclusivity and authenticity. For several generations, as history has borne witness to, a Western model of beauty has been seen as desirable. The term, however, has finally grown to make room for and accommodate women and men of colour, of different sizes, ages and disabilities. Embracing your ‘flaws’ is no longer simply an act of courage or confidence. It is inherently beautiful in the most natural form of the term possible. The new generation is ushering in a culture of comfort; one where everyone feels welcomed and at ease in their own bodies, irrespective of what years of indoctrination and cultural ideals have told us. Beauty today is seen as an authentic expression of the self. This has paved the way for a more gender-fluid approach to it. With changing attitudes towards differing identities and sexualities, there has been a shift in the way the concept is seen and understood. Whom we consider ‘beautiful’ has gone beyond just mere appearances. The term has grown to become a reflection of our values and beliefs as well.

Source:https://www.nationalgeographic.com/magazine/article/beauty-today-celebrates-all-social-media-plays-a-role-feature

This new and transformed understanding of what physical attributes and traits we readily accept can and should be represented in media and society. The role social media plays in this is hard to contest or deny. The amount of time the youth of today spend on different online platforms has inadvertently meant that the content they peruse, the pictures they look at and the people they follow have a huge impact on the kind of products they purchase and ultimately how they define the term for themselves and those around them. It is fortunate that social media is increasingly being leveraged to expand limited conceptions of the word and create a new and more welcoming space. One such example can be seen in the shift from branded cosmetics to natural skincare. Gen Zs have placed an increased importance to the kind of products they are consuming. A greater consciousness of the environment and the impact of their choices on it has resulted in a demand for sustainable, organic and eco-friendly products. The youth is on the lookout for brands that connect and resonate with them. Beauty is no longer an alienated concept that just means looking good. It is an extension of their personality, their ideals and all that they believe in. Brands that speak to them on a personal level, that stand up for causes they believe in and that strive to create an inclusive and open space are the ones that have gained immense popularity.

In terms of the multifarious connotations the term lends itself to, what a utopia will look like is perhaps hard to conceptualise, let alone describe. The Gen Zs have, however, made the first steps towards it. While the path ahead is by no means one without its fair share of hurdles, it is one that must be embarked upon. To disrupt, dismantle and transform years of cultural and societal entrenchment no grand and complex movement is required rather small changes through new ideas and greater awareness – one person, one community, one beauty trend at a time.

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