American vs Euro Beauty Standards


If you’re a part of the Beauty Disclaimer community, you know how loudly we celebrate every shape, size, and texture of beauty. We don’t believe in one “perfect” type of beauty, and we certainly don’t adhere to any “standards” that foolishly try to present themselves as “one size fits all.” In fact, that exact thought is something we wanted to explore today.

You don’t have to look at too many magazines or social media accounts to see that there is a set of both American beauty standards and European beauty standards that differ vastly. We don’t feel there should be any standards, but the reality is they exist and it’s worth breaking down the difference between the two to further understand where these ideas about what exactly makes a woman beautiful even came from.

American Beauty Standards

Flat stomach. Toned but not bulky. A strong yet sexual backside. Skin that always looks sun kissed. These are just some of the modern-day American beauty standards women are faced with by simply existing. The never-ending stream of diet and exercise marketing that finds its way onto our phones via celebrity culture and social media is relentless. In today’s world, American women are encouraged to enhance their “good” features while concealing the “bad,” and some go to great lengths to do it with breast augmentations, liposuction, and tummy tucks being the most highly requested procedures from women between the ages of 31 and 45. We should also note that, as of 2022, Botox was the number one non-invasive skin procedure, with over 7.5 million people in the US receiving Botox treatments last year.

Long story short, America is quite obsessed with looking desirable, regardless of how unnatural the methods may be of getting there. Having defined cheekbones, perfectly smooth skin, no stretch marks, and long, enviable hair are just a few checkmarks on a long list of the beauty standards women face every day here in the states.

European Beauty Standards

Europe, on the other hand, approaches beauty standards somewhat differently. There seems to be more of an emphasis on celebrating natural beauty, focusing on the qualities of European women that make them unique; the features that make them stand out against the crowd rather than blend in with it.

Where American culture encourages women to stick to diligent exercise routines to achieve the curvy yet strong yet thin yet sexy body type, European beauty standards place much less emphasis on the exercise craze and athletic body type. In fact, one study showed that whereas Americans get fit in the gym, Europeans get more exercise by simply being outside. Walks, swimming, cycling, and hiking are a more daily occurrence in Europe when it comes to getting in your steps and closing that exercise ring on your Apple watch.

Something interesting to note, too: Because European skin is naturally paler, a fairer skin tone is prized over a tanned one, and the use of makeup is not nearly as involved as it is in America. In general, women are encouraged to simple enhance what they already have with as little makeup as possible (think tinted moisturizer, one swipe of mascara rather than two or three, and a subtle, barely-there lipstick). Based off how hard a time lipstick had finding its footing in Europe thousands of years ago, it’s not shocking to know that the emphasis is on bolstering already-there beauty rather than completely shifting your appearance with makeup magic tricks such as a contouring, baking, etc.

One of the biggest beauty standard differences between the US and Europe is how women dress. Here in America, being trendy and fashionable day in and day out is the goal. Form-fitting clothes, brightly colored clothing with eye-catching accessories are all still popular, even with waves of minimalism crashing onto the shoreline of fashion every so often. America likes to be bright, loud, and bold where we can, and one of the most personal and expressive ways of doing so is via clothing. On the flip side, the standard European dress puts a much greater emphasis on the classics—you know, the collection of timeless, more neutral pieces that are perfectly tailored and never look bad no matter how you wear them. If we had to whittle it down to just two words for both, we’d say America: bold & trendy. Europe: elegant & classic. All this to say, if you’re a Beauty Disclaimer fan, you will agree that all beauty is subjective and personal. We’re don’t exist to comply with generalized standards—that is so not us. Be big and bold one day, and elegant and understated the next just because you can. Finding what works for you and what makes you feel beautiful? Now, that should be your standard.

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