There's no question women are expected to live up to unrealistic beauty standards.
Each culture has a different view of what constitutes as beautiful, and those expectations can be harmful. Women tend to put an unhealthy pressure on themselves to match these hard-to-reach ideals, and this means never fully accepting who they are.
Many women often find themselves looking in the mirror and pinpointing something wrong with their looks and features. They're left wondering what they might look like if certain parts of them just looked a little different.
In the video above, the ladies of Buzzfeed's Ladylike tackle the idea of cultural beauty standards and the promotion of the idea of the "perfect" body. Kristin Chirico, Freddie Ransome, Safiya Nygaard and Jen Ruggirello each get their body photoshopped to fit their respective cultural beauty standards, and the results are shocking.
The four women explore Indian, Italian, Japanese and African-American beauty ideals and the qualities most desired in those cultures.
Japanese women are supposed to be seen as feminine with pale skin and a youthful appearance; Italian woman are supposed to be thin with a bigger bust; African-American women desire a "Coke bottle shape;" and Indian women are often told they should possess big doe eyes and fair skin.
With these qualities taken into play, each woman then had her image photoshopped to fit what their culture thinks is the ideal woman — physically, that is.
After the results were shown to the women, their underwhelmed reaction said it all.
Using the words "terrifying" and "creepy" to describe their new appearances, the women quickly realized these ideals were not who they were.
"The Photoshop made me realize that I don’t really need to or want to change my body to look more like it," Nygaard confessed.
"This is me, with all the me sucked out of it," Chirico said.
For Ransome, the process gave her a sense of closure. After lusting over lighter skin and curvier features since she was a young girl, her photoshopped image with these qualities didn't give her a sense of confidence and they sure didn't make her feel beautiful.
"It makes me sad that I was so insecure with the way that I looked growing up. But it makes me happy because I'm very satisfied with the way that I look. I've grown into my beauty, I've grown into accepting the way I look. I wouldn't want to look any other way."
"I realize I'm full of imperfections and things that people don't like, and things that I don't like, but I'm greater than the sum of my parts," Chirico said.
"Nitpicking yourself doesn't necessarily make you more beautiful, it just makes you different."
Today's lesson: Embrace yourself as you are.