For decades, brands and advertising campaigns have set unrealistic and sometimes unhealthy beauty standards — including those related to age. But while younger and skinnier may sometimes seem like the most popular vision of what counts as beautiful, is that really how people think?
We surveyed over 1,000 Americans about the ages they most perceive as beautiful and how their self-image has changed over time. Continue reading to learn how body positivity really affects the American opinion.
The Truth Behind Beauty
If you’re on a quest for the fountain of youth, you might want to stop and consider how age factors into the perception of beauty. Recent movements to dispel the myth that only the young can be beautiful may be gaining traction in the U.S. Major media publications are getting in on the action by reminding us that real beauty is timeless and that getting older can be an empowering experience.
Popular opinion among most Americans regarding the idea of beauty is evolving as well. While nearly 13% of Americans surveyed thought people were most beautiful in their 20s, more than 77% believed there was no particular age when a person truly looked his or her best.
Regardless of how old you are, if you want to be seen as more attractive, you may want to leave those creams alone and invest in your self-confidence instead. You won’t be disappointed by the results.
What Defines Beauty
When we asked Americans whether they believed youth explicitly translated into beauty, more than half said no.
Overall, we found a more positive sentiment among women than men. Americans who were younger than 20-years old were the most likely to consider age and allure as unrelated qualities. With a rise in social media and the power of influencers as a modern take on mass marketing, beauty standards in America are shifting — particularly among millennials. These changes aren’t just limited to social platforms and bloggers, though. They’re changing the way Americans want to see beauty diversified, and the industry is responding.
So just how good do we feel about ourselves? The answer to that question might depend on how old you are.
We asked Americans to rate the extent in which they considered themselves to be extremely body positive. For men and women, that question might now be easier to answer. A growing community of Americans are committed to spreading acceptance and confidence in every body type, no matter the age, shape or color. This trend has spilled into the digital arena, and millions of posts on social media platforms like Instagram, labeled with tags like #BodyPositive and #BodyAcceptance, help show just how much the definition of what is (or isn’t) beautiful has changed.
While nearly 90% of the participants considered themselves at least slightly body positive, Americans in their 50s had the strongest sense of confidence in how they looked and felt.
Invest in Yourself
Today, self-care is meant to help us decompress, unwind and focus on ourselves for a moment rather than the chaos that may comprise daily life. Like the power of a hot shower in helping the body relax, self-care is concerned with emotional hygiene and the small efforts we can regularly take to invest in ourselves. Drinking enough water, eating healthy foods, and finding time for a quick workout can give you a natural boost in positivity.
That positive energy can do wonders for your sense of self-confidence, too. According to the more than 1,000 Americans polled, 78% said self-care made them beautiful, a response that was slightly higher among women than men.
Most relationship experts will probably tell you that the way you see yourself has an impact on your approach to your relationships –– but the length of your relationship may be playing a role in that confidence level, too.
Nearly 86% of survey respondents said their definition of beauty has changed with time. For some, the way they saw themselves also changed based on the type of relationship they were in. More than 2 in 5 people who believed their self-esteem improved over time were married, and nearly 28% were currently in a relationship. Americans who were either divorced or separated were the least likely to believe their confidence grew over time.
Regardless of their relationship status, more than 60% of Americans believed getting married or being in a committed relationship improved their self-esteem, and more than half felt raising children did the same.
Even if you still feel bombarded by images of what is considered to be beautiful, most Americans’ perceptions of beauty aren’t bound by age. When asked which age they considered the most attractive, a majority of people said there was no particular answer. Even social media and modern forms of marketing are starting to pick up on the body positive movement, and the beauty standards that once defined how people saw and judged themselves are starting to slip away.
We surveyed over 1,000 Americans about how they defined beauty, and how this definition changed as they grew older.
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