Ideals of Beauty

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Beauty can be defined in many ways, especially within different cultures. What is defined as “beauty” in India may vary from the definition of “beauty” in Asia. Beauty also doesn’t have to be the physical appearance of someone. Beauty could come within. A huge example I found to be interesting is a woman who is known to be the world’s ugliest woman. At the age of 17, she was declared the World’s Ugliest Woman. She was born with a rare disease known as Marfanoid-Progeroid-Lipodystrophy syndrome; this disease prevents her from gaining body fat or weight. Lizzie was bullied and harassed as a child and in her teen years, she was cyberbullied which influenced her to start motivational speaking. She took her pain and emotions and poured her heart into speeches to help motivate others and herself to a better and happier lifestyle. She has many TedTalks streaming online the link included is about Lizzie talking about her disease, how she was bullied, and how she overcame the labels. She labeled the ugliest woman but how she overcame and is inspiring others to never feel the way she does is true beauty.


Self-concept is defined as the beliefs a person holds about his or her own attributes and how he or she evaluates the self on those qualities; how you want to be perceived in the world. Self-concept is broken down into five main dimensions:

1.    Content-focuses more on facial attractiveness rather than mental aptitude.

2.    Positivity- this revolves mostly around our self-esteem

3.    Intensity and 4. stability over time and 5. Accuracy- all three are measured in the degree by which one’s self-assessment corresponds to reality.

The ideal vs real selves

   The ideal self is how one would like to be, where actual self is more of our realistic appraisal of the qualities we do and don’t have. The textbook on Consumer Behavior; Buying, Having, Being, ties these selves to a buyer’s perspective and states, “We choose some products because we think they are consistent with our actual self, whereas we buy others to help us reach an ideal standard.” We also find ourselves engaging in the process of impression management. This is when we work harder which “manage” what others think of us. In buying, we also choose certain clothing styles and products that make us fit in and also at points stand out to get the attention.  

Forming the Self

   A key factor in forming the self is symbolic interactionism. A sociological tradition that reflects that relationships with others help shape the self. We live in a symbolic environment; we find meaning to any situation or object. The textbook again gives many examples of how we do this. We come up with meanings for certain objects and as a whole, we agree on these meanings. Some examples from the book include things that we “know” are that a red light means stop, the “golden arches” mean fast food Mcdonalds, and “blondes have more fun.” These all correspond with symbolic interactionism, which is important to consumer behavior as well as the self because it implies that our possessions play a key role in evaluating and identify ourselves.

We also express this through the music we listen to. Spotify posted a form of collected data about Understanding People Through Music: Millennial Edition. Spotify took data from the US, AU, and UK audiences. They focused on users’ demographics, usage, playlist behavior, etc. From the US studies, Spotify found behavioral segments by analyzing users’ streaming habits as well as interests, lifestyle, and shopping behaviors, which were developed by a third-party data provider. Some takeaways from the data collected was that:

•    Millennials listed their music as #1 passion, followed by food, fitness, fashion, sports, and gaming.

•    46% browse social media while streaming music.

•    Millennials name Spotify as their #1 platform for discovery and variety of music and recommendations.

Music is found to play a huge role in forming the self. The music styles you listen to help form and mold the mood you are in and as well helps shape you as a person. Music can be a form of symbolic interactionism.


Maslow, Alexandra. Lizzie Velasquez on Beating Back Bullies after Being Called ‘World’s Ugliest Woman’. 17 Oct. 2017,

Nollan, Jack. What Is Self-Concept And How Does It Influence Your Life? 20 Sept. 2018,

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