How technology can undermine definitions of beauty standards



The practice of altering one’s appearance, in terms of either cosmetics or body modifications, has had a long history in various cultures. Humans throughout different times have found ways to change the way they look for a number of reasons. As we live in a time dominated by social media and appearance culture, modern technologies have conjured up all it has to provide for people’s demand to change the way they look. Whether it’s cosmetic surgeries or Instagram filters, people are given increasingly more tools to appear differently. What is it really that we want by being “beautiful?” Will appearance-altering technologies become so advanced that it fundementally change how we think about appearance and beauty? What would that future society know that we don’t currently?

For this project I will attept to look how I wished -- more muscular

When we discuss power dynamics in social situations, one aspect rarely talked about is how attractiveness plays into the equation. Since attractiveness is somewhat of a subjective quality, it is hard to identify how it truly affects people’s interactions and the forms that it take. While we are probably all taught at some point to not judge a book by its covers, judging a person based on their attractiveness is a process so automated by our culture, experience and inheritance that it might take more than reason to eliminate the barrier of attractiveness among people so we can truely get to know each other.

But how does appearance-altering technology help?

While appearance-altering technologies seem to condone artificiallity and standards of beauty, as they become more avbaliable and powerful, I believe it will make a fundamental shift in the way we view beauty.

Undermining Definitions of Beauty

Imagine a technology where with a press of a button, one could look however they wanted physically. While beauty may be considered a rare commodity today, in a world where such technologies exist, cultural standards of “beauty” would lose all its value. Allowing everyone to choose their appearances redistributes power held by people previously deemed “beautiful” by society. If how we think about beauty today is compared to how oil painters thought about beauty during Michelangelo’s time-- with a singular standard-- then the existence of such appearance-altering technology would be the equivalent of the invention of the camera.

Just like how cameras removed the spectacle of a realistic painting and led to other more creative and expressive forms of art, appearance-altering technologies could one day undermine society’s values on“attractiveness” through their sheer abundance.

Our physical appearance could one day become a form of creativity and expression rather than to meet conventional standards.