We Spoke To 6 Gen Z Individuals About How Their Own Notions Of Beauty Have Evolved

Recently, Gen Z, the digitally native generation, has been at the forefront of reshaping beauty standards.
Recently, Gen Z, the digitally native generation, has been at the forefront of reshaping beauty standards. Manasi Patankar for Homegrown

If beauty is in the eye of the beholder, it's only natural that the notion of beauty evolves alongside the values and perspectives of each generation. Recently, Gen Z, the digitally native generation, has been at the forefront of reshaping beauty standards. To gain insight into their perceptions, we engaged in conversations with Indian Gen Z individuals, delving into their evolving perspectives on beauty and how it has transformed over time.

For Iara, Manasi and Sobhika, beauty is a celebration of one's individuality and authentic self-expression.

Arpana views beauty as "An acknowledgement and appreciation of everything unique that you have to offer. It's acceptance of your roots, ethnicity, all your marks, wrinkles, spots, double chin, etc. In today's age of airbrushed faces, owning up to your flaws with confidence is beauty."

For Shruti beauty lies in the comfort and self-love one feels towards their own body and skin, mirroring the love they extend to others.

Diya finds beauty synonymous with confidence and owning however you choose to express yourself.

From a tender age, the concept of beauty is instilled in us, often as a superficial and external ideal. Society bombards us with images of flawless faces, airbrushed bodies, and unattainable standards of perfection. As children, we may believe that beauty solely lies in physical appearance. However, as we grow and mature, we start to question and reflect upon these narrow definitions. Through introspection and personal growth, we learn to redefine beauty for ourselves. We discover that true beauty resides in the humanistic aspects of our lives: kindness, empathy, compassion, and authenticity. We realize that beauty transcends mere physicality and is found in the way we connect with others, in our passions, and in our capacity to make a positive impact on the world. This journey of self-discovery allows us to break free from societal constructs and embrace a more holistic and meaningful perception of beauty.

The meaning of beauty has shifted for Iara from something that others appreciate about her to what she about herself, things she likes doing and things that make her feel good.

Manasi believes beauty extends beyond the physical, "In the past beauty felt conforming, an adherence to beauty norms and ' preferred ' aesthetics. There was a lot of emphasis on elegance and polished appearances and physical beauty. Today beauty is all about representation, a celebration of diversity and body positivity. Beauty routines today are wholesome and focus on intrinsic holistic well-being/ self care," she shares.

Aparna's perception also shifted from "a very generic and commercialized view of beauty - fair skin, thin bodies, lean figures, etc.I clearly never fit because I was a broad-shouldered tomboy in school. A few years of introspection and self-work led to finding my own confidence and realising that beauty is in everyone, as long as one has the courage to own up to it. Glossy mags never made for true beauty. If you're happy, healthy and at peace with yourself, that's truly being beautiful."

Shruti struggled with her body-image issues and learnt to dance as a coping mechanism towards the bullying she faced as a kid. Over the years she has learned to love and accept her body, on most days at least.

Sobhika has moved away from conforming to Euro-centric beauty standards to finding her own personal style and what works best for her.

While it is true that beauty standards have evolved to accommodate a wider range of expressions, it is important to recognize that they still exist. The rise of makeup culture, fueled by social media, may appear to empower individuals and promote self-expression, but beneath the surface lies a complex relationship between Gen Z, beauty, and the industries that cater to them.

The notion of 'the perfect' is still thriving. It has merely upgraded from 'the perfect body' to 'the perfect no-makeup makeup look'. In fact, it would be fair to say that despite their inclusive expansion, aesthetics are even more 'everything' than they were a decade ago. The wheels of the beauty industry are still running; they've just gone incognito under the disguise of representation.

In an era where Gen Z places great importance on individuality and self-acceptance, brands have started to embrace diverse representations and narratives in their marketing strategies. The skincare and beauty industries have taken note of the values that matter to this generation and are incorporating them into their branding. They emphasize real-life stories, unretouched images, and product formulations that align with Gen Z's desire for transparency and inclusivity.

Luckily for us, Gen Z is most likely to spot tokenism and call out brands on their empty campaigns and demand true change. The style of this generation is comparatively more relaxed, gender-fluid and inclusive towards different expressions and when it comes to skincare and beauty, real, 'flawed' skin is making a comeback. So even if the chains of societal standards still bind us, they've certainly gotten more lax than they were even a decade ago.

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