Women have the significant advantage of changing their look to meet certain beauty standards. But why should they have to? Some women have made it their mission to stop those beliefs.

Sometimes I look at beauty standards as a way to fit women in a box.
Sometimes I look at beauty standards as a way to fit women in a box.

Unfortunately, we live in a society where many women look to certain beauty standards to teach them what they need to look like to be beautiful and what they need to be doing to stay on top of all the beauty trends. What makes it worse is young girls also look into these standards as they’re growing up, instead of just being teenagers and experiencing who they want to be on their own.

It’s time for all women to stop this way of thinking once and for all. Sometimes we look at beautiful models online or on TV and dream to be them. But what about those women and young girls who do not look like those models? They may feel like they do not hold that beauty if they do not carry the same features.

Through my years of learning about inspiring models, I’ve become much more intrigued by those that hold unique features of beauty.

Harnaam Kaur: Representing Beauty With a Beard

Who says women can't rock beards?
Who says women can’t rock beards?

Harnaam Kaur is a British model who just so happens to have a full beard. She has polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS)–a medical disorder that causes a hormonal imbalance in ovaries. PCOS can also lead to hirsutism—excessive hair growth in women caused by high levels of male hormones (androgens).

At 11-years-old, Harnaam started developing facial hair and would desperately try to hide and remove it. She would regularly get bullied to the point where she would self-harm and consider taking her own life. As she grew older, she grew tired of the bullying and embraced the beauty of her beard. She started receiving positive comments from not only women but men who loved the way she looked.

Till this day, she lives to encourage women to love the body they’re in. To her, to be different means to also have beauty. And knowing that you’re confident in yourself as a woman, means you know that you’re already beautiful.

Melanie Gaydos: Fighting Beauty Standards With a Pose

A look such as this speaks volumes of Melanie's beauty.
A look such as this speaks volumes of Melanie’s beauty.

Melanie Gaydos is an international model with a unique face of beauty. She was born with ectodermal dysplasias (ED)–a group of genetic disorders that cause abnormalities to the teeth, hair, nails, and sweat glands. Because of her look, she would often get bullied as a child, which made her depressed and nearly suicidal.

She started modeling as a means to learn more about herself. She wanted to inspire the world and go against beauty standards that teach others; you have to look a certain way. In her mind, it’s not a matter of how others see your beauty. It’s about how you see your beauty because it comes from within.

Sara Geurts: Beauty in Wrinkles

Sara is among a line of women who exhibit confidence.
Sara is among a line of women who exhibit confidence.

Sara Geurts is a rare beauty model with Ehlers-Danlos syndrome (EDS)–a group of disorders affecting connective tissue. When she was younger, she was insecure about her wrinkly skin; but three years ago, when she decided to get into modeling, she sought to use her condition as a way to reach out to others who lacked confidence within themselves. Besides modeling, she considers herself a self-love activist who inspires women to love the skin they’re in and challenge beauty standards with whatever unique beauty they have.

Speaking of unique beauty, I hope my nieces never have to grow up doubting their looks in the mirror as women; and I hope they too have confidence through whatever society brings them.

Learning about these women makes me ponder on what the world has in store for the future of beauty. With models/ body positive enthusiasts such as these women, I sense a bit of hope for the next generation. But in order for that to happen, we should focus more on uplifting and celebrating a woman’s uniqueness, rather than tearing them down.