In “Ching Chong Chang” a very relevant issue was society’s beauty standards and what women are “really” supposed to be. The first disucssion of beauty is brought up when we are introduced to Changs backstory. A young Chinese woman whose family migrated her to America so she could be sold off like the produce she was to them. Chang was basically put up for sale as a wife to a Chinese man in the U.S. but once he finally sees her he immediately is outraged because she isn’t the “beautiful” girl he thought he came to buy. An instance where someone truly puts a monetary value for beauty, and how in our society if someone is beautiful they are normally automatically given special treatment. A fact that causes society to indirectly punish the woman who believe they do not fit the standards of what people like and deem themselves as unfit.
Even by her own brother she was stated as being invisible, something she did not take much notice of almost as if it was something she already believe her whole life. In society if you are not “beautiful” or “pretty” then you are set aside in the background and like Chang are only perceived as invisible because you do not have the attributes that society raves for. Yet as a smart woman Chang takes this to her advantage so she can participate in her brothers illegal trade, in a way finally getting noticed by someone other than herself. After an incident during one of the trades Chang attended she was able to rise to power in the Chinese gang. Immediately demonstrating how reliable she was and how she was given the opportunity to be the one in control, the one people looked for, the one no one could deem as invisible.
After the official opening of the Whispers manufacturing section in the prison do we see how beauty standards are interpreted by prisoners and what “real” women are supposed to be like in their eyes of society. Cindy and Marisol are the ones primarily discussing this issue as they go through the Whispers magazine. First instance being when Cindy makes a game out of the magazine, asking her friend what page will a black girl finally show up and how dark. Though this is a minor conversation it adds to the bigger conversation that when one thinks of beauty the immediately picture someone with light skin. For some this idea that beauty is directly linked to light skin is not something we are born with but develop because thats how society views it. In Kenneth Clark`s “Pretty Doll, Ugly Doll Test” children were asked from two dolls, one light and the other dark, which was the “ugly” doll. And each child resulted in the same outcome, all deeming the darker doll as the ugly one because of its dark skin. Despite how accepting and open society is pushing toward being people are still growing up being told that they are not beautiful because of the way they were born.
And even though many see the ideal woman or set of beauty as being someone that white or has light skin, these set of people have another set of beauty standards to go along with that. Even though one may already have the privilege of being white, marking off one box of the long list of standards, they then have to meet the other expectations of beauty standards that are set for the human body. Going on about beauty standards Cindy said that white woman had it easy since they are already white to be deemed beautiful in their world all they needed to be was skinny. It not only reinforces that outrageous ideals of beauty but also demonstrates that people of color are continuously struggling to be even deemed as fraction the label of beauty that is constantly being used for white woman.
Then there is Piper, a skinny white woman that is often praised for her looks, who also has her own insecurities about whats deemed as beautiful. Saying that she has just enough right to be insecure about her thighs as much as the next person. And that every woman should have a moment to feel sexy. All of these small details relate to the whole overwhelming picture that when it comes to society ideals of beauty nothing is ever good enough and woman, and even men, will always feel insecure and the need to be accepted for the way they look. Even people whom are deemed as exceptionally beautiful, like Piper Chapman, are still faced with the common insecurities of beauty. To which in all of my honesty is a ridiculous set of ideals that no one really needs to look for and society needs to work harder in erasing these standards.