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New study shows standards of beauty becoming more inclusive

Researchers from the Boston University School of Medicine set out to compare today’s beauty standards to what constituted beauty decades back. In order to do this, they analyzed the physical traits and other characteristics of celebrities that made People magazine’s World’s Most Beautiful list in 1990 and in 2017.

Dr. Neelam A. Vashi and co-authors gathered information on the celebrities which included age, sex, race, skin type, hair color, eye color and any visible dermatologic conditions. The team published their findings in JAMA Dermatology. The article highlighted significant changes, particularly concerning age, race, and gender.

The researchers reported that the average age of celebrities on the list increased from 33.2 in 1990 to 38.9 in 2017. In addition, the proportion of females increased from 52 percent in 1990 to 88.1 percent in 2017.

There were also notable differences in the races that were represented on the list. The proportion of celebrities of nonwhite races increased from 24 percent in 1990 to 40 percent in 2017. While celebrities of mixed race were represented by only one person in 1990, there were 14 celebrities of mixed race on the World’s Most Beautiful list in 2017.

In 1990, 88 percent of the celebrities deemed beautiful had lighter skin types and 12 percent had darker skin types. By 2017, lighter skin types dropped to 70.4 percent and darker skin types accounted for 29.6 percent of the list.

“As evidenced by our data and contrary to our hypothesis, at present, a wider variety of skin colors and inclusion of older age groups are represented among those deemed to be the most beautiful,” said the authors of the study.

“The mass media platform has for years introduced certain criteria for what constitutes beauty. Through an examination of the World’s Most Beautiful issue of People, we found that these beauty standards are evolving as people learn how to integrate the effects of media with exposure to new cultures and different norms.”

By Chrissy Sexton, Staff Writer

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