Bitch PhD is seeming a bit white western feminist here. In the United States, a white woman can freely play with beauty norms,etc,etc. However, she is not one of the 70 percent of black women putting caustic chemicals on their scalps in pursuit of beauty. Around the world, the pursuit of beauty is quite dangerous. I am on a research project about skin bleaching in Africa, and the health effects can be devastating. The practice also has popularity in Asia. If you are told you can never be beautiful or socially acceptable unless you have light skin or straight hair, what do you think that does to your self esteem?
It's like how corsets are today, versus how they used to be. It used to be that many women were encased in corsets, some so tight that they could hardly breathe, and some even fainted! However, today it is merely a fetish item. I think the oppressiveness in beauty standards is not so much in the standards but how they are enforced. Is it seen as oh, it's a nice addition or is it seen as OMG, YOU UGLY SMELLY CUNT,etc,etc? And for too many beauty standards- it is the latter.