10 Ways the Definition of Beauty Has Changed

Bye-bye, Blue-eyed Blonde
Uptown girl Christie Brinkley in the 1980s
Uptown girl Christie Brinkley in the 1980s
Ron Galella/WireImage/Getty Images

In 1991, Allure magazine conducted a survey of men and women living in the United States about what constituted beauty. Respondents claimed that the U.S. beauty ideal was a woman like Christie Brinkley -- a blonde-haired, blue-eyed, fair-skinned model. Twenty years later, in 2011, Allure conducted the same survey, but times had clearly changed: Angeline Jolie, with her dark hair and voluptuous lips was now ranked as the pinnacle of beauty. And when respondents were asked to rank the beauty of anonymous models, both men and women picked non-white models as the most attractive.

The 2011 survey findings also revealed that women of mixed race were considered the most beautiful women in the U.S., leading Allure to claim that the blonde ideal had been "dethroned" [source: Peterson]. Participants in the survey believe that increased diversity in the U.S. has led to this change. Still, it will be interesting to see how these findings reverberate around the world. For a long time, "whiteness" has ruled as a beauty ideal, leading many men and women of different ethnicities to bleach their skin with lightening creams. Even in stories and films, white has become associated with good and black with evil. Will beauty standards continue to open up to embrace different races of women? Time will tell.