This post is kind of a spin off of our class with Dr. Raley. Her talk mostly focused on gender stereotypes, things that society has dictated being "feminine", or "masculine". Why is it okay for a woman to act masculine, while men who act feminine are emasculated? We also talked about standards of beauty for women. As that standard rises for women, so it does for men. "Manscaping" is common in men - women today don't want a man with too much body hair. What I want to focus on here is that rising standard and how it's seen in the Hunger Games.
In the Districts, people don't worry about appearances, as staying alive and not starving death are so much more important; the Capitol also takes most fabric, so clothing is limited. When Katniss first gets to the Capitol, the three stylists have to do a "full body clean" to make her presentable enough to hand over to Cinna. Shaving and tweezing and waxing are just a few of the things the trio had to do to get her ready. Cinna then applied makeup, did her hair elaborately, and dressed her in a gown sure to impress the Capitol.
The men tributes too have to go through this process because of how high the standard of beauty in the Capitol is. In the Capitol everyone wears crazy clothes, dyes their hair - and even their skin - different bright colors, puts on crazy makeup. Not just women get so wild in their appearance, the men do too. High standards, born of so much excess, have reached insane heights in the Capitol, and every year they make sure every tribute who comes to die reaches those standards. Appearance wins tributes sponsors in the Capitol. Sponsors can save someone's life based on that first carriage ride, to put into perspective how important appearance is to them.
I don't think American standards of beauty will ever reach the crazy levels they did in the Capitol, but that's not to say that they aren't high. Men and women have a lot of pressure put on them every day to look and act a certain way. And I don't think that is ever going to change.