Beauty, Lookbook

Why are women so obsessed with the way they look?

And how can we combat an image obsessed society while instilling confidence in our natural beauty?

Will I ever be slim? I wish I was curvy. Why doesn’t my body have that hourglass shape? My bum just looks flat as a pancake in these jeans. My boobs are so small; I look like a boy. I don’t feel comfortable wearing short tops or dresses; everyone will see my thunder thighs. With a round chubby face, I look like a school girl. My bulbous big nose just takes over my whole face. Thin lips, sparsely haired eyebrows, and thin eyelashes. Enlarged pores, spots, and visible facial hair.

Why couldn’t I wake up with the perfect face?

The cherry on the cake is the various portable screens at hand constantly reinforcing what women should look like. Click To Tweet

The creation of this obsession over the way women should look and the consequent insecurities experienced by women stems from mass media. Television, offline/online publications, and social media have created and further fed into this standard of an ‘ideal’ beauty. Actresses and models are either perfectly slim or curvaceous. They are only thicker or quirky looking if the role or campaign requires them to be.

Even on YouTube, an outlet which is supposed to be made up of ordinary people, many (especially beauty gurus) represent this perfectly groomed image. Beauty, skincare, clothing, perfume, and other companies profit by using the ideal looks of celebrities and models to highlight the inadequacies within ordinary women. Makeup, lighting, photo re-touching, clever positioning, and camera angles further add to this illusion of an ideal standard of beauty. The cherry on the cake is the various portable screens at hand constantly reinforcing what women should look like.

The appearance of actresses, female celebrities, and models across this media also sends the message of what is considered attractive by men. It screams that if you look a certain way, you will get positive attention from men. So, in order to be considered desirable, you must meet this ideal standard of beauty. All the various outlets are constantly bombarding women with this one message. This informs the societal norm, adding a further pressure upon women on having to strive to look a specific way in order to be attractive to men.

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Focusing only on the external appearance of women sends another message. The only valuable thing a woman can offer is her looks. Ultimately, a woman’s worth is attached to her level of attractiveness. If women meet this ideal standard of beauty, only then will society accept them as valuable and give them the permission to hold a positive sense of self-worth.

How can we stop the obsession of the appearance of women and exchange insecurity with empowerment? Click To Tweet

How can we combat these messages sent by mass media and consequent societal pressure? How can we stop the obsession of the appearance of women and exchange insecurity with empowerment?

Equipping women with a confident and positive view of their self-image begins in the home. Parents need to discuss what is shown on TV, magazines and social media so that from a young age, girls understand how unrealistic and manipulated the images are. Complimenting daughters, reinforcing an appreciation of how they look and maintaining an open dialogue will help to challenge issues that arise due to body-image.

The most crucial step, however, is to emphasize the value of their inner qualities. How well you treat people; strive to be a good person; realize and develop skills; help others – especially those who are less fortunate; and live with meaning and to your full potential are much more important than their looks and others perceptions of their looks. Providing such crucial building blocks at a young age will instill an additional confidence. That young girl will grow up to become that vital force, challenging damaging messages and the views and insecurities of other women.

Women need to support one another and shatter the illusions of beauty and attractiveness. Click To Tweet

For us now, we women also need to take responsibility. Women shouldn’t shame others about the way they look. We should be the last to point out an external flaw in another woman. We do not need to further reaffirm the standards and the feelings of insecurity that are being put upon us by society.

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There is so much natural variety in the looks of women. This difference needs to be celebrated and appreciated. All women cannot fit into one box. Women need to support one another and shatter the illusions of beauty and attractiveness. For instance, when you hear a friend pointing out what she feels is a flaw, positively challenge her and show her the real beauty you see in her.

I am done obsessing over how I look and how others may negatively perceive me. I am done feeling insecure. I am not going to let any external force dictate what I should look like and how I should feel about the way I look.

The way I look is not solely for the pleasure of men.

I love how I look for me.

And I am beautiful!

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