Is There Too Much Pressure on Females to Have Perfect Bodies and Appearance

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Wearing branded clothes, a pair of stylish sneaker and putting on some make-up may boost your confidence in our society these days. However, despite your incredible sense of fashion, you can still be a victim of discrimination if you cannot meet the beauty standards set by other people in this society. Yet, people still strive for ‘perfection’ by buying and wearing overpriced attire. This continues to grow rapidly, causing people to spend extravagantly for superficial purposes. Additionally, due to the major changes in our social perceptions of beauty, overcoming these hashing challenges has become as hard as NASA getting to Mars. Nonetheless, there is still a hope to put an end to this trend; we should adapt to an appreciative attitude towards our own body image. So Is there too much pressure on females to have a perfect bodies and appearance?

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Since the age of social media, phones have become a vital part of our daily lives. As we are constantly accessing and surfing through social media, we can foresee the continually changing trends of ideal appearance. These trends of ‘perfection’ set an unreachable standard leading youth to behave or dress in a certain way.

False Advertising is a great example of supporting the unrealistic expectation of individuals. Ranging from paper-sheet size waists and enlarged breasts to flawless skin and killer contour to silky hair to sparkling eyes, airbrushing photoshop is done in a majority of the commercials. I can undoubtedly ensure that more than half of the photos of models in the front cover of magazines have filtered through hours and hours of photoshopping. Despite this, we are still inspired by these false impending beauty advertisements on a daily basis -which causes us to feel pressure to own a ‘perfect’ appearance.

Wanting a curvy body like Kylie Jenner and an athletic body like Jennifer Lopez is almost as impossible as the sun rising from the west. Nonetheless, the developments in technologies have fulfilled the desire of becoming a carbon copy of their favourite idols. The most common shortcut to get the “stereotypical visual”, such as thin but curvy and healthy, is plastic surgery. Take Korea as an example, the global plastic surgery capital, where 1 out of 3 girls has gone through a surgical operation. This rapidly increases the surrounding citizens’ interests and influences them to take the same actions. Moreover, in South Korea it’s as essential as water to have good looks; since an attractive picture of yourself in the resume is likely to increase your chance of getting employed. Therefore, in some cases, people tend to change their unique appearances just to feel accepted by society. Thus, a line of segregation between being beautiful and being normal are drawn. This is exemplified by women in the working industry who face stress and strain, in order to achieve a perfect look to be employed.

Additionally, body shaming and discrimination are becoming habits in the day-to-day lives of people in the world. This leads people to have depression, anxiety, and insecurity. This type of occasion normally occurs on social media where you can easily become a victim of body shaming by reading all those comments on your photos or profile. A study found that 28.2% of 16 - 24 years old have a mental health condition, with one in four females experiencing anxiety, depression or obsessive-compulsive disorder. These people are found to have extremely low self-esteem and engage themselves in a precarious path such as suicide, self-harm or taking drugs. Nevertheless, an investigation from NYC girl’s project stated that “1 in 4 women between the ages of 16 - 22 have an eating disorder”. This could be caused by the desperate desire to lose weight, leading females to intake a limited amount of food and nutrients. This can have negative effects on their bodies both physically and mentally.

In conclusion, enduring the pain and hunger to achieve the ‘ideal type of body’ or self-satisfaction for one’s look can never be achieved since the trends keep changing like we change our clothes. It is clear that there is a lot of pressure on females to have a perfect appearance, either because of false advertising, social surroundings or body discrimination. These factors can easily influence teenagers and females to take risky and harmful activities, leading to dangerous and hazardous paths. However, all of these problems can be overcome by building an appreciative attitude towards ourselves, regardless of our own size, shape and overall appearances. This way we can all live our lives without any concerns about our image.

Works cited

  1. Cash, T. F., & Pruzinsky, T. (Eds.). (1990). Body images: Development, deviance, and change. Guilford Press.
  2. Kilbourne, J. (2015). Killing us softly 4: Advertising’s image of women. Media Education Foundation.
  3. Peiss, K. (1998). Hope in a jar: The making of America's beauty culture. University of Pennsylvania Press.
  4. Tiggemann, M., & Slater, A. (2014). NetGirls: The Internet, Facebook, and body image concern in adolescent girls. International Journal of Eating Disorders, 47(6), 630-643.
  5. Holland, G., & Tiggemann, M. (2017). A systematic review of the impact of the use of social networking sites on body image and disordered eating outcomes. Body Image, 23, 148-156.
  6. Shroff, H., & Thompson, J. K. (2006). The tripartite influence model of body image and eating disturbance: A replication with adolescent girls. Body Image, 3(1), 17-23.
  7. King, M. B., & Vidourek, R. A. (2018). Social media and body image concerns among adolescents: A literature review. Journal of School Nursing, 34(1), 41-47.
  8. Swami, V., & Furnham, A. (2012). The influence of body weight on social network ties among adolescents. Journal of Community & Applied Social Psychology, 22(6), 516-524.
  9. Schaefer, L. M., Burke, N. L., Thompson, J. K., Dedrick, R. F., Heinberg, L. J., Calogero, R. M., & Bardone-Cone, A. M. (2018). Development and validation of the Sociocultural Attitudes Towards Appearance Questionnaire-4 (SATAQ-4). Psychological Assessment, 30(1), 54-67.
  10. Nagata, J. M., Gower, A. L., Golden, N. H., & Murray, S. B. (2020). The rise of eating disorders in Asia: a review. Journal of Eating Disorders, 8(1), 1-10.

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