Women and their looks

Are women expected to look a certain way?

Why There Is a Growing Pressure for Women to Look a Certain Way

In today’s society looks are everything. Women are expected to have model looks, a career and bring up a family. Sometimes this pressure can cause women to have lower confidence and self-esteem. Many take action to combat this, either changing their lifestyle or even having plastic surgery. Breast implants are increasing in popularity with UK women; some are even seeking out low risk breast enlargement in Turkey to boost their confidence and their cup size. But where has this growing pressure to look good come from?

The Growing Popularity of Social Media

Everyone has a Facebook account, an Instagram page and a twitter profile these days.  It’s estimated that most of us spend an average of two hours a day on social media sites. For teens this is much higher, with most spending up to nine hours a day online. This amount of exposure to images of ideal figures and dream lifestyles leads to comparison. While it’s important to remember that what we see online is a highlight real, and most of those bikini shots have been edited and posed, this sort of sharing raises expectations for women to look a certain way. Phrases used online like ‘#body goals’ are usually attached to only one type of figure which increases pressure to fit the mould.

Advertising & the Media

Advertising and mass media have very similar impacts to social media. An idealised lifestyle and body type is repeatedly pictured in advertising and across magazine covers creating pressure for women to meet these impossible standards. Girls as young as seven are reported to have body confidence issues. The beauty industry promotes products which draw on people’s insecurities in order to sell products. The advertising of these products is often deceiving. Skin care products are notorious for being advertised by women with seemingly perfect skin. In reality these images have been digitally edited and are modelled by someone wearing a full face of makeup. To reduce the pressure to look a certain way women need to see those who look like themselves in campaigns. Some top beauty brands such as Dove have started to lead diversity campaigns, which feature a more representative selection of real women, but there is still a long way to go.

Lack of Visible Role Models

Although there are more female role models than ever, there is a lack of representation for women in sport and other professions. While reality TV shows, which depict an unrealistic view of life, are given a lot of air time there is a lack of women’s sport shown on TV. Magazines only focus on female celebrities. In a study of girls aged between seven and twenty-one it was found that very few could name a female business woman. Those who were named were the women who also have celebrity status, such as Karen Brady. This lack of role models places the emphasis for women on their appearance, rather than their skillset or achievements.

Poppy Watt