Obsession With Beauty: This Is How It Parasites Our Minds

The obsession with beauty is a phenomenon that permeates everything in our lives, regardless of how we see ourselves. In fact, even if we are satisfied with our appearance, it can limit us and undermine our well-being.

The reason for this is that it has a social component and an emotional component. As a social phenomenon, aesthetics have great relevance in determining what is popular and what is not, what may be attractive from a marketing point of view, and what will be cornered in the market. And as an emotional phenomenon, it influences our self-esteem and our way of judging people.

What is meant by obsession with beauty?

We live in a time in which the external image is so important that it has come to condition our lives. The obsession with beauty is nothing new ; However, in a hyperconnected world, social networks and television have enhanced this concern to maintain a physical perfectionism that is worrying both for its social and psychological impact.

And in a world in which we are subjected daily to an incredible amount of stimuli (advertising, series, publications on social networks, etc.), the lack of time must be compensated for by ways of filtering what interests us. And what is the fastest way to do it? Judging aesthetics, appearances. Hence the obsession with beauty has become a kind of parasite that directs our goals and motivations both individually and collectively; each of us feed it.

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At Northwestern University they have determined that the obsession with beauty It has become a kind of social disease, something similar to a psychological disorder. Specifically, they have noticed that women suffer such pressure from their external image that they are statistically more likely to think obsessively about their image, comparing it to that of others.

In the words of Renee Engeln, professor of psychology and director of the Body and Media Lab department, this obsession with beauty makes women invest all their energy in pretend what they are not and please the public instead of focusing on other goals such as professional or intellectual development, to name a few examples.

The image industry and aesthetic products are, to a large extent, responsible for the obsession with beauty. Feminist groups and organizations, as well as researchers, ensure that these types of companies distort women’s perception of their physical beauty

Obsession with beauty canoes

Some alarming data

According to some sociological studies in which Renee Engeln herself has participated, 82% of adolescent women spend a lot of time comparing their bodies to those of models and celebrities On the other hand, 70% of adult women claim to feel better valued and considered when they have made an effort to look like those media models.

Within this same group of women, different conclusions have been drawn. Women obsessed with beauty are much more likely to present symptoms of depression, eating disorders and great desire to undergo surgical operations to change your image.

Another fact that reinforces concerns about beauty and perfection is that on average, women have up to a total of 35 different beauty products at home, and they invest no less than 50 minutes a day to prepare before going out. street.

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The obsession with beauty: barrier to equality

Renee Engeln goes further and aggravates the problem to the social sphere. When we carefully analyze what any woman spends part of her time and economic resources on “being pretty” versus what the male sex invests on the same thing, we find a gender problem and equality between both

When the weather woman spends an hour of her work getting her hair done and doing a makeup session and the male colleague spends only ten minutes, you have to stop and ask yourself: what’s going on here?

Does this problem affect men?

It would be very simplistic and hypocritical to say that beauty problems only affect women. Men are also concerned about their appearance, they receive pressure to be handsome and are conditioned by some stereotypes.

Now, if someone compares the level of obsession with beauty, they will realize that there is a big gap between both sexes And this is very easy to measure; It is only necessary to compare the number of plastic surgeries that women undergo with that of men.

When we find 80-90 percent of women who undergo a high-risk operation for life and health, compared to the remaining 20-10 percent who are men, there is no doubt in stating that this problem It affects women unequally.

Is there any solution to the problem?

It is a difficult question to answer. The real problem is that the obsession with beauty It’s a cultural problem It is not a physical pathology, nor a simple wrong choice made individually. Solving this problem would not consist so much in changing the routines of the person who suffers from this obsession; We must transform culture and reject that absurd idea of ​​feminine perfection, of the ideology of the angelic princess. One can “kill” the messenger, but one cannot kill the message.

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Clearly there is a solution, but the problem We must combat it at its roots, with education and raising awareness in society as a whole. As with other psychosocial problems, change can occur by making some small gestures, small actions. If many people join in on these small changes, a cultural shift can occur, a shift in values ​​and ideas.

How do you get started with these changes? Both on an individual level (stop fighting to see yourself less than others, less attractive than the leading actress of the film) and on a collective level (publicly reject the use of the role of “vase woman”, for example). We must change, above all, the way we speak, the type of conversation.

As has been mentioned from the beginning, the obsession with beauty is exaggerated in social technological media (social networks) such as Instagram, Facebook or Twitter. Before posting a photo and seeking public acceptance, We must ask ourselves why we do it