Am I Pretty?


Sydney Hancock

THE COSTS OF OBSESSING OVER LOOKS: A look into all the work that goes into looking presentable in society, and the toxicity of judging someone solely based on how they look when they are born.

Bettina Sanford, Staff Writer

When you look up the word ‘beautiful’ on Google, the first definition that pops up is, “Having beauty; possessing qualities that give great pleasure or satisfaction to see, hear, or think about.” But when you ask someone what makes a person beautiful, the answer may vary from person to person. Each individual’s view of an attractive person is dependent on life experiences, preferences, and how they were raised. When meeting someone new, the first thing you notice about them is how they look. I would be lying if I said I do not judge people and form opinions based on their appearance. The fact of the matter is that it is our basic human nature to make assumptions, but this is not necessarily always a good thing.

The global beauty industry is worth about $532 billion, and is continually growing faster today than ever before. Although it constantly allows people to feel good about themselves and even increases confidence, some might say that it profits on people’s insecurities. Freshman Vivian Garcia said, “I feel like a lot of makeup is not needed but that is just something someone may do to feel good about themselves.” One reason people might want to alter the way they look is due to how they want others to view them. They might not like or agree with what people think about them and want others to see them in a more positive light.

With the rise of social media, people have more access to information than ever before. And not just to informative documents but to other people as well. It is a battleground of everyone trying to outdo each other, to make their lives seem more entertaining and themselves more happy, and have everything be perfect. Celebrities like Kylie Jenner and her sister Kim Kardashian have set unrealistic expectations for a woman’s body. Senior Oliver Dyrhsen said, ““I think they are achievable but in some instances, they are very unrealistic because everybody’s body is very different and how they look is different.” An hourglass figure although attainable for some is taken to the extreme in their builds. With her breasts big, waist extremely tiny, and a large bust, Kylie has concealed the fact that she has had work done and is sporting a ‘natural look.’ However, in reality, she has gone under the knife several times. Sophomore Mandilyn Coleman said, “These expectations are unrealistic because a lot of what is in right now deals with what you are born with and that is unachievable. Even body wise staying skinny deals a lot with food and exercise and a lot of people just do not have the funds to access healthy food or even time, they might work a lot and find it hard to find time to exercise.” Meanwhile, freshman William Gannon said, “For someone with a birth defect, I can see how it is more reasonable to get it, but if your nose is somewhat off center or something like that, it is your personal choice to change that imperfection.”

This can be toxic for young girls who look up to women like Kylie Jenner, wanting their body, but not realizing it would take surgery to achieve. New trends hit our explore pages every day whether it be clothes, makeup, food, or body shape. With your body, you can alter how you look, but only to an extent if you choose to do so naturally. Going to the gym and changing your diet will only do so much, because in the end, how you are shaped comes down to one thing: genetics.

Trends are also extremely expensive. One bottle of foundation at Ulta can reach a price of up to sixty dollars, Lululemon leggings are typically ninety-eight dollars, and fruits at the store can be pricey, too. Junior Ethan Medeiros said, “If you are born into a family with a lot of money, it is easier for you to follow trends.”

In terms of your body, changing the way you look would take time, and it is not something that will change overnight. Senior Olivia Sager said, “If someone has something they want to change then so be it, but I think it is also important to recognize people are still going to judge you no matter what it is just basic human nature.”

But some individuals seek fast results, which can be detrimental to one’s health. Obsessing over food and workout regimes can lead to an eating disorder, which is becoming more common. A Medium Corporation wrote that research done by Heather R. Gallivan, a psychologist specializing in eating disorder therapy, says that we start to compare ourselves to others at as early as 4 years old, and that the age of six is “when sociocultural factors seem to start influencing body dissatisfaction.” The study concluded that of the surveyed people, “Thirty-four percent of men and 80 percent of women are dissatisfied with their bodies and over 50 percecnt of teen girls and 30 percent of teen boys use unhealthy weight control behaviors.” Along with that, “ninety percent of girls ages 13–17 feel pressure by fashion and media industries to be skinny.”

It is important to know the signs of an eating disorder in order to know what to look out for. If you or a loved one are showing signs, it is essential to contact a medical specialist. Although you can see the signs, a doctor is the only one who can properly diagnose the patient with the disorder. Most notably is if you see the individual constantly obsess over food, if their behavior changes, if they have distorted beliefs about their body size, they seem to have a hard time focusing or are always tired. More obvious signs are if they disappear to the toilet after meals or they have started to exercise excessively.

In the end, it is not about what you wear, drive, or how you look that makes you beautiful. It is a combination of who you are and what you choose to do with how you see yourself, that will make you stand out from others. Sophomore Bryce Pacheco put it like this: “Beauty found  in someone who takes pride in the way that they look.” So be active but do not feel bad about skipping one day or multiple, and you can eat healthy but do not stress over treating yourself to the so-called ‘bad food.’ Everyone will have a different opinion about what they think is beautiful, so stay true to yourself because you need to love yourself before you can love others.