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Are You Attractive Enough? How We Let Society Define it for Us through the Media and Body Image

Abercrombie and Fitch doesn’t stock XL or XXL sizes for their women’s clothing.


“It’s almost everything. That’s why we hire good-looking people in our stores. Because good-looking people attract other good-looking people, and we want to market to cool, good-looking people. We don’t market to anyone other than that,” Abercrombie & Fitch CEO Mike Jeffries said in a 2006 interview with Salon.

Meaning if you are fat or ugly, you’re out. In his terms. What a douchebag. Read more here

Anyway, that is the often sad but true case. We are constantly bombarded with images of what we are supposed to look like , what to wear, the latest trends… It’s really one after another. Are we such shallow citizens of the world that we base one’s worth on their appearance more than we ought to?

Sometimes I do feel guilty as charged, especially when I hanker for things I know I don’t need. Coming back from Vietnam where I ventured out to do some trekking in Sapa, I feel immensely thankful for what I have. We like to make jokes of #firstworldproblems, or complain about superficial things like Mcdonalds having no stock for their recent Hello Kitty Promotion. Seriously!? Why do we complain so much? Don’t even get me started.

Some even agonise on how they can get the latest “it” bag, designer threads, car, property, etc….. It’s really quite sad.

I think despite being in a technologically advanced part of the world, we are increasingly being desensitized to situations of the not so fortunate.

Size Matters

In a study by the University of Nore Dame, women who engage in “fat talk” — the self-disparaging remarks girls and women make in relation to eating, exercise or their bodies — are less liked by their peers. Why do they do that? Put themselves down that is. It’s not healthy.

But I see this all the time. I was at the chiropractor’s for my weekly visit and would always see this school girl who goes for her treatment too and she would always make derogatory remarks about herself all the time. I felt so bad for her, especially when she would always lament at how it wasn’t fair that she didn’t have nice eyes or a pretty face. She would blurt out :” I am so ugly and stupid” to whoever talked to her. Every week. If you are feeling like that at the age of 13, I can only imagine what other teenage girls are thinking as well.

The problem? Media and body image

Unrealistic expectations and media influence. Not everyone looks like a Victoria Secret Model (maybe only 1% of the entire world) or the winner of Man Hunt. Moreover, images on the cover of magazines are photoshopped and manipulated to look perfect so that sales will go up. If you look at some of the women’s magazines around, almost a third of the pages are advertisements so of course, that’s where the revenue is. 

My point is,we are so exposed to think that what we see is “normal” and we strive to achieve it not knowing that the images are made to look perfect. 

Check out some of these celebrities who were photoshopped. Full list here

So you see, they are not perfect after all. They have wrinkles, fat and other body imperfections just like we do. 

Don’t get me wrong. There is nothing wrong in wanting to look better, I do too and yes, it’s good to manage your weight but when you do it because you want to fit into the definition of what society thinks is the perfect size even though you look absolutely fine, then there is cause for concern. Or when you feel utterly miserable and unaccepted because you think you don’t look good enough then…. stop. Because you are beautiful the way God created you to be. 

Some positivity is needed

Recently, a store in Sweden started using plus sized mannequins for their store. Their facebook page has since garnered thousands of likes with encouraging comments that mannequins should reflect the “real” sizes of women and not display a “standard” size of what a woman should be.

plus sized mannequins

I also applaud Dove for their recent campaign, watch the video below. In short, the difference between how women portray themselves and how strangers described them differed greatly. This is proof that we are our worst critic.

Although I don’t think the problem will go away anytime soon, more and more people are getting plastic surgery, it’s scary!  I am glad that more awareness is being promoted. There are days where I do feel unattractive, lousy and it affects me but I am learning that self esteem is not built on what society expects of us but how we value ourselves and that who I am is just not only how I look but what’s in me that counts the most.

Here are some inspirational quotes and posters I found:

positive image quotes

positive image quotes 1

positive image guide

Thanks for reading! 

If you enjoyed it, I would love to hear from you guys! Share your tips or thoughts by leaving a comment or dropping me a line using the contact form or simply give me some encouragement by liking offshewent on Facebook here:)




2 thoughts on “Are You Attractive Enough? How We Let Society Define it for Us through the Media and Body Image”

  1. Elvin says:

    You know, your article sent my mind spinning now I gotta write a whole new post just to cover it -_-

    1. Sheryl Goh says:

      Uh uh, is that a good or bad thing?

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