Body Image why do Women try so Hard

It seems that women have always been defined by their physicality. Whereas women can find a man attractive because of his wealth, power, and humour, men tend to be attracted to good-looking women rather than because of any of their other less superficial attributes. This may or may not be the case but this attitude certainly informs the way in which women present themselves. Even if they are not actively seeking to attract the attentions of men, women are constantly aware that they are judged much more harshly for not looking their best than men.

Women are more likely to undergo plastic surgery in order to make themselves look good breast enlargement, facelifts, tummy tucks all sought in attempt to obtain the perfect body. What is perfection, though? If the magazines and tabloid newspapers are to be believed, perfection is uniform. Everyone is tall, slim, with a reasonably sized chest, flawless skin, completely straight white teeth, and the list goes on. Quirks and little peculiarities are not looked on favourably, and so is it any wonder that women are constantly striving to reach this ideal. After all, these ‘perfect’ celebrities are the epitome of success, thus helping women make the connection between looking good and fulfilling their own ambitions.

It is even more difficult for women as they get older. Whilst older men are regarded as ‘distinguished’ and can still attract younger women (it’s because of all that wealth and power older men have, clearly!), older women are seen as old. If they can no longer have children then they no longer need to attract a man, or so the perception goes.

Things have gradually started to change as high-profile older women have been attracting younger men, such as in the case of Demi Moore and Ashton Kutcher. However, these women have had all the advantages which money brings, being able to spend a lot of money on their appearance, and so they don’t exactly look their age. Consequently there is perception that older women can be beautiful, as long as they look younger than their years.

It is this mentality which feeds into wider society and encourages women to put this kind of pressure on themselves, despite the fact that they don’t necessarily have the time and money that celebrities do to spend on their appearance. Nevertheless, there are plenty of products for women to choose from to help preserve and enhance their looks, and clearly it helps the cosmetics industry to portray ‘beauty’ in a certain way in order to attract customers.

If women think they can look like the ‘beautiful people’ by spending their money on the latest creams, ointments and make-up, then they don’t see the harm, but it simply perpetuates an unrealistic level of expectation of what women can achieve from their looks. It seems that women are their own worst enemies when it comes to looking good.