Jezebel did an op-ed piece about a TODAY/AOL study examining the amount of time that women spend on their own appearance/in front of the mirror. The study found that women spend an average of two weeks out of every year spending time on their appearance. The study also found that 60 percent of women have negative thoughts about their own appearance every week. That’s a significant chunk of time spent fretting about one’s looks, and is charged by an undercurrent of self-criticism and lack of self-esteem.
Of course, this information is really nothing new.
We’ve all heard about the unfair standards set for women by the media, and by our society in general. We’re expected to always look our best, to always look pretty and composed and put-together. There’s nothing wrong with trying to look your best, the issue rises when you become obsessive about your looks, or when you become overly critical of yourself and let that self-criticism derail your happiness and self-confidence.
Men also spend quite a lot of time worrying about their physical appearance, but the numbers pale in comparison to women. So why is there still this dichotomy?
Well it’s hard to say – younger women worry more than older women, that’s for sure – Jezebel points out that this may be as a result of the increasing requirement to have a social media presence. Gotta look good in that mirror selfie, right?
So basically this is an age-old issue that potentially has worsened, and continues to worsen, because of the ever-increasing visibility of social media and the more pervasive use of techniques like airbrushing and Photoshop to artificially enhance pictures of women in the media.
I’m definitely guilty of over-worrying about my appearance. I spend a lot of time thinking about what clothes I’m going to wear, how people will perceive me based on my looks. It’s unfair that people are pressured into behaving this way, but then again, that’s the road that our society has gone down. I think its perfectly fine to be self-aware, and to spend some time making sure you’re happy with the way you look. It’s when you beat yourself up over perceived misconceptions that the problems start surfacing…
For further information about the study, visit Jezebel, or here’s the link the the initial findings on Today.