Due to formerly suffering from a high level of insecurity, I have a keen eye when it comes to detecting others who are self-conscious. I have encountered numerous of internally and externally gorgeous women with an ill mentality eating away at them. It’s extremely unfortunate as, although everyone else perceives them to be stunning, they have a different interpretation of themselves.
After I discovered the correlation between beauty and insecurity, I started to contemplate the reasoning behind it. Though many people may find this concept ludicrous… it’s entirely true: every individual possesses some level of insecurity within them, but psychology literature states it’s especially prevalent among beautiful women.
“She has everyone’s attention when she walks into a room, what does she have to be insecure about?”
But… that’s exactly it. Beautiful women are highly valued for their beauty. They’re constantly complimented, from a young age, that they’re beautiful and they grow accustomed to receiving these flattering words. They unintentionally begin to equate their value to their physical attributes because, for their whole life, that’s what society has valued them for.
In 2012, Melissa Lynn Hein wrote on her personal Penn State University website:
“We as human beings categorize people into categories when we first meet others. We can group them into attractiveness, friendly, smart, nicely dressed, successful, etc. This categorization is based upon our opinion of what we see, physical attractiveness of the other person, and our perception as to what physical attractiveness is to us, and whether we perceive that person as successful or not. This information that we gather about the other person when we first meet them is called primacy effect. Primacy effect is the tendency to be influenced by what information we gather first (Schneider, Gruman, & Coutts, 2012). This information can be physical attractiveness, what the person is wearing, whether they’re friendly, if we think they’re smart, whether we see them as successful etc. Primacy effect influences how we perceive an individual (Heing, 2012)”.
Therefore, we automatically (and maybe unintentionally) directly correlate positive attributes to physically attractive strangers.
Similarly, various scientific research prove that one’s physical appearance plays a enormous role in preferential treatment. As an attractive woman grows older, numerous of men will court her, society will treat her nicer, she’ll land a job or promotion with more ease than an average looking girl, etc. Humans are natural visual creatures and we’re attracted to those we deem to be aesthetically pleasing. “In a study of nearly 300 Dutch advertising agencies, economists found that firms with better looking executives had higher revenue. Overall productivity, and resulting sales, were greater in companies with more attractive managers, partly because firms with more attractive workers have the competitive advantage when client interactions are involved” (Spector, 2013). Similar to Hein’s conclusion above, studies clearly show that we subconsciously parallel a beautiful person with other glossy characteristics: confident, intelligent, kind, successful, etc.
Is it justifiable for us to hold beautiful people to such a favoritism mentality pedestal? Is the Dutch study above proclaiming that if these high executives were no longer beautiful, the client interactions would not be as promising; therefore, these companies’ revenues wouldn’t be as high?
As a result of society recognizing them for their exterior beauty and automatic positive personality attributes, attractive women have such a high standard to abide by and maintain. The general public expects them to retain their beauty, which not only takes a great deal of effort, but it’s an intense amount of pressure. From counting calories, forcing oneself to hit the gym when you’re dead tired, weekly manicures and hours of preparation before stepping out of the house…it’s a great deal of work. Beautiful women tend to be perfectionists who, even if they’re aware they’re beautiful, have a deep insecurity and urge to stay in control and maintain their image.
Any physical flaw that a beautiful women possess is magnified because she’s a showstopper—if she isn’t feeling up to par one day, her confidence is subdued. Women are constantly given rewards and identified for their looks; a big portion of this gender group’s confidence coincides with their image. Good looking women believe their exterior make up a vast portion of their identity.
To a beautiful woman, losing her beauty means losing her value.
This fear of loss causes these women to seek constant attention to validate their beauty. Society might perceive this as being needy and vain, but if one were to look at it from a different perspective, one may empathize that it’s her insecurity that drives her need for everyone’s approval. Are we to blame for their desire for constant approval?
I have a beloved cousin who is insanely gorgeous-a natural beauty, indeed, but she ups up her look by committing to an extremely strict regime. Weekly french manicures because she refuses to have chipped nails, $100 weekly eyelash extension touch ups, a strict 800 calorie per day diet, wearing custom designed dresses, etc. She is extraordinarily high maintenance, but because of her looks (alongside her powerful business mentality) she has rightfully earned an endless list of life accomplishments. Although she is well aware that she is physically attractive, there is a constant insecurity in her that I could easily perceive. It is heartbreaking watching someone so intelligent, motivated, diligent and accomplished…be so incredibly harsh on herself.
Ladies: let’s all strive to possess a well-rounded identity. Aim to be not only externally beautiful, but a wide range of positive qualities: compassionate, strong, educated, empathetic, etc. That way, even when we feel our looks aren’t “on point”, we have many other characteristics that shine through. Yes, society favors individuals who are beautiful but, moreover, it favors those with a personality worth being around. We all hold qualities that make us distinctive; we should celebrate those qualities, instead of dwelling on our external flaws.
Hein, M. L. (2012, December 9). Attractive People Are Better. Retrieved December 26, 2016, from http://www.personal.psu.edu/bfr3/blogs/asp/2012/12/attractive-people-are-better.html
Noceti, D. (2009, December 3). You are beautiful [Blog post]. Retrieved from http://diviningthewords.blogspot.com/2009_12_01_archive.html
Sammuel, J. (2013, January 11). Why are beautiful women so insecure [Blog post]. Retrieved from http://psychologyofdating.net/why-are-beautiful-women-so-insecure/
Schneider, F., J. Gruman, L. Coutts. (2012). Applied Social Psychology: Understanding and Addressing Social and Practical Problems. Second edition. Sage: Los Angeles, CA.
So young, so beautiful, so insecure: Few women appreciate their looks when they’re in full bloom. Here three relive old insecurities in letters to their anxious young selves. (2013, April 11). Retrieved from http://www.capitalbay.com/uk/329466-so-young-so-beautiful-so-insecure-few-women-appreciate-their-looks-when-they-re-in-full-bloom-here-three-relive-old-insecurities-in-letters-to-their-anxious-young-selves.html
Spector, D. (2013, June 12). SCIENCE 8 Scientifically Proven Reasons Life Is Better If You’re Beautiful. Retrieved December 26, 2016, from http://www.businessinsider.com/studies-show-the-advantages-of-being-beautiful-2013-6
Edited by: Zoe
Edited by: Alice