humans toxic obsession with looks

This week has been a crazy and hectic. One simply cannot imagine having 3 exams paper on three consecutive days. Oh well, I am thankful that I have got through it, but just slightly, okay not slightly, but in fact very disappointed because I didn’t feel that I did well.

Putting the exams, studying and revising aside, I have been thinking a lot about the topic of beauty these days. This topic did not just come up abruptly in my heads, instead it is a thing that people has been constantly reminding me of. The conclusion that I have come to is the very fact that I am very sick and disgusted by how obsess these people are with beauty.

Just a month ago, I met this guy in school through my new co-curriculum activity. Everything started off really nice and dainty. In fact, I quite like talking and enjoyed getting along with the person. I am not a loner in school, but it felt great thinking that one could have one more best friend. After getting along with this person for some time,  we got a little too comfortable with each other and this guy suddenly started talking about my looks out of nowhere. He wasn’t very direct in the way he speak, so he started off by mentioning how short I look and started joking about it. Being someone who is rather (I FEEL) opened minded, I wasn’t quite bothered about it and I just laughed it off. However, after some time, this guy started talking about my appearance and how he didn’t thought that I looked good. One day, he got really blunt and he briefly or accidentally, (I don’t really care, lol) mentioned how ugly he thought I was.

This is my first ever time I hear someone saying me ugly.

How am I suppose to feel? I don’t really know. It is not that I thought that I looked pretty, but I didn’t thought that I looked so bad that a person would feel inclined to say it in my face.

Prior to this, during my secondary and JC days, I didn’t care much about how I looked. All I knew was that being pretty, to me, means someone with a good heart, a good character and someone who is kind like an angel. Being pretty isn’t a very important thing in my life. Yes, even though researchers have shown that people who are prettier usually succeed better in life, I was doubtful and skeptical about it. After my experience with my friend, I have been thinking more about the topic of beauty. Since he mentioned that I didn’t looked pretty, then what does being pretty means?

According to what I have learnt from social psychology, there are actually certain traits that people look out for that determines beauty. So for women, being pretty mean having high cheek bones, big eyes, and sharp and long noses. But in general, for both sexes, being pretty or handsome means that one have a symmetrical face.

Also, I associated being pretty to being more popular and being more well-liked by people. Since the day we are born, we are naturally inclined and are more likely to look longer at pretty faces than ‘ordinary face’. Humans just have that fundamental attribution error to attribute pretty faces to good qualities. It is innate to all human being. Furthermore, just look at how the media portray all the celebrities who are pretty and leading perfect life, giving off the false impression and intensifying the false attribution that having good looks mean being a better person, with better and more desirable qualities.

This really frustrates me a lot because our thoughts and bias perception on beauty is so deep beyond the conscious level and we have to use so much brain energy to aware of our own bias. Also, I feel that it is really unfair that humans are being wired in such a disgusting manner. (Yes, even though it have it own potential benefit, but I personally feel that cons > pros)

Recently as I went back to Instagram, I started noting how social media users only like what is pleasing to the eyes. In Instagram posts, such as selfie or even group photos, large number of comments would just be like, ‘ woah, you look so pretty”, “chio sia”, “omg why u look so perfect”. These comments are seemingly harmless. The likes to pretty pictures may seem perfectly fine too. However, if one were to think deeper to this, it is actually a toxic obsession by people about having good looks.

Yes, good for you, good looking people who gain affirmation and positive remarks that could, possibly in one way or another helps you boost your self esteem and your self-confidence. Some people might feel that I am just kicking up a big fuss over the likes and the comments, and feel that I am looking to much into things. However, consider people who do not look so good and getting negative remarks for their appearance, this is not a joke or just any casual remark.

It is found that humans brains, once again, are hardwired to be negatively bias. One need to have at least 5 positive experience to wash or to balance off the effect of 1 negative experience. This means that we tend to focus more on negative incidents more than positive events. The potential effect on a person who is constantly being reminded of their looks can be very harmful. Firstly, the negative rumination about one’s look is likely to trigger anxiety when hanging out with other people, the heightened self-consciousness also makes it harder for one to form trusting relationship. It is also likely to cause depression because one constantly ruminates about the negative remarks being put onto oneself.

Therefore, I feel like it is really important for one to find one’s self-esteem and establish confidence out of the physical appearance. Right now, for me, I am still looking for different coping mechanism to deal with this heightened awareness about my looks. What I do for myself is to divert my attention on my looks and look at the other areas in my life that I am excelling in. Although this might not work sometimes, because I feel like I didn’t achieve a lot in life. But hey, every human life is worth it and to be able to get into NUS is already something right! (not sure if this sounds like I am in denial) Also, I am trying my very best to love myself for who I am, by saying something nice, by buying Gongcha and other good food for myself when I feel really bad.

Oh well, there are tons of strategies to cope with negativity, but I sincerely hope that people out there can be more aware of what they say and perhaps, love and appreciate the diversity, and human beyond just the looks. The fact that we are all humans makes us worth it no matter how we look.

okay I think I have ranted enough. lol bye.





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