These days, our society has an excessive interest in people’s appearance. The Internet is flooded with articles praising celebrities’ appearances, and there is a flurry of subway overthrow molding ads. The main portal sites are lined up with talks about beauty bloggers’ makeup, reviews of various cosmetic enhancement procedures, Cody tips, slimming hacks, and so much more. Having undergone cosmetic plastic surgery on the occasion of high school graduation and looking at your appearance to prepare for employment or a love affair has become not a surprise anymore today. Therefore, our world is indeed run by an “appearancism” society and is affecting many people’s mental health.
The media, particularly social media, seems to impose uniform aesthetic standards on the masses, and at some point, the masses compare and evaluate themselves to their surroundings in accordance with those criteria. A society where not everyone but ‘pretty people’ is treated with great respect. Just imagine how hard it is to love yourself as you are in this society. It’s often unfortunate that all attention is focused on the outside and the inner world is marginalized and you lose the opportunity to even think about your own values. This could gravely affect your mental health.
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If the obsession with appearance is too strong, it can also be on a pathological level. In this case, you go beyond simply worrying about external shortcomings (commonly referred to as complexes) to the point where you become overly engrossed and obsessed, repeat actions or thoughts related to your appearance, and eventually have problems with your social life. This is called a ‘body dysmorphic disorder.’ Depending on the culture, there are reports that in the United States, about 2 to 3 in 100 people have the disease, and in real dermatology, plastic surgery, etc., it can be well over 10 percent.
In addition to complaints and obsessions about appearance, it is often accompanied by depression or anxiety disorders, and sometimes extreme choices such as suicide. Therefore, in these cases, it is advisable to seek medical attention from a mental health department and start treatment.
The cause of the disease is not only in the social climate, but also in heredity, the biological characteristics of the individual, and the growth process. However, it is clear and frightening that our society, which is mainly “appearancism,” is contributing to this. It’s time for all of us to work so that each person can find their own beauty, not the aesthetic standards that society prescribes.