The psychology of human appearance and fashion has been a topic of interest to me. As well as the effects of appearance to women.
As a fashion enthusiast and designer, I am led to indulge in researches on the fashion industry of Nigeria and beyond. A lot of Nigerians are of the opinion that fashion is frivolous. However we all know that appearances matter.
Why do appearances matter?
Why does it seem to matter more to the women than the men?
Is it society, psyche or nature?
Appearance To Women
It has always been a wonder to me how most woman declare that they feel better about themselves, after getting a makeover. I never truly understood the feeling until I got a makeover. The makeover was for my dinner, and sponsored by myself, might I add.
I wouldn’t lie and say that I didn’t feel awfully good about myself, because I did. I’m not someone with an inferiority complex or a low self-esteem (if I do say so myself). Every other day, I’m okay with the person I am. However, on that particular day, I felt really good about myself.
I used myself as an example to show how women are indeed, affected by their looks. Now, my concern is what is the reason for this?
It’s a popular belief that focus too much on their appearance, especially makeup, because they have insecurities. Some belief it’s as a result of the society. Well I think part of it is our natural make. Who we are. Our psyche.
While some people are susceptible to the opinions of people about them, there are others that aren’t so much so.
According to psychologytoday.com Why Women Feel Bad About Their Appearance
It is a well-established fact that women care more about their appearance than the men.
I want to approach this from different perspectives.
1. Body Shaming
Body shaming is a serious issue that affects mental and emotional health. It has been more prevalent of late.
According to an article by researchgate.net on Gender and Body Image
“Considerable evidence indicates that women feel significantly more shame about their bodies than men do”.
Moreover, “researchers have shown that when appearance is made especially salient (e.g., trying on a swimsuit in front of a mirror), women report significantly more body shame than men do”.
A woman would go through more of an emotional tumult when she’s body shamed than a man would. Appearance seems to be crucial to us.
2. Acceptance and Peer Pressure
It is observable to the regular eye that the males are more susceptible to pressure from their peers on issues such as drugs, sex, cultism, and the notion of ‘appearing’ larger than you are. In the Nigerian society, the amount of males indulging in some of the aforementioned activities far outnumbers the females.
When we come to the feminine gender, appearance hits home. A girl is easily pressurized to look a certain way than to do a certain thing. Moreover, some of us go to great heights to look ‘good’, like we belong, even when we don’t.
Also read: Peer Pressure
Pressure in appearance needs no dialogue to take place. A girl goes out with her squad, they are all dressed a certain way, and nobody needs to tell her that she’s the odd one out. She tells herself that and pressurizes herself, by herself to then belong. Then she becomes conscious, and wants to dress more like her friends.
Despite popular belief, women don’t always dress to impress men.Despite popular belief, women don't always dress up to impress men. Click To Tweet
3. Complex Composition of Body
Could it be that the complex composition of the woman’s body leads to the need to cater more for appearances?
The female body undergoes changes and happenings. It therefore, needs more care to look good. Is it safe to say then, that women are more conscious of their bodies partly because of their complex system?
4. Negative effects on Women
During my research, I came across a post on psychologytoday.com about how appearance focus negative effects on women.
According to their research,
When focus is on their looks, women (but not men) are viewed as (more) cold and incompetent, which more closely mimicks people’s attitudes toward homeless people.
Now, how many of you would agree with me that when women don’t look good, it is more of a problem than when men don’t?
For women, appearance is “central to how they are evaluated by others” (psychologytoday.com )
women could go through some heights to look better while there are very few men who would do that.
Darwin’s Sexual Selection theory is founded on ‘male-male competition and female choice’. He looked at what the men had, which didn’t exist in the women. These traits and features such as beards, deep voice, and broader shoulders were seen as a result of sexual selection in humans. However, women also possess some ornamental features too, or have created such brighter colours for themselves.
Could it be that unlike animals where the male species possess the brighter colours, in humans the females possess the brighter colours? Hence leading to a ‘female – female competition and male choice’.
Could society have that much power on us? Are we in a competition against ourselves about who has the brighter feathers? Or is it more of psyche, a natural aspect of our being?
Post by girleccentric
girleccentric is a fashion and personal style blog. It is owned by girleccentric — Ndukwe Favour. It features outfits and how to recreate them. There are also Fashion designing posts for the aspiring designer and ankara inspiration series.
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