The pressure of being “pretty” seems to increase from generation to generation. From way back in the 1920s, with Clara Bow who was the original “it Girl”, American society seemed to be obsessed with looking and feeling externally beautiful. American society seems to send a message, especially to girls and women, that being pretty is what makes you matter. One of America’s most notorious symbol of beauty was 1950s actress Marilyn Monroe. Her blonde hair and white silhouette that showed off her curves made her one of the most famous beauty icons to this day. But Marilyn Monroe was also known for her troubled childhood that lead to her suffering that eventually lead to her death by an overdose.
Her mother suffered from severe paranoid schizophrenia, and spent most of her life in institutions which caused her to neglect her daughter (biography.com). Marilyn was raised in 12 different foster homes and worried that her mother’s illness was hereditary (dailymail.co.uk). She suffered from loneliness, sexual abuse, and neglect as a child. Studies done today, on Marilyn’s psychological state suggest that she suffered from borderline personality disorder (dailymail.co.uk). She was known for her sex appeal with men, in which she looked for love and (dailymail.co.uk). But she was also known to lash out at those close to her and she also battled substance abuse(dailymail.co.uk). Her struggles with mental illness, substance abuse, loneliness, and unhappiness eventually lead to her death by an overdose of barbiturates at the young age of 36 (history.com). Her death was ruled as a probable suicide (history.com). Why was the world so interested in Marilyn Monroe’s sex appeal and beauty, but ignored the emotional battle she has with herself.
What is it about someone’s looks that makes us automatically attracted to them. This is not just true about people, but also about our choice for objects. In our materialistic society, we are attracted to everything that we consider pretty. With the old saying “diamonds are a girls best friend”, we choose things based on what it looks like and emphasize this more than the object’s use and effectiveness. Why are we so attracted to beauty? Of course beauty can be negative and positive. Feeling beautiful can help boost self-esteem and quality of life, but it can also create judgements about people who are beautiful and who are not beautiful. Beautiful women are thought to be likable, financially successful, and happy. But what we don’t realize is that beauty is only a small part of who a person is.
Success should be something that is obtained from hard work and skills that someone has. Studies have show that attractive people are usually hired sooner, get promotions faster, and are paid more than non attractive people (businessinsider.com). What this tells young people who are the next generation in the work field is that is you are not considered “pretty” you have little chance to be successful no matter how hard you try or how qualified you are. Change starts with you, the next time you are looking for an object or see a person that you consider to be pretty, look for these qualities:
1. Personality: in the case of an object this would be the quality of the object.
2. Skills: for an object this would be its effectiveness
3. Morality: For an object this would be its use
About the Author:
Nicole is a psychology student at the University of Central Florida. She has always had a passion for psychology and helping people overcome the challenges in their loves. She especially has a passion for working with children and families. She plans on continuing on to receive her PhD in clinical psychology specializing in children and their development.