Are people too obsessed with the way they look?
Some people do appear to be obsessed with the way they look, but who can blame them? Actors have to look good if they want to keep getting work, and it is not surprising the most successful of them will use products and services that are way out of an ordinary person’s price range. They are prepared to spend a fortune on specialist ‘treatments’ that will supposedly help them stay looking young or enable them to drop a dress size or two, and some will go as far as to have surgery, though few would actually admit to doing so. However, this obsession with looks has extended beyond the superficial industries of modelling and acting, so that ordinary people are looking for ways to improve their appearance, even if they can’t really afford to do so.
Most people regard their appearance as an investment, and perhaps they are right since those who are young, slim and attractive tend to have an easier time in the workplace. Those who take care of themselves and make the most of their appearance by wearing flattering clothes and choosing a suitable hairstyle will be judged more favourably than those who are overweight, and thus are more likely to get promoted. Everybody is being judged by the way they look all the time, and since the majority of people want to be seen in a positive light, they actually put quite a lot of effort into the way they look.
Not every aspect of a person’s appearance can be controlled, though, such as when a person has a disproportionately large nose or ears that stick out, and so some will consider the possibility of having surgery. Cosmetic surgery used to be out of ordinary people’s reach, but costs have now come down and demand has increased. As more and more people decide that they are no longer prepared to put up with looking a certain way, it puts greater pressure on other individuals with ‘flaws’ to find a way to solve their ‘problem’ rather than learning to accept themselves as they are and to stop caring what other people think.
However, humans are social creatures and they want to fit in and to be found attractive. The predominant definition of beauty is a very narrow one in Western society, and many people end up convincing themselves that they are unattractive because they don’t conform to this notion of beauty. In some cases it might appear that a person is obsessed with their appearance, but in actual fact it is just because they feel so insecure about the way they look that they are always looking in the mirror.
Most people care about their appearance, but there are always those who take it to extremes, so that the most important part of their life is looking good: this can’t be healthy.
Adapted from: http://www.thebrothersnetwork.net/skin-and-body/2015/01/are-people-too-obsessed-with-the-way-they-look.html
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TASK 1 – LONG READING
Read the following text about tour guides and answer the 15 questions.
The text has five paragraphs (1–5). Choose the best title for each paragraph from A–F below and write the letter (A–F) on the lines below.
There is one title you don’t need.
- F) Modern underground train systems
- A) Why the first underground train system was built
- D) What the first underground system was like
- C) People’s feelings about the first underground train system
- B) Tickets for the first underground system
- E) Railroads of the first underground system
Choose the five statements from A–H below that are TRUE according to the information given in the text.
Complete sentences 11–15 with an exact number, word or phrase (maximum three words) from the text.
Write the exact number, word or phrase on the lines below.
11. In 1863, there weren’t any trains.
12. Steam engines used the power of .
13. Thousands of people used the London Underground on .
14. The old London Underground used lights.
15. When the London Underground opened, most of the tickets sold were the .
TASK 2 — Multi-text reading
In this section there are four short texts for you to read and some questions for you to answer.
Read questions 16–20 first and then read texts A, B, C and D below the questions.
As you read each text, decide which text each question refers to. Choose one letter — A, B, C or D — and write it on the lines below. You can use any letter more than once.
Decide which text each question refers to. Choose one letter — A, B, C or D — and write it on the lines below. You can use any letter more than once.
16. makes negative comments about the activities of local people and businesses?
17. reports a good news story about recent improvements to a river environment?
18. shares lots of practical ideas from different people about how to improve a local river?
19. calls for more political action and public education to protect a nearby river?
20. shows some changing patterns in the state of health of a particular river?
Choose the five statements from A–H below that are TRUE according to the information given
in the texts above.
The summary notes below contain information from the texts. Find an exact number, word or phrase (maximum three words) from texts A–D to complete the missing information in gaps 26–30.
Write the exact number, word or phrase on the lines below.
The main causes of river pollution:
• industrial pollution, eg waste from factories
• agricultural pollution, eg (26.)
• dumping large domestic items, eg fridges, bikes
• household rubbish, eg (27.)
Ideas for improving the riverside environment:
• developing sporting facilities, eg (28.)
• encouraging transportation, eg pleasure boats, canal boats
• creating public eating places, eg (29.)
• designing visitor attractions , eg museum of industrial history
• making the riverside a safer place, eg (30.)
• getting local community involved, eg Big Clean-up, plant trees