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CEFR Language Exam Resource Centre

Are People Obsessed With How They Look?

PRE-READING VOCABULARY

Are people too obsessed with the way they look?

Photo by: lunamarina
Photo by: lunamarina

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