I’ve decided to choose “Women’s obsession with beauty” as my debate issue topic. Even though the topic is not so controversial, I believe I could dig in and find some interesting ideas for it. Beauty has always been one of society’s great obsessions. Since the Ancient Greeks, human have struggled with an overvaluation of aesthetic appeal. In today’s media-saturated world where we are bombarded by images of what we should look like and what we fail to look like, it is worse than ever.
On a scientific level, it can be argued that there is an evolutionary reason behind our preference for attractive people. Fitter, taller, stronger people have a greater chance of survival. It is natural we are attracted to them in order to give our offspring the best chances of living and continuing the species. However, the extremes to which we have taken the idea of beauty, and the exclusivity of the features which we deem beautiful today are a far cry from traits which carry inherent evolutionary benefit. Conversely, they are having a huge and harmful effect particularly on girls and women.
Especially for women, the emphasis on physical attractiveness is detrimental to mental (and sometimes by extension, physical) health. The effects of the media on young girls’ development has been well-documented, and has led to a rise in eating disorders, early sexualization, low self-esteem and depression.
A much more insidious side effect is our own unwitting digestion of the idea of beauty as a woman’s single most defining feature. Recent examples in pop culture of the extent to which we’ve assimilated this message into our underlying estimation of a person’s worth are both striking and disturbing.