Lookism Influences Adolescent Girls

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How Lookism Influences Adolescent Girls
Lookism is defined by Merriam Webster Dictionary (n.d.) as the "prejudice or discrimination based on physical appearance and especially physical appearance believed to fall short of societal notions of beauty." The issue of lookism has inundated our youth through the many forms of media including magazines, music videos, and daily television. Girls are often on the receiving end of lookism with the expectation being that they should be attractive and that there is only one definition of attractive. Mary Pipher (2008) describes it by saying "In early adolescence girls learn how important appearance is in defining social acceptability. Attractiveness is both a necessary and a sufficient condition for
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As a culture and a society there is need to reassess our views on women and their purpose. The constant barrage focused on the appearance of women has created an objectification of women that permeates even the youngest in our society. Without a conscious effort to reconfigure our views and redirect our expectations, girls will continue to get the message that they serve only an aesthetic purpose. As a mother of a seven year old girl I feel I have a personal obligation to attempt to have an impact on her vision of herself. Though I believe I can have a direct impact on some of the messages she receives from media by limiting it in our home, I know more has to be done. Gibson and Jefferson (2006) stated that "affiliation with community groups, such as school, church and athletics, is important to the development of self-concept as they offer multiple opportunities to develop connections with others who have similar experiences in a safe environment." This concept can be applied to the effects of lookism as well. Finding friends, clubs and programs that support your views can help make a personal and direct impact on an individual. Teaming up with friends and family to create an environment that is safe to express oneself in all areas is a way to start changing the views that lookism has perpetrated on society 's
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