Are Young Women Pressured to Be Beautiful 24/7/365?

Boomers aren’t the only age group worrying about their looks. According to Dr. Vivian Diller, Ph.D., in this post, young women are feeling more pressure than ever to look beautiful at all times. She says that Gen X and Y believe “…pampering and primping does not betray their feminine beliefs. They believe it’s their right to do both and in fact, it’s the expectation to do so that is their own struggle…women in their 20s and 30s say that there is no down time when it comes to looking good. They feel compelled to appear fashionable at work, at play, at the gym, even going to bed at night.”

Dr. V goes on to say that young women are feeling a great deal of pressure: “No more sweats and t-shirt to relax in. There’s Victoria’s Secret to wear under the Nike or Adidas workout clothes. Sexy skirts with designer shirts have replaced the practical pants suit for every day work. Even that ‘I don’t care’ fashion while out partying is a carefully put-together look that takes hours to create.”

Have our daughters become entrapped, or is Dr. V mistaken? I started asking. My hairdresser, who is 28, says she personally doesn’t feel that way but all her friends do. A couple of my followup questions:

  • Are your friends single? (I was thinking that this compulsion made more sense if they were looking for a husband.) She said they’re all married.
  • Do their husbands expect it? She said no, but she thought it was partly about competing with their friends and other women their age, generally, and also what they’re “force-fed” in the media.

This is troubling and frankly fascinating to me. I hope it’s not true. What do you think? In the weeks ahead I’m going to be looking for data one way or another. I’ll let you know what I find out. Let’s hope Dr. V is exaggerating.