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.

A Rant on Looks, Dating in Midlife, and Other Stupid Worries

I happen to think that how you look should only matter if you personally care about it, and not because society says you should look as hot as possible until you die, because otherwise you are worthless. So anyway, I was over at Boomer Cafe where a 50+ woman wrote about learning to accept the changes that the years have etched on her body, and as long as she feels happy and healthy, she’s not going to worry about how she looks, and one reader commented “…and YOU LOOK GREAT!”

I guess she meant it non-ironically.

It’s worse if they tell you that you look great for your age. But the point was, it shouldn’t matter. If you’re happy and you feel good, that should be enough. But am I saying that we shouldn’t compliment each other on our looks? Of course not. It’s just that looks shouldn’t matter that much.

I don’t know what I mean. I’m conflicted.

Here’s another example of people saying stupid stuff: I was reading a Boomerblog that was all about how to land a guy. (No, it’s just research. But thanks for asking). Readers were advised to play the field, because if a man finds out you’re only dating him, he’ll be less interested. If he sees a lot of other men are after you, he’ll want you more. (My husband, a former car dealer, calls this the “Take-Away Close”. As in, you can close the deal with a buyer if you can make him think that somebody else wants the car under consideration.) (You’re welcome.)

But anyway, I was thinking, How Junior High! So I commented on the blog: “No offense, but that sounds like too much trouble. If I ended up alone I think I’d try to learn how to be happy living by myself.” The author wrote back, in essence, “Cool! More for us.”

That kind of bothered me.

Then sometimes people make these unintentional comments, and you want to give up on the human race. Like when you hear that someone is terribly sick, don’t ask their age. You know what you’re thinking: Is he old anyway? As in, is it a HUGE bummer that he’s going to die, or is he old anyway?

Okay, I think I’m done. Any stupid things you’d like to share with us today?

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