Why is there so much pressure to look conventionally attractive?
Look through any glossy women’s magazine, and you are bombarded with images of ultra skinny, model-esque celebs, all donning the latest trends in fashion.
Take Cheryl Cole, for example. Her latest hair extensions or a designer dress she modelled last week on the X factor constantly receives media attention, but why such hype?
Whilst I can’t fault her looks or style, she just seems a bit bland. Conventionally attractive, but with no sense of individual style. This is evidently the look she is going for, of course; it has universal appeal to both males who want to be with her, and females who want to be her.
This is the all too familiar pattern emerging within the media, celebrities giving us ‘normal’ people advice on how to look good. We can then gratefully rush out and try and copy their look, whilst they convince us that it literally takes them seconds to get ready, and it is totally effortless to look THAT stylish and glamorous.
Of course it’s effortless; they have enough money to pay someone else to worry about how they look.
Anyone as wealthy as Mrs Cole can afford a stylist, make-up artist, personal trainer, dietician, chef, and whatever else it requires to look that gorgeous. Before Cheryl was famous she made the same fashion mistakes as the rest of us, if not more (Cornrows, anyone?). She would probably still be making these errors if she didn’t now have more money than sense.
My point is, whilst celebs such as Cheryl look amazing, they perhaps aren’t setting a very inspiring example to their fans. By being subjected to the constant barrage of size 6, heavily made-up, extension-wearing celebrities, are we being taught that in order to be attractive we must accept a particular conventional style or image, and try and replicate it ourselves?
The message in the media seems to gravitate around the idea that you must convert to the conventional ideals of attractiveness, and base your image on that of mainstream celebs. Anything else is seen as outside the norm, and ‘strange’.
Why are magazines and the media telling us, as the consumer, what we should be wearing, where we should be shopping and who we should be trying to copy?
Step in, Lady GaGa. In a similar fashion to most female celebs, she admittedly pays a great deal of attention to her looks and image; often flaunting her (questionable) sexuality in tight fitting and revealing outfits on stage. Admittedly she has also been styled to ‘perfection’, and her peroxide blonde hair, heavily made up face, and skimpy leotards have become something of a trademark.
But at least she’s not always seeking that conventional ‘look at me- aren’t I cute and adorable, yet commercially sexy and appealing’ look, an approach that seems to be all too familiar with so many celebrities.
At last, there is someone who is proving that you can be unique, different and sexy, thus showing that sometimes it’s ok to wear bizarre or unconventional outfits. Lady GaGa doesn’t have to try and look conventionally attractive to be regarded as a fashion icon, and ironically it is because of this that she has gained such success.