Mostly pertains to women, but a girl's self-worth is soley based on her physical appearance now a days. Music videos, magazines, social media, movies, TV, etc... shows us that superficial things like boobs and ass are the only thing a woman is good for.
No, I'm not a huge feminist.. so please no "you're a feminazi" answers.
I wish we lived in a world where you could look however you look, and not be judged or valued for that alone. Why?
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The advertising industry spends billions and billions of dollars every year, trying to get people to buy products they don't really need. The best way to get people to buy products, unfortunately, is by making them feel bad about themselves. By feeling less pretty than everyone else you will buy things to make up for it. Beauty products to try and look like women built by photoshop, food because you feel bad, and then diet and exercise things because you feel worse after gaining the weight from the food. Items to keep up with the neighbours. Sad people buy products. People totally satisfied with their lives, happy with their day-to-day, don't buy nearly as much.
The young market is huge - teen market alone passed 200 billion dollars a couple of years ago. And they are incredibly vulnerable to advertising because of their prefrontal cortex isn't developed yet. And so hammering them with images that will destroy their body image makes people a lot of money. It leaves the viewers broken and psychologically damaged, but then they can sell them therapy and pills later, so they don't care.
And you will notice that beauty constantly changes as the look becomes approachable. Calories are scarce? Skinny is ugly, and Rubenesque is in. Too many easy, cheap calories? Heavy is out, skinny is in. Diets start making that manageable? Then they need to start making it harder still... some parts skinny, but a big round ass, and this part small but this part big... And when special diets and work-out routines start solving that, they go to something like thigh gaps, which are because of the femoral head and not 'fitness' at all. It is literally a bone length thing, but because you can hit it by extreme malnutrition as well, they start pushing it to give women a carrot they cannot hit.
So looks are so important in society because not being able to hit those beauty standards make people feel bad about themselves, and subsequently makes them buy a lot more product.0