Why ‘Hot or Not’ and ‘Who Wore it Better’ Features in Magazines Are Encouraging Comparison and Self-Hate.
To me it’s disgusting that a young girl, who has already achieved more than most girls have at her age, has had to experience this kind of negativity so early in her career.
Words by Amy Gibson
When scrolling through the web this week, I stumbled across another one of those ‘Hot and Not’ segments following a recent awards show. I dislike these kind of put downs at the best of times, but this one in particular featured a fifteen year old girl on it’s worst dressed list. How are we supposed to empower young women to accomplish great things when there are external sources doing their best to disempower them before they have even begun? To me, it’s disgusting that a young girl, who has already achieved more than most girls have at her age, has had to experience this kind of negativity so early in her career.
Why do we feel the need to put down women at every opportunity? True, there was an equal amount of women being singled out as beautiful and stylish, but it seems as though with every compliment, there must also be someone who didn’t manage to look as good as them. These articles appear frequently after big award shows or celebrations, and most often the attendees are there because they have been nominated for an outstanding achievement in some area. It appears that we cannot simply celebrate the women for their achievements and what they wear is of more interest. Even in an age of women’s empowerment, and the ‘Me Too’ and ‘Time’s Up’ movements, these kind of sexist publications are still circulated and the media seems to judge more on a surface appearance than on what women are able to accomplish. There is no way that the outfit they chose to wear on one day should define a career that these talented women have built for themselves.
We are all guilty of looking at someone’s outfit and disliking it, but most are also aware that this is personal choice and what is our opinion, is not necessarily someone else’s. By printing such nonsense, the media enforces what is one person’s opinion onto a whole host of wider consumers. Too many people are brainwashed into the same opinion, scared of showcasing their own individuality. By continuing to promote these articles in the media society is showing young women that clothes and appearance are the most important factor in their success and this is simply wrong.
By the same token, I think that the ‘who wore it better?’ articles are equally as damaging. I am sure that the dress I bought on the high street last week is also owned by someone who is ‘skinnier’ and ‘prettier’ than myself. I bought that dress because it made me feel confident, I looked at myself and thought I would be happy to own an outfit that made me feel so good. Obviously, I am not the only person in the country who picked up that dress and felt the same way. I often see people wearing clothes that I also own in the street.
Now imagine, waking up the day after, and seeing a picture of you in the paper alongside another woman and a headline urging its many readers to make a decision on who they think looks better in the same outfit that made you feel so confident the day before. I know this is all in a day's work for most celebrities, but it shouldn’t have to be. How about we start recognising that there are women of all shapes and sizes and all of these women have the right to feel beautiful in the clothes they buy? No one is the same and it is about time that the media started recognising individuality and praising women for stepping outside the box and wearing the clothes that make them happy, before condemning them. Let’s recognise that some of these women have worked hard to achieve what they have, and recognise them for their achievements and not simply the clothes they choose to wear.