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Modern society has become very interested in physical appearance. This is not to say that looks did not matter to ancient cultures. It is just that it has become much more important than it ever was to previous generations. This becomes a much more important pursuit for people than internal beauty in the form of a good personality. Several reasons for this exist.
There is much greater access to images of people who are considered to be perfect or iconic. Whereas someone growing up in the middle ages could only look at people in the village or visiting travelers to decide what was attractive, now young people are bombarded with images of celebrities who are paid very well to maintain a very specific image. When it comes to being a good person, there is much less of a pressure to follow in the footsteps of people who are more altruistic than others. Selfishness is sometimes rewarded rather than looked at with distaste.
Another reason for external beauty being favored more than internal beauty is the many methods that exist to improve one’s appearance. If fiction is not an unfavorable objective, there are software programs that can alter a person’s image in a photograph to the point that they become unrecognizable. Most celebrities engage in this practice so many regular people feel obligated to do the same just to continue to be considered attractive. Worse yet, there are surgeries that can alter a person’s actual features.
One of the problems with altering appearance in keeping with the standard of beauty is that such standards are not fixed. What is popular today may fall out of fashion in a few months or even years so that a permanent alteration is not always wise. Meanwhile the extent to which a person’s internal beauty is ignored can lead to feelings of great inadequacy in people who are truly beautiful and should be considered the true role models.
With the advent of social media, it has become quite simple to make a name for oneself based on appearance alone. This is troubling but there have also been cases where people have inspired others with the courageous, selfless or miraculous things they have accomplished. Perhaps in time more people will take the chance and focus inward when they consider whether they possess true beauty or just the superficial representation of it.
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