Why do women obsess over how they look?

Many women worry about how they look because something is missing inside of themselves, often something left void by a father figure in their lives. Image Edits by Becki.
Many women worry about how they look because something is missing inside of themselves, often something left void by a father figure in their lives. Image Edits by Becki. | Source

Have You Ever Been Asked "Does My Butt Look Big in This?"

Most men in relationships have probably been asked the fateful question at some point or another: "Does my butt look big in this?" It's not a question that women generally ask of other women (most women trust their girlfriends to be honest from the outset) and instead is a question that is often dropped on unwitting men who have no idea how to respond to such a question. Struck dumb, these men find themselves in a precarious situation. Because there is no right answer, this question is one of the most dreaded by men, and many men therefore want to know: Why do women obsess about their appearance?

The purpose of this article is to explain to men why women obsess about their appearance and why those women ask the men in their lives -- and not the women -- these difficult questions that are sure to make the men feel trapped.

Women often want to know "does my butt look big in these pants?" Men are stuck with struggling to figure out the "right" answer to this question. Hint: It's a trap; There is no right answer.
Women often want to know "does my butt look big in these pants?" Men are stuck with struggling to figure out the "right" answer to this question. Hint: It's a trap; There is no right answer. | Source
Many women are obsessed with being thin or with having perfect bodies. On Flickr, this photo is captioned "I have an obsession with being thin." If you look at the comments, one comment says they like the obsession.
Many women are obsessed with being thin or with having perfect bodies. On Flickr, this photo is captioned "I have an obsession with being thin." If you look at the comments, one comment says they like the obsession. | Source

Society's High Expectations for Feminine Beauty

Society has given us incredibly high standards of feminine beauty. We talk about the "hourglass figure" and how women should be wide in the chest, narrow in the waist, and curvy in the hips. Teenage girls obsess about their weight, models diet until they become emaciated and mothers regret their stretch marks -- badges of honor that say "I had a baby and lived to tell the tale." Women often feel pressured to adhere to this standard of beauty at the cost of their confidence and self-esteem and this leads to further problems down the road. Issues relating to eating disorders and low self-worth are common in women, and many women look to others to either affirm their feelings of self-worth, or to build them up.

Because of societal pressure and the fact that society is an external force putting pressure on a woman to look a certain way, she needs someone else (as in society) to boost her sense of Self and encourage her to feel good about herself. It is an external force making her feel lousy about herself, so why should she not seek some way of feeling better about herself?

How did your parents affect your sense of self-worth?

  • Both my parents affected my self-worth positively.
  • Both of my parents affected my self-worth negatively.
  • My father was a positive influence and my mother was a negative influence.
  • My mother was a positive influence and my father was a negative influence.
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A Personal Void Makes Her Insecure

Most people, at some point in their lives, experience a void left by a parent. This is more and more often the case with the divorce statistic rising all over the world.

In particular, children look up to their fathers. Children of all genders look to their fathers in one way or another. Little boys look to their fathers to teach them how to be men and to validate them as men, and little girls look to their fathers to tell them that they're beautiful and worthy. Both boys and girls need their fathers to show them that they are worthy of good things and to show them how men should treat women, particularly in romantic situations. Even if some people think that it's creepy, a girl's first romance is with her father, and he must teach her how a woman deserves to be treated, and that she is beautiful, or that void -- that hole which must be filled -- will probably be permanent.

All women have a hurt little girl lingering inside of them. She must be nourished in order to heal, and many women look to their husbands or boyfriends to begin filling them up again when they've been left with a void.
All women have a hurt little girl lingering inside of them. She must be nourished in order to heal, and many women look to their husbands or boyfriends to begin filling them up again when they've been left with a void. | Source

The Hurt Little Girl

Many women have a "hurt little girl" living inside of them. This is the little girl who dressed up in her best clothes and spun in circles in the living room, asking her father "Do I look pretty, Daddy?" (Call it creepy if you will, but I witness this same behavior in my daughter and I did it myself as a little girl!) From the time that she was old enough to have a sense of feminine beauty, your wife or girlfriend has probably looked to males for validation, for information, for a sense of worthiness. A father has a responsibility to show his daughter that she is beautiful and worthy, but this void -- one which we are born with -- is often too deep to fill by one person. Even the best father's tend to leave space that must later be filled by a romantic partner.

Society tells women that they have to be perfect and have perfect bodies. She needs you to show her -- not just tell her -- that she's perfect just the way that she is.
Society tells women that they have to be perfect and have perfect bodies. She needs you to show her -- not just tell her -- that she's perfect just the way that she is. | Source
Your woman needs you to fill her up with affirmation that she is good, and beautiful, and loved.
Your woman needs you to fill her up with affirmation that she is good, and beautiful, and loved. | Source

What She Needs from You

Women need you to validate and to affirm them. Most women know that their insecurities are ridiculous, but that doesn't change their need to know that you find them beautiful -- inside and out. What she needs most from you is your ability to fill her up and affirm her. This is the same thing you need from her, though often in different ways. You need to know that she sees you as strong, as a man, and she needs to know from you that you see her as beautiful and worthy of being loved.

The task is much more difficult than it may at first appear to be.

Understanding a Woman Better

Women are as hard for men to understand as men are for women to understand. There can be no doubt that the genders often speak different languages and need to learn how to better communicate with one another. Shaunti Feldhahn and her husband, Jeff, have written two books that make understanding the opposite sex so much easier. If you haven't already, you really must read For Men Only. This book will help you to understand women better than most women understand women. Jeff's research comes in the form of interviewing women from all walks of life to find out how their minds work. If you want to communicate better with your wife or girlfriend, this book is a must-read!

She asks you because you're the only one in her life who can still fill that void she needs to have filled. Her father has already failed her, so you're the one who's next.
She asks you because you're the only one in her life who can still fill that void she needs to have filled. Her father has already failed her, so you're the one who's next. | Source

Why Your Woman Asks You, of all People

Your wife or girlfriend asks you, instead of her friends, for validation because she's still looking for a male figure to fill that void for her. She cannot get this validation from her female friends because it isn't the same for her. While she can trust them to tell her the truth, she can only trust you to make her feel better.

Additionally, this question is something of a test of your love for her. Do you love her enough to show her that love (and not just tell her that you love her) during a particularly difficult event? She wants to see your love in action and knowing how you handle this question will help her to determine whether or not you're a man who can protect her heart or if she must go on doing it herself.

She Needs a Mirror

Your wife or girlfriend needs a mirror that will accurately reflect the person that she is. Body dysmorphism is common is women who look into the mirror and see something different than what the rest of the world sees. When she looks into a physical mirror on her wall, your woman may see every one of her flaws and none of the wonderful things about herself. She needs a mirror that will reflect the truth, and no piece of shiny glass is going to do that for her. The mirror in her bedroom or bathroom only emphasizes every flaw that she has, making them bigger and blown up in her mind. What your wife or girlfriend needs is truth.

You need to be the mirror for your wife or girlfriend. She should be able to look to you for an accurate reflection of who she is, and not just of how she looks.
You need to be the mirror for your wife or girlfriend. She should be able to look to you for an accurate reflection of who she is, and not just of how she looks. | Source

Be Her Mirror

Be your wife or girlfriend's mirror.Sure, there are plenty in your house, in the bathroom, maybe on the back of the bedroom door. But those mirrors are different. You need to be her mirror.

When you tell your wife or what you see in her, over time she will begin to reflect back to you what you see. If you tell her that she is beautiful she will become beautiful. The more beautiful she feels she is in your eyes, the more likely she is to take the time to make herself even more beautiful and fit. If she feels that you genuinely appreciate her and see her as lovely, she is more likely to work out and to stay in shape, and you will often see an adjustment in her attitude towards you as well.

If you mirror back to her confidence and her own beauty, she will show that to you on the outside, too.

If your wife asks you the dreaded question "does this make me look fat?" "do you think I'm beautiful," move to her first, and, if appropriate hug her.
If your wife asks you the dreaded question "does this make me look fat?" "do you think I'm beautiful," move to her first, and, if appropriate hug her. | Source

Do you fear being honest with your wife or girlfriend?

  • Yes, I do.
  • No, I don't.
  • I don't have a wife or girlfriend.
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What to Do When She Asks You the Dreaded Question

First of all, don't clam up. Not only do women hate this particular behavior, but it shows her that you are being defensive, and that is the wrong thing to do when faced with a sensitive question! Be easy, be casual, and go to her. Move to her, and unless she's paranoid about something getting crushed (her dress, her hair), take her in your arms and hold her. Show her affection, no matter how you feel about the dress in question. Even if your wife or girlfriend weighs two hundred pounds and is out of shape, hold her and reassure her of your love.

Tell her that you love her. Tell her how beautiful she is in your eyes. Tell her that she is the most beautiful woman you have ever met and that you can't take your eyes off her.

Chances are you can't see the difference in terms of whether or not a particular item of clothing makes her look "fat." But if you think that it does, please be (gently) honest with her. She won't want to go about wearing a dress that makes her look thirty pounds heavier than she is and she'll never forgive you for allowing her to dress in a way that emphasizes her pudge.

The best solution and way to go about this is honestly to suggest to her that she try another dress. Don't criticize the one that she is wearing, but rather suggest one that you know suits her body and her coloring. Help her to choose something that you love. Tell her how it makes you feel when she wears it. Tell her she'll be the belle of the ball if she wears this particular dress.

These types of suggestions soften the blow while also saving her any embarrassment if it turns out in the long run that the dress did make her look fat!

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Comments 3 comments

BristolBoy profile image

BristolBoy 7 years ago from Bristol

This is a really good answer to the request! I'm glad to know that I am at least on the right track with my thoughts/actions. Well done and welcome to hubpages.


Everyday Miracles profile image

Everyday Miracles 7 years ago from Indiana, USA Author

Thank you, BristolBoy :)

I've known women who don't even really know their motives behind asking questions like this. I really learned a lot about myself as I began to explore the dynamic between men and women. I'm glad the hub was helpful to you!


random guy 2 years ago

it just doesn't make much sense to me. men are equally bombarded with husky men who are ripped and every single guy on television and in magazines have muscled bodies. but we are content with how we look and most days we don't even look at ourselves in the mirror.

women's obsessions with their looks are more than societal pressure, it's ssomething from within and I wish they would be smarrt enough to introspectively determine what that is exactly

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