Women Competition | How Teens & Women Compete and are Dying to Win

Have you ever wondered why women spend so much time, energy and money on their appearance? They may tell themselves that they are doing it to feel good about themselves but is this really why? Isn’t having well groomed nails enough, do they really have to have a weekly manicure to ‘feel good’ about themselves? They may want to look more attractive for men, but the truth is that men hardly notice many of the things that women spend so much money and time doing.  When women buy a new pair of shoes or change their hairstyle men hardly ever notice, unless they are paying the bill.  So what is the drive to look better really all about?

Lets begin to answer this question by looking at when it starts. As early as grade school girls will start noticing brand names. When I was in the first grade in a NYC elementary school it was clear that the popular girls were already aware and wearing the ‘in’ brands of jeans. Book bags came next; they had to be a certain brand as well (in my day the brand was Le Sport sac). Jewelry came after that, the more competitive girls wore certain jewelry but it didn’t end there. This was only the beginning because by the time high school rolled around the stakes grew even higher. The most popular girls in high school had the means and the talent to dress accordingly. They always had on the right brands with looks that would have put the girls in Seventeen Magazine to shame. These girls then exclude the girls that can’t compete in the fashion competition.

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This competitive aspect to women doesn’t end when they become adults.  The stakes get higher as women get older.  Women put themselves under the knife to compete and some die doing it. Teens are getting nose jobs and breast implants all for the ever-elusive ‘look’.  After high school the competition shifts to engagement rings.  With rings, the larger stone always wins. 

Media perpetuates these ideals. The popular TV show and movie “Sex in the City” has a main character who always talks about wearing Manolo Blanick shoes that cost approximately $700 dollars and how she spends all of her money on them. She seems to love Manolo Blahnik shoes more than life itself, well maybe except for a designer dress to go with it. This character is fictional but there are women in reality that will blow their whole paycheck just to buy an expensive shoe of the ‘in brand.’ Pamela Anderson was well loved for her beauty and it was shocking when such a beautiful women felt the need to get a breast enlargement.

You might think women are trying to be more attractive for men, but men don’t notice or care about these superficial things. Yes men are visual and attracted to women for their beauty, but the greater majority of men are unaware of which jean brands are in style, which hand bag deserves the $1,000 price tag, or what appliqué you paid extra to have put on your nails. The only time they would notice jewelry was if they gave it as a gift. I once asked a man what his wife’s wedding band looked like and he said he forgot. Most men are not as attracted to breast enhancements as women think they are. None of these things appeal to men in the long run. But in the competition between women, these kinds of body enhancements add yet another sport in the women’s appearance competition Olympics.

Men really want women who take care of themselves, and look good but not in the way many women think. Men want women who put themselves together well, with properly fitting; flattering clothes but this doesn’t have to cost a lot.  Men want to be treated well but this doesn’t come with a price tag.  Until my husband started expressing what kinds of clothes he preferred to see me wearing I was caught up in dressing for other women as well but was unaware that I was doing it.

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Women are misguided about values and society enables this.  The American culture is very much about superficial values and people buy into it and believe that what brand you wear is who you are.  In reality the person that you are is something that you have regardless of what brand jeans you wear.

In the article “Power Struggle: Why Women Compete” Allison Ford stated: “Many women have a hard time competing and directly expressing aggression because we’re taught not to. Boys are allowed to punch and kick, but little girls are socialized to "be nice" and avoid conflict, even when that means giving in or not defending ourselves. The trouble is, aggression is natural, and it has to come out somewhere, so girls become masters at indirect aggression.” So it seems that this aggression comes out towards one another in the game of who can look better.

Since not everyone is born with the kind of beauty that meets the current acceptable standards women try to make up for the difference with spending a great deal of time competing in the only way that they can. This Appearance Olympics is a reflection of both human nature and a result of the extremely superficial atmosphere that America has come to be. Women spend a great deal of time trying to be superficially beautiful when true inner beauty is very often forgotten.

© Copyright 2011 Tracy Lynn Conway with all rights reserved.

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4 comments

Andrea Nelsworth profile image

Andrea Nelsworth 5 years ago

Thought I'd pop over here and read some of your articles. Interesting perspective! Thanks for sharing. :)


Tracy Lynn Conway profile image

Tracy Lynn Conway 5 years ago from Virginia, USA Author

Thanks Andrea!


Seeker7 profile image

Seeker7 5 years ago from Fife, Scotland

Hi Tracy L C. Wonderful Hub and you have made so many valid points. Women/society in the UK is the same as in the USA. I think there is definately a kind of snobbery, especially among females if girls/women don't or can't afford to put on clothes that have the 'right' label sticking from its backside.

I've also seen so many young girls - and very pretty ones at that - who come out in the mornings with their faces literally plastered in make-up. They would look so much nicer with much less junk on their face. I honestly feel like asking them, if they realise the damage they are probably doing to their skin? I've also watched the women who were at school with me. The ones who just had to have a tan all year round and go to the hottest beach they could afford in order to get the 'look'. Now they are desperate to try and reduce the wrinkles and other blemishes caused by too much time in the sun - It's quite sad. Especially so, since one girl I knew from school died from skin cancer when she was only 43. There was also an interesting survey done that interviewed men on what make-up they liked a woman to wear. Almost 92% said either 'no' make-up or they liked very little make-up and only make-up that gave a natural look. Across the board about 96% said they hated the look of a woman who was too heavily made up with make-up. So I think you are spot on when you say that many women are dressing and making-up, under the illusion that they look better, when in fact they probably don't. Many thanks for sharing your fascinating hub, loved it.


Tracy Lynn Conway profile image

Tracy Lynn Conway 5 years ago from Virginia, USA Author

Seeker7,

Thank you so much! I am so glad that you enjoyed my hub!

It is a shame that this misguided behavior not only goes on in the USA but in the UK as well. I have also seen women from the UK and Ireland with this same need to compete by trying to look a certain way or having the correct brand name.

You make good points about how women compete with makeup and tanning. That is such a sad story about your classmate dying from skin cancer as a result of maintaining a tan. This is an example of a short term gain with a long term loss.

The survey that you mention regarding make-up really does prove that women are not primping for men but for something else.

Thank you for your great comments!

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