Today’s Media creates a contant pressure to look good and the younger generation seem to be a central target. The pressures to own the latest fashion and to be a certain weight is becoming more evident in current society. Six out of the ten first year University students we interviewed were concerned about how they presented themelves when arriving at Winchester University. A common fear shared by all was the fear of being rejected due to their appearance and not conforming to how a typical student should look. An education studies student said:
“I’ve always been quite conscious of my appearance and I actually bought a lot of new clothes for uni. I think it is where most of my student loan went.”
It is not surprising that a young woman of 18 should worry about her appearance, but it is alarming that this young person’s insecurities cost them their student loan. A model on the cover of a magazine is what most young people aspire to, but when these models have been airbrushed to within an inch of their lives, is it fair that mere mortals feel the pressure to compete? A student’s time is spent worrying about what to wear to a lecture rather than focusing on their education, and it is an unwanted stress. Pressure to look good, coupled with academic stress is of detriment to mental and physical health.
And it isn’t just young women that feel pressurised; a number of young men that were interviewed also shared the same opinions:
“There is a lot of competition bewteen the guys I live with to meet girls since I’ve started uni. I’ve definitely started to take more notice of how I look.”
Whilst their concerns weren’t as high as the girls’, they still presented the same doubts and seemed just as uncomfortable admitting their insecurities. A figure stated that in 2003 ‘over 74,000 cosmetic surgeries were performed on kids under 18’. Unhappiness with one’s appearance is now an issue faced by so many young people throughout the UK. Is it any wonder that students are faced with the same insecurities and the fear of being judged by those who may in fact feel just the same as them?