The original headline on NBC’s Today web site is still in the url, though the current headline no longer says that women “waste” this time on their appearances and rather than they “spend” the time, because presumably the former word sounded a tad too judgmental. Although the headline does still instruct us to “stop obsessing” over how we look, without really defining what counts as obsession. While I probably “waste” significantly less time per week on my appearance than that, I find Today’s framing of the issue rather problematic.
It’s written as though “obsessing” over our looks is something women just came up with and are wholly responsible for, and that it’s completely without justification. Just something some wacky women do, and we really should cut it out because it’s bad for our health, you know? After all, it’s not like to be a woman is to be judged on your appearance on a daily basis or anything.
They do quote one possible outside source for this “obsession”:
“We are constantly confronted with images,” said Ann Kearney-Cooke, director of the Cincinnati Psychotherapy Institute, who helped develop some of the questions on the TODAY/AOL survey. “It’s nonstop – you can sit on the subway, or anywhere, and you can also then be looking at this. And the ideals are totally unrealistic.”
Disregard that their chosen expert is a psychotherapist, if you can, and think about where these images where their unrealistic ideals are. It’s “nonstop,” which means it’s everywhere you look, in all kinds of media, in commercials and print ads, movies, and TV shows, including…..on NBC? Yes, I think so.
Their suggestions for overcoming our “obsession” with our appearance:
1. Distract yourself.
2. Accept yourself.
Yep, that’s it. Because those are things you can just decide to do, right? And it’s up to you to stop worrying about how you look, because we’re sure not going to stop suggesting you should!