Appearance is that which others see in a person or object, and it is not necessarily what the person or thing actually is. This can be portrayed in form of clothing, talking, choice of friends and hobbies, and assumed behavior. Some unusual trends, such as body tattoos, spiked up hair, body piercing and certain unconventional types of clothes are a notable example of how easily people may become interested in standing out among others, creating a unique appearance (Silvia, 2007). In contrast, others may model their character to avoid standing out, preferring to conceal their identities. This can be done through such methods as conservative dressing, avoidance of public places and, in extreme cases, through assumption of different identities in different times and locations. The realization that what people think of a person is sometimes more important that what they really are, coupled with the social structures that govern peoples’ interactions, it sometimes happen therefore that many people become obsessed with appearance.
In recent times, appearance has contributed to career growth in such areas as modeling, sports, and politics (Silvia, 2007). For instance, many middle age people, especially those from the developed economies undergo plastic surgery to maintain a youthful appeal. This helps them to engage in some careers, such as sports, politics modeling among others notable careers where personal appearance is critical. According to America Society of Plastic Surgeons, it is estimated that more than $ 9.0 billion was spent on cosmetic surgery in 2011. More than 10.2 million cosmetic procedures were carried out, of which 38% were Botox injections (winter, 2011). Generally, the cosmetic surgery is aimed at either enlarging or reducing their noses, breasts, lips, tummies or acquiring a younger face. After this surgery, many people believe that they are strategically placed to compete with others (Silvia, 2007).
Social media is another very influential factor in importance of appearance. Many people in similar age brackets tend to dress the same. For instance college students in all continents except where there are stringent religious or administrative restrictions tend to dress the same way, sometimes so notably that there are names for items associated with them such as college jackets and sneakers. The cars they drive, music they listen to, and ornaments they prefer and even the manner of walking easily identify them as belonging to a certain closed group. This can be important in forming effective bonds with others of their category. It gives a feeling of belonging and security, thereby adding value to their day to day experiences. Similarly, politicians, preachers and business executives will normally don in crisp suits in most parts across the globe. Sometimes this is because such appearances command personal or business respect- an important trade tool in many professions (Winter, 2011).
Finally, it is apparent that physical attraction is another major factor that influences appearance. This is regardless of one’s country of origin, level of education or religion (Silvia, 2007). Everyone wants to look like a person they adore, or another person who is considered attractive by someone they want to recognize them. For instance a young man courting a lady may dress, talk and walk like a television idol who he knows she adores winning her attention.
It is understandable when people sometimes do things that are not even comfortable to create certain appearances. Yet it is also true that not worrying over one’s appearance can give a sense of originality and stability that is unique and equally adorable. Where to strike the balance between originality and appearance is personal. In the meantime, it can be expected that many people will usually get obsessed with their appearance (Faye, 2008).