A recent feature on television got me laughing and reflecting at the same time. It was about the body shape enhancers that women are using nowadays.
It brought to mind the often told stories of men who “hook” up with “beautiful” women on a night out, only to find out in the morning that what they had seen was highly deceptive.
The question of why people need to enhance their physical features is not a difficult one to answer. It is about beauty—looking good and attractive.
These two qualities have both psychological and social impact, such as boosting self-confidence and getting high social approval ratings.
The question to ask however is; where should you draw the line between enhancing your looks and going for outright deception? An even more poignant and pertinent question is; can a lasting relationship be established and sustained if the first impression you make on a love interest is misleading?
Also, why is there an increase in excessive use of enhancements? Here is what I think.
To begin with, there is a higher reliance on physical attraction in relationships today. Relationships have become highly competitive, and to some extent, commercialised.
The image of the attractive sexy male or female especially among young adults is so important, that many are willing to go to any length to achieve it.
Secondly, there is, in my opinion, a glorification of the sex function, an exaggeration of its role in relationships. Sex is no longer discussed in terms of restrictions, but rather, in terms of how to have it without consequences because ostensibly, we must have a lot of it.
Even parents are almost expected to pack condoms next to lunch boxes as children go to school, in the name of safe sex. This has meant that sexuality and means of enhancing it become increasingly important components of how we relate.
Thirdly, our definition of beauty is fluid, such that people are not sure what the acceptable standard is. For women especially, we appear to be at a cross road between the western standard of the ‘petit woman’ and the ‘full woman’ of the African philosophy.
In regard to complexion, it is ironical that while the whites come to Africa in search of a tan, our sisters pump themselves with chemicals to lighten their skins; a dangerous practice. It seems that as a society, we are still experimenting to discover the ideal size, shape and color. What is the way forward?
While physical attraction is important, a relationship that is hinged on physical features is likely to be disappointing. If for instance a man loves a “full woman” he will look for one, and if he discovers some fake features, I doubt that such a relationship will stand the test of time.
Likewise, men who use drugs to enhance their physic should ask themselves how long they can sustain this deception. What will happen when the ‘six pack’ slackens?
In my view, an attractive, healthy body can be achieved through proper nutrition and physical exercise. Professional advice on nutrition and exercise, including medical help where necessary can help you get a desirable body. The costs may be higher in some cases, but the benefits are long lasting.
Secondly, personality that is externally driven is unstable, and can hardly sustain a long-term relationship. Many attempt to use their appearance to cover for emotional deficiencies—worry, anger inefficiency, low self-esteem.
Again, this may work for some time, but after a while, even the most beautiful and handsome people realise that looks alone aren’t enough.
Great personalities are driven from within, and anchored on genuine qualities.