What makes someone attractive? Social media, vanity & insecurities

So, what makes someone attractive? We all want to look attractive, especially if we’re trying to attract a mate. Most of the things that make you really attractive are not physical things, they are your spirit, your vibe, your intelligence, kindness and strengths. However, let’s not beat around the bush here. Most of us want to look hot, to as many people as possible, and for as long as possible. We are vain beings, we humans.

The changing face of attractiveness

When I was a teenager in the 90s, things were different. There was no social media, no Instagram and Snapchat. No one would be seen dead taking a selfie, as that meant you were “up yourself”, or overtly vain, which was considered one of the worst things to be as a 90s teen. It was the era of grunge and Kurt Cobain. We wore Doc Martens and old op-shop cardigans and dreadlocked our hair. We didn’t wear makeup, eyelash or hair extensions.

In my post What is the Most Attractive BMI? What Should You Weigh to Look Your Hottest? I discuss scientific studies that deal with male and female symbols of attractiveness. Waist-to-hip ratio is mentioned, height, weight and symmetry of facial features are all relevant. Science has tried to nail down exactly what attractiveness looks like, but of course this wavers from generation to generation, and across cultures. One generation might favour small waists and large breasts and one generation might favour a more androgynous look. Times and fashions change.

Let go of vanity – before it destroys you


Vanity is now the norm amongst the young – and it severely bothers me. I see young women with the most ridiculous eyebrows, nails and lips now – these women will look back on photos of themselves and shake their heads. Curiosity as to what makes someone attractive is a really common question. But do we have the answers?

And these days, it’s not just young women who obsess over their appearances. Young men do it too. Former child star Jack Vidgen has just returned to the screens here in Australia, on a popular singing show. He is a nobody, really, but he did notably blow a quarter of a million dollars pursuing his singing career in LA; all his winnings from Australia’s Got Talent (a different singing show).

Anyway, Jack has claimed that he has never had surgery, despite his face being very different at age 22 than at age 14. He claims he had to get lip fillers due to insecurities about his “thin lips”.

Sorry? A very young man had to spend thousands of dollars correcting something that was not broken because he was *insecure* about *his lips*?? Has the world gone MAD?

When did we all get so vain, and so insecure? When I think back to the 90s and 2000s and the young men I knew at that age, none of them would have given a second thought to their bloody lips!

Sure, they cared about how they looked – some of them were very fashion conscious, some had cool haircuts, piercings and tattoos – but needing giant, puffed up lips was simply not on the agenda.

And why? Because silicone-filled lips look stupid, and lips are a functional part of the body, so you shouldn’t bloody mess with them. Read my post Do men like women with plastic surgery? to hear more of my thoughts on the subject, or leave me a comment at the end of this post.

It just makes me sad that normal, good looking young people are not just insecure (that comes with the territory of being young) but they are resorting to surgery for falsely perceived flaws – and getting applause for it.

Are your insecurities making you less attractive?

Today, people seem to be lining up for costly, unnecessary surgeries left, right and centre. I follow a few women on Instagram who have had severe body modifications, including tummy tucks and skin removal surgery. One poor lass even ended up needing a skin graft after her leg wound split open and refused to heal. She claimed she was in constant pain before the surgery due to loose skin, but I’ll wager that she’s even more uncomfortable and in pain now. She says she doesn’t regret the surgery but is struggling with her mental health after it.

“Comparing yourself to the people around you can make you feel even worse,” says Psychology Today. “There are times when insecurities are well-justified, and admitting those feelings is psychologically healthy. If you’ve been confronted it’s normal to feel like questioning your self-worth.”

“However, recognising that you’ve been manipulated into feeling this way can help you shake aside that negative self-assessment,” says Susan Krauss Whitbourne Ph.D. in Why We Feel Insecure, and How We Can Stop. The idea of what makes someone attractive can be affected by these insecurities that we can vanquish, if we try.

So, what makes someone attractive?

In previous posts of mine we talked about age and BMI as being factors in what makes someone attractive. But The BMI index is not suitable for everyone. Here’s why explains that not everyone can gage their dating success on a mere number. I delve into this more in The BMI formula | Understanding BMI 10 ways too.

Vanity is something that is becoming much more acceptable in this day and age, due to social media. However, “More than one-third of American adults view social media as harmful to their mental health”, according to a new survey from the American Psychiatric Association. “Two-thirds of the survey’s respondents believe that social media usage is related to social isolation and loneliness. There is a strong body of research linking social media use with depression.”

Another interesting finding of the study was: people who use social media passively, just browsing and consuming others’ posts, feel worse than people who participate actively, posting their own material and engaging with others online.

Let go of insecurities

Yes, you can. You are much more attractive than you think, and no one retains youthful beauty forever, so let it go. Focus on what makes someone attractive by thinking about your USPs – your unique selling points – and cultivate those skills and traits that you (and only you) have.

I also have a series of posts about what is considered attractive at different ages:

How attractive do you feel? Do you feel worse about yourself after looking at social media? Tell me in the comments below!

Photos by Anderson Miranda and nappy 

What makes someone attractive? Social media, vanity & insecurities
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What makes someone attractive? Social media, vanity & insecurities
Let’s discuss what makes someone attractive from an emotional, scientific and personal perspective. It’s time to let go of your insecurities.
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Alyce Vayle | Content Strategist
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  1. Pingback: The most attractive BMI for men and women

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