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Americans Think They're Getting Uglier

People Are Getting Uglier (Or So They Think)

Do you think you're attractive? If you answered no, you're sadly not alone. Mother Jones magazine unearthed a fascinating statistic: 20 percent of women and 10 percent of men describe themselves as unattractive. That's depressing enough, but check this: 12 years ago, only one percent of all Americans did the same.

So what's behind the jump? It's unlikely that the general population abruptly became homely, and perceptions of beauty are subjective. It looks like we're simply being a lot harder on ourselves. Since the original study was conducted, beauty trends of the 2000s made treatments like Botox and cosmetic surgery more mainstream. Digital retouching also reached new heights (and lows). Are these changes to blame, or is it something else? More than a few factors are at play, but one thing's clear: this sad statistic puts a new spin on the phrase "ugly American."

Source: Flickr user Beverly & Pack

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Pistil Pistil 5 years
Maybe Americans are just becoming more modest.
GummiBears GummiBears 5 years
How tragic.
GummiBears GummiBears 5 years
How tragic.
onlysourcherry onlysourcherry 5 years
"This is because the prettier women were more likely to get married and have offspring"Really? I'm not sure that's the case anymore...
onlysourcherry onlysourcherry 5 years
"This is because the prettier women were more likely to get married and have offspring" Really? I'm not sure that's the case anymore...
Beauty Beauty 5 years
Yes, obesity has health risks, but I don't think that's what's behind this shift in self-perception. I feel like people are very quick to blame fat people for anything and everything. But I know a lot of thin people who find themselves unattractive, too — like women who are size 8 and think they're "fat."
lovelipgloss lovelipgloss 5 years
Homely does not mean obese, just like thin does not mean attractive.
Girl-Jen Girl-Jen 5 years
I've never been all that attractive. I was an ugly kid, and I "blossomed" into an average adult. This is not a new, media-induced thing; it was brought on by the mirror and my peers when I was little.
ayuninur ayuninur 5 years
that is sad
ayuninur ayuninur 5 years
that is sad
bryseana bryseana 5 years
It's probably a combination of things. I'm sure the media plays a role. Plastic surgery is a lot more affordable and mainstream these days too. It may also have a lot to do with the internet. There's more personal feedback on one's looks, personality, etc...via strangers. There's a lot of criticism and trash talk online, which can mess with someone's self-image.
Pistil Pistil 5 years
Obesity might be one reason, but weight isn't always directly relational to self-esteem. I do feel bad for our kids, especially the kids of people who have been overly nipped and tucked... they'll look nothing like their parents.
Pistil Pistil 5 years
Obesity might be one reason, but weight isn't always directly relational to self-esteem. I do feel bad for our kids, especially the kids of people who have been overly nipped and tucked... they'll look nothing like their parents.
lovelipgloss lovelipgloss 5 years
I'm actually surprised its only 20%.
BeamerCG BeamerCG 5 years
Why is anyone surprised at this fact? Look at the unreal expectations in fashion mags and what our society holds as important. There was actually a really interesting science study (can't remember where I read it or I'd post the link) that said modern women are more attractive than our ancestors. This is because the prettier women were more likely to get married and have offspring, which shouldn't surprise anyone. Sadly, there was no word on if this was true for men too.
ticamorena ticamorena 5 years
so one in five women think they're unnatractive? that's really depressing...expectations of what women should achieve looks-wise have become ridiculous, and the problem is that whole industries are vested in this figure increasing; maybe we are fighting a losing battle, I feel bad for our kids
weffie weffie 5 years
I agree with flowergirl, the obesity rate has been steadily climbing for at least 30 years... These people didn't describe themselves as "ugly" or "butterfaced," they said "unattractive." I know I feel less attractive if I gain weight, so it makes sense that higher obesity rates would be coupled with an increased number of people thinking this way.
bronzebeauty719 bronzebeauty719 5 years
i actually dont think the figures are that bad,,, if anything id expect them to be higher given the media coverage of celebs and socialites whom all look "perfect" especially among the youth that are so competitive
Beauty Beauty 5 years
I think more people feel bad about their appearance because they don't look "perfect." In the last 10 years, we've seen an explosion of stylists, heavy Photoshop, and surgery — all of which take already good-looking famous people and make them look flawless. But we don't see the work that goes into that, so we wind up wondering why we don't look that way. The thing is, even THEY don't look that way — and many will admit it. (Remember when Kate Winslet was justifiably upset about being digitally slimmed on a magazine cover?)The whole thing is just sad, because we are all too hard on ourselves.
Beauty Beauty 5 years
I think more people feel bad about their appearance because they don't look "perfect." In the last 10 years, we've seen an explosion of stylists, heavy Photoshop, and surgery — all of which take already good-looking famous people and make them look flawless. But we don't see the work that goes into that, so we wind up wondering why we don't look that way. The thing is, even THEY don't look that way — and many will admit it. (Remember when Kate Winslet was justifiably upset about being digitally slimmed on a magazine cover?) The whole thing is just sad, because we are all too hard on ourselves.
onlysourcherry onlysourcherry 5 years
flower, I disagree. This is a statement about self-perception/esteem, not appearance. Maybe the increased publicity around obesity is the root cause. Sad, nonetheless.
flowergirl flowergirl 5 years
I think obesity might also be a factor... more and more obese people in the US these days.
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