Rating appearances proves harmful to self-esteem


Carolina Rodriguez, asst. opinions editor

At around the age of nine, I watched an episode of  Liv and Maddie, a show centered on teens navigating their way through high school. This episode featured a list being made by the high school seniors, who rated girls on a number scale based on physical appearance. I thought it was all a fictional scenario. But, I sure was wrong.

The next day at school, my teacher lectured us on a list that she found. It was a rating of girls based on whose body was developing faster. I never knew my rank but my best friend knew hers. She felt awful since she was considered “flat” on the list.

Physical appearance is something very intimate, especially to teens who are facing changes to their bodies. Teenage years are times of developing emotionally, making us more subjective to low self-esteem.

Often, teens feel insecure about traits that are out of their control—maybe their body type or facial structure—and being criticized doesn’t do much good.

Labeling insecurities is a slap in the face. It gives off the message that we aren’t good enough and if repeatedly told, teens start to believe it. Rating makes it hard for teens to appreciate themselves.

Aside from insecurities, the rage surrounding them evolve into something disheartening, that is, competition. When individuals are rated on the number scale, it becomes a goal for them to move up on the scale.

Soon, people start to compare themselves to their peers who are presumably on the higher part of the scale. As a result, jealousy arises, which evolves into an unhealthy form of competition. This further enables the rating cycle, as people begin to use rating others to lift themselves up.

We should turn these insecurities into our own special touches, which can help us defeat self-doubt and open ourselves up to self-love.

Instead of putting each other down, we should lift each other up with compliments. By doing so, this will start a positive chain to replace the prevalent negativity. As a positive self-image progresses, the jealousy fades and leaves room for self-assurance to blossom.

All-in-all, rating people based on physical appearance is something detrimental to a person’s perception of themselves. Although ranking might seem like a harmless joke, it can cause self-esteem issues and unhealthy competition in teens.

No one else’s opinion matters. Ultimately it is our opinion that truly matters, as it’s up to us to accurately perceive ourselves.

I’m thankful I never found out what my rank was because I know that I am more than just a number. And so are you.