Many teens allow their appearances to define themselves. Attractiveness is not only important from a dating perspective for teens, but also as a means of fitting in with their peers. Failure to meet these ideals can cause social and self-esteem anxieties as teens allow others to define them based on their appearance, reports TeensHealth.
In teen dating, physical attractiveness is viewed as the most important factor, particularly with boys. A study published by the Archives of Sexual Behavior in 2010 notes that boys rate physical attractiveness as more important than social status when looking for a girlfriend. Girls look at both physical attractiveness and social status when seeking potential mates at this age. Males and females were more likely to seek an attractive partner if they viewed themselves as being attractive themselves.
Attractiveness is often linked to a teen's self-worth because of body image. Many teens are unhappy with the way they look, suggests TeensHealth, which leads to overall self-esteem problems. If a teen feels she is too fat, too short or that her hair is ugly, she is more likely to develop self-esteem problems because she is worried about how others perceive her personal appearance. Teens with a positive self-image are more likely to be comfortable with how they look and feel attractive.
A link between attractiveness and popularity exists, according to a 2011 report in the journal "Social Psychology of Education." The study suggests that attractive students are viewed as being more physically and relationally aggressive than their peers. Students who are viewed as both attractive and aggressive are also the most likely to have perceived popularity at school than those who do not have these traits. It is important to note, however, that perceived popularity does not mean that these students are well-liked, just that they are socially visible at school.
The media is a major reason for the importance of attractiveness in teens, as it has defined attractiveness. As a result, students who do not fit the narrow window of what the media has determined is attractive find it difficult to fit in within their social groups. Young people frequently compare themselves with the media's often unattainable ideals, which can lead to confidence issues in teens, according to TeensHealth.