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Lookism in Vietnam: The Ugly Truth Behind Society’s Beauty Standards

Lookism is an ugly truth that continues to plague Vietnamese society. It is a term used to describe the systematic prejudice and discrimination that individuals face based purely on their physical appearance. The phenomenon has deep roots in Vietnamese culture, and while it may manifest itself in different ways, it has a catastrophic impact on the lives of many Vietnamese people.

Vietnamese society is obsessed with beauty standards. From a young age, individuals are told that they must look a certain way to be considered attractive. They are bombarded with images of the “ideal” Vietnamese woman with pale skin and delicate features, and the “ideal” Vietnamese man with a chiseled jawline and muscular physique. This societal pressure to conform to these beauty standards creates a breeding ground for lookism. Those who do not meet the standards are deemed inferior and are subjected to ridicule, bullying, and social exclusion.

One of the most significant consequences of lookism in Vietnam is the impact it has on individuals’ mental health. Many Vietnamese people who do not conform to beauty standards face constant criticism and belittlement, which can lead to depression, anxiety, and low self-esteem. A recent survey conducted by the World Health Organization (WHO) revealed that Vietnam has one of the highest suicide rates in Southeast Asia, and lookism is believed to be a contributing factor.

The beauty industry is a multi-billion dollar business in Vietnam, and this only exacerbates the problem of lookism. Products such as skin whitening creams, slimming supplements, and plastic surgery are heavily promoted, perpetuating the idea that appearance is everything. These products are often marketed as solutions to help people achieve the “ideal” look, and those who cannot afford them are left feeling inadequate.

One of the most alarming aspects of lookism in Vietnam is how it affects employment opportunities. Many employers in Vietnam consider physical appearance when hiring, and those who do not meet the beauty standards are often overlooked. This has led to a situation where individuals who are well qualified for a job are passed over in favor of someone who simply looks more attractive.

Lookism is not just limited to the workplace. It is also prevalent in the education system, where students who are deemed unattractive are often subjected to bullying and social exclusion. This has a devastating impact on their academic performance and their mental health.

The problem of lookism in Vietnam is further compounded by the fact that it is often used as a tool for discrimination against certain ethnic groups. For example, many people of African descent living in Vietnam are subjected to daily discrimination and ridicule due to their appearance. The government has done little to address this issue, and many African residents feel isolated and excluded from the Vietnamese community.

There are some pockets of resistance to the beauty standards that underpin lookism in Vietnam. For example, the country’s fashion industry is starting to embrace diversity and celebrate individuality. There are also advocacy groups that are working to raise awareness of lookism and pressure the government to take action.

However, much more needs to be done to tackle the roots of the problem. Vietnamese society needs to embrace diversity and abolish the damaging beauty standards that are causing so much harm. The government can play a role in this by creating policies and campaigns that promote inclusivity and celebrate individuality. Employers also need to be held accountable for discriminatory hiring practices, and education institutions should introduce anti-bullying policies that include measures to combat lookism.

In conclusion, lookism is a significant problem in Vietnam that has dangerous consequences for the health, wellbeing, and life chances of many Vietnamese people. It is perpetuated by beauty standards that are unrealistic, prejudiced and exclusionary. The Vietnamese government, together with employers and educators, needs to take a proactive approach to address this issue and create a more inclusive and accepting society for all. Such an approach would be an important first step in creating a society where people are valued for their skills and personalities, rather than their physical appearance.

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