The Swimmer’s Body Illusion

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All over the world, Asian parents tend to force their children to be in certain professions. Lawyer, Doctor, and Engineer are the most popular ones. So, this cultural cliché was picked up a lot from society. And be presented as a meme or a joke on TV. However, in Asia, this cultural tradition is more present than in Asian households in Western Countries. I am glad that my parents let me choose my way. Instead, my cousin does not have any choice. Many things in her life were set up by her mother. I know why this happens. Because these Asian parents are trapped by the Swimmer’s Body Illusion.

The Swimmer’s Body Illusion

swimmer - Swimmer's Body Illusion

I grew up with an inferiority complex. It is about my height. Since I went to school people tend to remind me of my height and my slim body. Sometimes it was funny. Some other times it hurts. The worst part, even my parents picked me up on that. I mean, come on, you gave me this height so stop complaining. This topic popped up whenever their friends came over. Their kids are much taller than I am. As a consequence of my parent’s dissatisfaction with my height, they told me to swim. The goal was to make me taller for my ‘own sake’.

I realized a long ago that my parents fell to the Swimmer’s Body Illusion. Because I knew forcing myself to swim will not make me any taller and stronger. And most importantly, I knew that these swimmers are not strong and tall because they trained well. Instead, they are selected to swim because of their height and strength. I am not assuming that swimmers do not train a lot. But, to be able to swim at a professional level you need a minimum precondition

Swimmer’s Body Illusion:

Height and Strength are a factor for selection and not the result


Without the Swimmer’s Body Illusion, the beauty advertisement would not exist as we know it today. All-female models advertise cosmetics and, thus many female consumers believe that these cosmetics make you beautiful. But here again, models who advertise cosmetics will not become beautiful when they use these products. They are already beautiful and are selected for this. A model can wear a potato bag and can still be beautiful. I saw some videos on Facebook that many girls can transform themselves into another person. Only with cosmetics. In fact, I think the overuse of cosmetics only hides their faces and does not improve them. But, some may think, he is a dude, he doesn’t understand. Well, I believe that a smile and a nice attitude are the only things to wear to make them beautiful. Call me guilty for that.

Asian stereotype: Doctors, Lawyer, and CEO’s

The Swimmer's Body Illusion
The Stereotype CEO Protagonist in Asian Movies and Series: Young, Successful and Attractive

Another good example is the Asian stereotype that Asian kids have to become a doctor, a lawyer, or an engineer. Here I blame Asian movies and series. I dare to assume that most of these movies have a protagonist with one of the professions. Mostly, these movies are set in a hospital, in a court, or a business building like a bank or something. This image is overused to such an extent that many people unaware of the Swimmer’s Body Illusion believe that to be successful you have to undergo this education. 

Some mothers may think: Oh wow, this guy is so hot and he is a CEO. My son must become like him!

Here again, the Swimmer’s Body Illusion took his first victim. Undergo an education in economics does not make the son hot or successful. CEOs are mostly old people who had to beat many obstacles until they achieve this position. They are chosen not because of education alone. It took more than that, passion, willpower, a lot of time and often sacrificing their family time as well. Of course, you can change a person’s personality to your wishes. But is this ethically correct?

Before I slam the reputation of these professions, I want to clarify that these professions are admirable because you need to be good at achieving them. And you may get your wished results. But that is rare.


What gets on my nerves are assumptions that become a doctor, or a CEO automatically gives a characteristics trait with it.
For example:

Having a Ph.D. does not mean you are smart. It means you are an expert in your field. I respect that. But it does not mean people with Ph.D. are smarter than non-Ph.D. people.


summary - Swimmer's Body Illusion

I want to break the illusion that irritates me for so long and I want to help you guys to differentiate how to look at your world. Using specific things or becoming specific things does not mean automatically you are those things. In addition, I want to protect you guys from fraud. Many elite universities advertise that many of their graduates having high-paying jobs. Does it mean they are good universities? We don’t know. Maybe they just picked up good students already.

Understand the difference between the factor for selection and result. And soon, you will understand that you are responsible for your results. And no kind of product, education, or sports can give you your desired wishes yourself.




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