Why is beauty so important, or is it?

Did you ever stop to wonder why your friend is attracted to a person that you find repulsive? Or maybe you interviewed for a new position and were very qualified for it, but got passed over for someone who was younger, thinner, more attractive? Did you know that this topic has actually entered the science books and there is a scientific conclusion to the answer to these questions?

Much attention has been give to discrimination based on race, creed, color, national origin and age, this form of discrimination is taboo in the workplace. One form of discrimination is seldom ever addressed, yet it is perhaps the most obvious form of favoritism when it comes to job hiring, promotions and social acceptance, both on the job and in society in general…beauty discrimination.

A survey by Timur Kuran and Edward J.McCaffery of the University of Southern California; revealed that respondents consider discrimination based on appearance and economic status to be more prevalent then discrimination on ethnicity. Respondents also reported that they themselves have been victimized more by physical appearance and economic status discrimination then ethnic discrimination.

It is so bad that you have to consider these points:

  1. Attractive people are 2-5 times more likely to be hired for a position.
  2. Attractive people earn more money.
  3. Attractive people are 7 times more likely to date and have many friends.
  4. Unattractive people are more likely to be the first to be laid off a job.
  5. Unattractive people are more likely to be convicted of a crime and commit a crime.
  6. Unattractive people are more likely to be passed over for promotions at work.

Much of the criteria that differentiates between those who are beautiful and those who are not stems from things that are innate, things that are learned from childhood, and of course we cannot forget about the media. In fact, being “average looking” is just as bad as being “unattractive”. Appearance in fact is everything…unfortunately. So what do us “average joes” do about it? Some suggestions on how to improve our appearance are as follows:

  1. Smile more often, if you have bad teeth you can get braces to straighten them or use a teeth whitener if they are yellow. Some good choices would be www.colgatesimplywhite.com, www.pluswhite.com, www.rembrandt.com, or www.teethwhite.com
  2. Feel good about yourself, if you do the reflection of you inside glows on the outside. People are attracted to others who have a happy, upbeat disposition. Build skills to physically present oneself successfully and effectively for all environments
  3. Dress in a stylish clothing appropriate to your age. If you are over 40, don’t wear those low cut tight tops that show too much cleavage and tight jeans that show the crack of the butt when you sit down. Those wide leg jeans and backwards baseball caps and funky shirts that seem so popular now….just don’t. Learn to use good judgment when buying clothes, focusing on quality and affordability, not brands and labels. You don’t have to spend a ton of money to look good.
  4. Improve your posture and walk with your head held high, it greatly improves self-esteem and can be an instant fix.
  5. Cleanliness is next to godliness, or so the saying goes. Personal hygiene is a big one here. No one wants to hang around someone who has an undesireable odor. Shower and wash your hair often, once every other day is fine.
  6. Be aware of one’s own body language and the message it sends forth. If you speak to people and are always looking down and never establish eye contact, the message is that the person may not be able to trust you or yo are unsure of yourself.

I cannot stress the importance of choosing appropriate dress for the occasion and the need for good hygiene habits enough. The social and health benefits of good grooming, including brushing teeth, washing hair, caring for nails and applying deodorant are huge. The truth is that good grooming and projecting a clean, neat image are effective ways to build better self-esteem and achieve goals.

I must be honest, It really is sickening to think “average looking people” have to do anything to make a better impression on others in the more “desireable realm. I really do feel that there should be some legislation making beauty discrimination a crime. Truth be told that even up against a jury in court, the more attractive lawyer would have a more favorable outcome then one who was less attractive whether the client was guilty or innocent. Its those “average” looking politicians that we need to address this issue with, after all those beautiful ones most likely feel this is not an issue at all.

What is your opinion?

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9 thoughts on “Why is beauty so important, or is it?

  1. Ileane,

    “Why is beauty so important” does not answer the “why” question but it certainly provides an valuable and accurate account of the fact that beauty is important.

    For those of us who conduct research such as cited, the collected data consistently reveal that people of higher physical attractiveness experience benefits throughout life that people of lower physical attractiveness do not. As discomforting as that reality might be, it is still reality. Nevertheless, people are not defenseless. They can either deny it, which will not serve them well, or they accept it, be aware of it, and take actions accordingly.

    Like it or not, .given the dynamics and consequences of good looks and not so good looks, this post underscores that people “should not do nothing,” just because they can’t do everything. There are reasonable and effective steps that can be taken to increase a person’s physical attractiveness, ranging from routine to non-routine actions. Basic hygiene, industry-appropriate clothes, proper nutrition and optimal sleep represent one end of the continuum of alternatives. The other end of the continuum includes liposuction procedures, pharmaceutical facial filler injections, face-lifts, hair transplants, and other cosmetic surgeries. Of course, technology, ethics, religion, societal norms, social pressures, and financial resources, as well as an individual’s own judgment and motivation, define options acceptable for any one person.

    Not being aware of the importance of physical attractiveness or disregarding it because of personal likes and dislikes will not make it go away. Accordingly, it is vita that this topic remain a focus of visible discussion, along with reasonable actions to consider and to select from, in order to survive, succeed, and excel within this environment that cannot be escaped.

    Dr. Gordon Patzer
    author of “Looks: Why They Matter More Than You Ever Imagined”

  2. Thank you Dr. Patzer for your input. I understand your validity of being attractive versus not being attractive, but don’t you think it has something to do with the way the media and society represents themselves by means of advertising. I have yet to see an ad, with the exception of Dove soap advertisements that portray beautiful women who may not be of the “typical model build” and may be “average looking”. There are more people on this earth that would fit into the “average mold” then the “attractive” mold. Why do we have to raise our children with the notion that if indeed they are “average looking” children that they may never get the help from others that “attractive” people get on the street, they may not get into a college that “attractive” people get into, or that they may not succeed in life because of the way they look? I find it a difficult task to raise children in the first place in a society where there is so much emphasis on sex, but to tell them when they are older, go have your nose done to be better looking is a hard pill to swallow. This must be a contributing factor to our youths low self esteem. Something has to be done to start having people take a fresh look at what’s attractive and what’s not. Needless to say, the media has a huge impact on that, and if they started selling to the masses “us less than attractive people”, and changed the “look” of their advertising campaigns to represent reality and not some “Vogue” pipe dream, then I think people would start seeing things a little clearer and understand that it’s not just about the way a person looks, but their entire being, who they are. Maybe then we can stop supporting the drug companies by buying their anti-anxiety, anti-depression drugs, maybe then we can teach our children its not whats on the outside, but the inside thats really important, or tell them, you don’t have to dress a certain way (promiscuous for example) to compensate for what you think you don’t have. I welcome your comments and appreciate you taking the time to read my blog. 🙂

  3. Ileane,

    Thank you for your kind, thoughtful and insightful comments that you have posted to me in reply to my first visit a few days ago to your blog. Thank you also for calling my attention to the “beauty and the media” post, which upon my first reading seems great.

    Now in response to your post: Yes, I too believe the media and society by means of advertising play a significant role concerning what the world (not just the USA) considers attractive or beautiful (or handsome). Of course, once the trappings of good looks are established, the media and society then shows how those individuals of good looks are more highly valued and sought after as employees, mates, friends, and even elected political office-holders.

    Of course, however, it is not only advertising. Practically all mass media ranging from television programs to movies to the magazine trade parallel the advertising industry images and practices in regards to good looking people and not so good looking people. Each of these media seem to select or elevate a disproportionate number of people with traditional stereotypical good looking features to their magazine covers as well as casting such persons in the most favored lead roles on television and in the movies.

    But the practices of promulgating the traditional stereotypical definitions and corresponding values for higher and lower physical attractiveness is neither new nor confined to advertising and other artifacts of society. The early childhood story books that our parents read to us and which parents today continue to read to their young children each present persuasively those heroes and other highly valued people who just happen to also possess rather traditional stereotypical features for beauty and handsomeness. Such stories as Cinderella, Hansel and Gretel, and Snow White are filled with messages about beauty and evil, whereby the most beautiful physical persons embody good and meritorious. Accordingly, I believe that parents and policy makers (including candidates seeking elected political office) need to be aware and proactive concerning the ideals portrayed in all types of reading material (especially seemingly innocent texts because we most let down our guard in these cases) and broadcasts on screens ranging in size from big movie screens to much smaller television screens to, increasingly, miniature iPod and mobile telephone screens.

    You and I are on the same page concerning perspectives that the media and most things related to the media contribute mightily to how physical attractiveness is defined. They further contribute mightily to attitudes, beliefs, and realities that then those persons possessing high physical attractiveness versus their counterparts of lower physical attractiveness are correspondingly valued throughout society, ranging from employers to spouses.

    At present I have conflicted mixed feelings about parents trying to instill ideals at home in their children concerning the inside really counts much more than the outside. While that perspective certainly agrees with much of my perspective, as well as being consistent with my couple self-created advantages that state “beauty is ugly” or, at the least, “beauty can be ugly,” I am concerned about the different reality the children encounter outside the home. A quick observation of an elementary school playground quite quickly reveals the saddening reality that the most popular kids even at that young age tend to be the most good looking or most cute kids.

    Dr. Gordon Patzer
    author of “Looks: Why They Matter More Than You Ever Imagined”

  4. Your words are strong, I believe.
    People who added significantly to our society – and made a difference in history – never cared about beauty.
    Beauty standards that are hard to reach generate more consumption.
    The solution is far from obeying the aesthetical dictatorship, being part of the discrimination and enduring it.

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