Are Beautiful People Thought to be Better?
To preface, this is not the rantings of an ugly troll who can't get a date - just so you know, yes I am below average but I've been in a wonderful relationship for five years with someone quite hot, but that is not the main argument I am positing. I will be posting a lot of studies from my time in psychology, but the original reference is stored away in a pile of boxes. I will be updating with a digital link to the article over time, and if it is made available for public viewing.
The main focus of my view is physical attractiveness as a social capital. Without a doubt, there is a conscious and unconscious preference towards people are physically attractive, this goes for men, women, children and even chickens, so to an extent we are all shallow, at least on first impression; but this is often a pivotal stage for the continued success of any relationship. And yes there is a general guideline for physical attractiveness, while body-types may differ based on culture and upbringing, features (especially of the face) generally have a normality for attractiveness, the less you deviate from that ratio - the better.
I understand that attractive people are subject to certain prejudices, and I am aware that some of them are:
- Attractive people are viewed as less intelligent. There is an interesting study as well demonstrating an inverse relationship between the amount of skin shown and perceived intelligence.
But these issues are easily manageable, unattractive people however are prone to the serious issue of being invisible or dismissed. Like being born into a wealthy family, attractive people will always have better opportunities, pre-established social connections and status, will initially command more respect, the potential for more exposure to culture and education and a significantly easier time achieving long term goals due to the aforementioned.
- Because I have an ethnic name, I actually get a significantly reduced number of callbacks for interviews when using my legal name in my job application. I replicated this from a study that looked into the same issue, by creating two identities and using a neutral last name i.e. Smith, on the latter. I believe unattractive people face a similar problem of being able to get their foot through the door. Studies show that people will immediately notice the tallest person in a group, unless there is significant case of a person being short, e.g. dwarfism. Unattractive people are often overlooked, and people are less likely to remember them.
- Unattractive will have more issues regarding self-esteem. The detriments of being complimented on physical appearance aside, not being viewed in a favourable light, especially in adolescent to early adulthood can have long lasting ramifications - especially when people learn that appearance plays a big role in success. There are things people can do to even the playing field - wear nice clothes, consider the significance of scent to desirability, the use of wit and rhetoric - but these are things EVERYONE has to consider. Adhering to these rules does not give you an edge over anyone else observing them as well.
- People are nicer to attractive people, whether they realize it or not. Studies show that we want approval from attractive people, because we implicitly believe that their opinion is of more value. Just to add a tangential point, having attractive friends, like in one study where participants were asked to rate people based on their Facebook friends, also improves people's perception of you. So being attractive actually helps those around you.
- Unattractive people will always have to try harder, this goes double if you're not-good-looking and are of an ethnicity that is not of the norm of your country/region.
Just to counter a likely argument I'll hear, I am aware character and virtue are more valuable traits in the long term. But my argument is the limitations set by a person's looks are much more difficult to overcome, create a massive gap in terms of social capitol assuming other variables remain constant, and is virtually permanent.