19 March 2008 ~ Comments Off on Does Beauty Matter?

Does Beauty Matter?

Ok, I’m going to tell you about the Law of Attraction that exists in our society. However, let me make this clear. I am not talking of the metaphysical Law of Attraction that many believe the universe is propelled by. I’m not speaking of the “positive thinking gets you everywhere” mentality, nor am I condemning it. However, I am writing about the Law that governs how people treat each other, that explains some inequality, that gives people who have this an advantage, and that makes our prejudgments downgrade those who don’t. The Law that I am talking about is the law that our society has created that gives the attractive more opportunities, better income, and many advantages in our daily lives. It isn’t fair, but it happens each and everyday. I’ll try to attempt to explain why we do this and how we can use this knowledge to help us to get ahead.

I am not going to spend time writing debating the fact that this exists in our society. Sociological and psychological studies already prove that this is the case – especially in the work field. However, I believe that there is a better answer than “It just happens that way.” I believe that there are three reasons that more attractive people have an easier time attaining goals than those who are not blessed with the genetic lottery. These three reasons are confidence, persuasion, and stereotypes.

I was reading in my Sociology book about an interesting study between the Saints and the Roughnecks. Basically, both of these groups of kids were very mischievous and trouble makers. However, the Saints were in a higher class than the Roughnecks and were viewed as being good kids by everyone else. The Roughnecks, on the other hand, were thought of as the ones making havoc and trouble for their community. What later happened was that of all eight of the saints, they all went to college, some received a Ph. D and others at least received a Bachelors degree. However, of the Roughnecks, only two went to college on athletic scholarships and became high school gym teachers, whereas the rest either dropped out, went to prison, or became missing. So what is the significance of this story that I just told you?

The more attractive person can be related to the Saints. They are told that they look good, will make it far, and be successful. As they later move on in life, peers look up to them because they are getting all of the attention. The more attractive person has developed better social skills through preferential treatment. This gives them more confidence in social situations and consequently offers a more favorable presentation to other people. Confidence in a job interview, especially in conjunction with effective communication skills, gives the employer stronger beliefs about the person’s job skills. Since the attractive person already has made these qualities a part of their life, they have an easier time getting that job.

Once that attractive person sees that they are making and achieving goals, they have then become a self-fulfilling prophecy. It all started with everyone telling them how beautiful they were, as they received more attention, they developed their social skills. These social skills allowed them to develop confidence, not only because of their good looks, but because they knew that people looked up to them. Their confidence is the attractive person’s fundamental element that contributes to their success. This is William Chambliss’s Labeling Theory at its best.

Ok, so a person has confidence, what does that help them in? Simple, confidence persuades. I was watching a video and I was amazed at how easily the con artists were able to effectively rob that Jeweler so easily. This robbery was a carefully planned manipulation of our innate ability to let the appearance of confidence and having skills (or in this case wealth) let us lower our guard. We found out clearly that the actors were not who they said they were. Just like in real life, the more attractive person isn’t always the best candidate for a job. However, because of their confidence, we are easily persuaded and let them convince us otherwise.

I understand that oftentimes the fair opportunity isn’t even given to the less attractive person. This is because of stereotypes that have developed for the more attractive people. These stereotypes have developed because of past experiences and background information. The media is constantly probing the attractive, successful people of our modern era. When we are shown these images, our mind subconsciously thinks that if we see a person that closely resembles the attractive traits that we see on T.V., then that person automatically has to be successful and have a lot to offer.

When we develop these stereotypes about attractive people, we have already given them a lead in life. And thus the process starts over. These stereotypes lead to the attractive person becoming a self-fulfilling prophecy because of the labels attached to that person, and this leads to the development of leadership and communication skills as well as a boost in confidence. This process is repeated over and over again and the constant struggle for the less attractive individuals becomes even more daunting.

But there is hope.

Knowing why more attractive people are given better opportunities allows us to use that information to reap these benefits as well. There are a few ways that we can do this.

First, we can improve our own beauty. This is the “if you can’t beat them, join them” strategy, and I don’t believe that it is a bad method to use at all. Start exercising, practice eating healthy, take good care of your skin, wear nice clothes, and make your hair and face look pretty. Give off the image that you care about yourself so that others know that you are not a sloth wasting away all of our resources. Make yourself look deserving enough to get that extra attention and care. Treat yourself how you would want others to treat you. This isn’t being conceded or egotistical at the least, it is showing yourself respect.

Another method that we can do to bring these changes in our life is to improve our confidence. I believe that the best way to do this is by exercising and getting more social experiences. Don’t be a cave dweller and live in your room all day. Go take your dog for a walk, go out with your friends, and take advantage of the beautiful weather. Enjoy yourself and let the beauty of life resonate within yourself. Don’t let fear control you, and only see yourself succeeding in everything that you do. Even if you have to start small by proving to yourself that you are going to lose 5 lb in a month. Accomplish that goal and move on to the next goal. By constantly setting and achieving goals, you will build confidence and this is very important to getting places in life.

Finally, perhaps the most difficult of all of the methods, change society. Tell society that beauty is not correlated to success and happiness. Hell, look at Donald Trump, Oprah Winfrey, and Bill Gates. They aren’t exactly the Brad Pitt or Angelina Jolie, but they are telling the world that looks aren’t everything. So jump on their bandwagon and rise to the top and prove to everyone that you have more to offer than these mindless Barbies!

I hope that you can use the information that I have given you as motivation to step out there and be noticed. Everyone deserves to be looked at for their natural beauty and given a fair chance, or even advantage, in life. You may not be America’s Next Top Model, but taking a step to a better, more attractive you, will enable you to have more enjoyable experiences. I know that I greatly appreciate all of the attention that is given to me on a regular basis. It is nice to know that your friends, teachers, and family members respect what you say. It feels great to know that people look up to you because you present yourself as a person deserving of admiration. Some people may look at me with envy, and that is ok, but I will keep looking back at them with hope. I hope that everyone can experience the benefits of looking good.

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