The concept of beauty can be hard to define, as it is an ever-evolving notion. What people perceive as beauty has varied through time, across cultures (Fallon 1990) and can also vary based on individuals. To a culture, beauty can be its customs and traditions, and to an individual it can include physical appearance (outer beauty) or personality (inner beauty). However the word beauty can also defer according to gender, Ambrose Bierce (1958) once wrote, “To men, a man is but a mind. Who cares what face he carries or what he wears? But a woman’s body is the woman.” Despite the societal changes achieved since Bierce’s time, this statement still holds true. Attractiveness is a prerequisite for femininity but not for masculinity (Freedman, 1986).
The perception of the "ideal beauty" is an arbitrary and abstract concept that is constantly being modified as a result of the times. People are influenced by the images they see in the media to determine what the ideal beauty is. The media is manipulative and deceptive in nature, and it continues to carry harmful suggestions about ideal beauty despite the concrete evidence of damaging effects to people of all ages. Fortunately, it seems there may be shifts in the media that are beginning to portray men and women more realistically.
In a growing world, relying on education and intelligence, judgments in a social environment are still continuously based off of appearance. A study of the importance of outer looks was produced through a TV game show. Contestants fought to answer questions correctly to improve their personal score. At the end of the game, the player with the highest score was asked to eliminate a team member. Although many times an unattractive player would have higher scores and could be more beneficial than another teammate, only 27% of unattractive members were chosen to advance to the next round (Belot, Bhaskar, and van de Ven 852-853). When society overlooks qualities and characteristics of high value for looks, discrimination conquers.
IS BEAUTIFUL ALWAYS GOOD? IMPLICIT BENEFITS OF FACIAL ATTRACTIVENESS by Van Leeuwen and Macrae have conducted a study that discusses the implications of attractiveness and whether we associate that with positive or negative words. 20 women and 16 men from Dartmouth College were presented with a number of words and a picture of an attractive or unattractive person in the background. Researchers found out that attractive faces triggered a positive reaction which proved to them the stereotypic social perception that “beautiful is good”. This latter possibility is theoretically important because, if true, it suggests that the “beautiful is good” stereotype may shape people’s evaluations of others in a covert manner”. (Beautiful is always good) The participants associated more positive words with more attractive people which depicts the socialization we have in America that being beautiful is more acceptable and positive. Many social aspects come into play when talking about beauty and why we think that “being beautiful is good”.
“Beauty is in the eye of the beholder,” a phrase that everyone has heard of at one point in his or her life. Walk by a cashier aisle in a supermarket and a there will be magazines shouting “How to lose 30 pounds in one month!” “Buff up with this weird new workout routine!”. “Fashion that’ll slim you down!” and the like. Is the concept of beauty and ugly really homogeneous, or does it vary? Is it just weight that’s considered? Exploring different ethnic groups prove that what one person thinks is beautiful may or may not be the same as the next person. (The article will mainly be focused on the women though, since their “worth” is judged more on their appearances than men. It will also be rather general on each ethnicity.)
What is beauty? Beauty is defined as “the quality of being physically attractive or the qualities in a person or a thing that give pleasure to the senses or the mind” (Merriam-Webster dictionary, 2014, para. 1). Heine (2012) has found that beauty and attractiveness can vary across cultures. Although, there are specific features of a person that seem to be considered as beautiful and attractive across all culture spectrums. These features are: complexion, bilateral symmetry, average sized facial features, and biracial faces. However, weight in regards to attractiveness and beauty varies drastically across cultures. Through this discovery, there may be a correlation between the perception of beauty and attractiveness in each culture and its effects of body dissatisfaction and eating disorder rates. Is beauty really in the eye of the beholder? We will examine how what is considered to be attractive and beautiful can have both similarities and differences across cultures. In addition, we will examine eating disorders, and how they are influenced by the beauty standards that are set in specific cultures.
According to recent research, there have been people who have found that this effect can be present in the media. Reporters and journalist are more likely to report the news of attractive people rather than no eyed-catching people. The article “Better-Looking Politicians Get More Media Coverage” published by ScienceDaily explains and presents the results of these studies, which have been performed by the University of Haifa’s Department of Communication. The results of these researchers have shown that better-looking, political tenure, seniority and army rank get higher frequency of TV news coverage. With this statement, we can infer that not only the appearance counts, but also what kind of people merit respect for inhabitants inside the society.
There is a famous saying that states, “ we should not judge a book by its cover”, but oftentimes the first thing noticed on a person is their looks. One’s “physical beauty” strongly influences people’s first impressions of them. As a whole, we tend to assume that pretty people are more likeable and better people than those who are unattractive. Around the world, we believe that what is beautiful is good. There is a general consensus within a culture about what is considered physically appealing and beautiful. “Physical beauty” is associated with being more sociable, intelligent, and even socially skilled. Society shares this common notion of who has and who does not have “physical beauty”. Thus, “physical beauty”, as seen
It is only in recent years that physical attractiveness was looked upon from a scientific point of view and not simply a poetic or philosophical pondering. We now know that we have a predisposition to see physical attraction as the primary factor of romantic attraction. When people first begin to date, they are more attracted to the partners they deem to be more physically attractive 1. Another example of physical attraction as an influential factor of our attraction to others is seen in the matching hypothesis. The matching hypothesis proposes that the forming of a successful relationship is far more prone to occurring with people whom they consider to have an equal level of physical attractiveness to themselves.
There is no surprise that people who are considered to be generally and overall more attractive, pretty, beautiful or just plain hot get better treatment or opportunities than those who are less attractive, pretty, handsome, hot, etc. in comparison. Although there is the saying “beauty is in the eye of the beholder,” humans tend to subconsciously reward these people for their amazing facial features. Not only does the human brain want to physically reward these attractive people but it also wants to reward itself for simply looking at the attractive person.
In today’s culture, depending on the person, beauty can be depicted as a positive influence or as a negative influence. Alyssa Giacobbe outlines beauty in her article, “Youth, Beauty, and An Obsession with Looks.” Giacobbe swings towards a more negative viewpoint.
The beauty halo effect has become a strong phenomenon in social psychology nowadays. The beauty halo effect can also be called “the physical attractiveness” stereotype and the “what is beautiful is good” principle (Lewis-Beck, Bryman and Liao, 2004). The halo effect makes reference to the tendency of people to better rate attractive people for their personality traits than the individuals that are qualified less attractive (Lewis-Beck, Bryman and Liao, 2004). The psychologist Edward Thorndike first wrote about the halo effect phenomenon in his paper The Constant Error in Psychological Ratings in 1920. He noticed in his work that “ratings were apparently affected by the tendency to think of a person in general as rather good or rather inferior and to color the judgments of the qualities by this general feelings” (Lachman and Bass, 2001). The halo effects explain the fact that early aspects influence the interpretation of later aspects (Forgas, 2011). Since the first definition of the halo effects made by Thorndike in 1920, this concept has been the subject...
To determine what it means to posses beauty, one must keep in mind that the appeal of the flesh will always leave people with the desire for something more. “Western women have become pre-occupied the with concepts of beauty, image and appearance” (Shabaat 6). Society has caused many individuals to believe that the main characteristic of beauty is physical appeal, causing inaccurate interpretations of beauty to become globally accepted. “I concluded that beautiful and perfect women are on the increase and so are the women who feel ugly on the inside” (Gale 1). In order to break free from all misleading exemplifications of beauty, one must always remember that the person in the mirror is not what defines self-worth.