LOOKS – WHY IS IT SO IMPORTANT?

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LOOKS – WHY IS IT SO IMPORTANT?

“DO NOT BE DECEIVED BY APPEARANCES – FOR BEAUTY IS FOUND WITHIN.”

Why is it so important?  How many get hurt by being judged on their physical appearance?  While to some the physical appearance is more important, it is also personality, style and so much more that is equally (if not more) important.   Unfortunately many other factors get overlooked in favor of looks/ physical appearance.

If people could see inner beauty, they wouldn’t care about the outer beauty.  Unfortunately we live in a physical world, we go on appearance. I know people from all walks of life and I can honestly say, inner beauty is what matters to me.    The inner beauty is reflected on the outer beauty. This person is an all-around beautiful person,   I’ve always been taught to treat others as you want to be treated, and still do to this day.   It’s a shame that far too many people don’t, and they can be missing so much.   It’s their loss.    Sometime the inner beauty is not reflected on the outer beauty. And this person may not have the most desirable physical features but is a beautiful person within.   Unfortunately, there are numerous times where the inner ruins the outer, and the person is truly shallow, self-absorbed and has nothing intelligent or nice to say but has the looks.  Also, it has been noted that there are a great many people that fall into this latter category.   And they aren’t worth your time effort or energy.       It is unfortunate that the world sees physical well-being instead of emotional. The concept that people try to drill into others is that if you love yourself, then it should show on the physical plane as well. So do we love ourselves, the way we look and the way we are?   But if you look back though history even in paintings by some of the great masters they created wonderful paintings using “Rubinesque” women and were warmly received by everyone.  So what’s the problem?

Physical attractiveness is the degree to which a person’s physical traits are considered aesthetically pleasing or beautiful.  The term often implies sexual attractiveness or desirability, but can also be distinct from the two; for example, adults may regard children as attractive for various reasons. There are many factors which influence one person’s attraction to another, with physical aspects being one of them. Physical attraction itself includes universal perceptions common in all cultures, as well as aspects that are culturally and socially dependent, along with individual subjective preferences.  Also, it is noted that many of the fashion trade magazines that we can either purchase or view on line are geared more to those that are thinner.  While there are very few trade magazines for the “plump” or fuller figure ladies.  I know there are stores that cater to this population and in many of the department stores they have sections with plus sizes.   But one sad commentary I have noticed is that many of the fashion houses only go up to size 12 (generally), even some stores like Aeropostale, Abercrombie and Fitch and others will not carry larger sizes.   Is this an oversight?   Or when creating the clothing are they worried about the extra fabric they need to use?

In many cases, humans attribute positive characteristics, such as intelligence and honesty, to physically attractive people without consciously realizing it. From research done in the United States and United Kingdom, it was found that the association between intelligence and physical attractiveness is stronger among men than among women. In recent times, evolutionary psychologists have tried to answer why individuals who are more physically attractive should also on average be more intelligent, and have put forward the notion that both general intelligence and physical attractiveness may be indicators of underlying genetic fitness.   Physical attractiveness is a characteristic that suggests fertility and health. These factors contribute to the probability of survival and reproduction for continuing life on Earth.  I feel this shouldn’t be the case.    Men, on average, tend to be attracted to women who are shorter than they are, have a youthful appearance, and exhibit features such as a symmetrical face, full breasts, full lips, and a low waist-hip ratio.  Women, on average, tend to be attracted to men who are taller than they are, display a high degree of facial symmetry, who have broad shoulders, and a relatively narrow waist.

Generally, physical attraction can be studied from a number of perspectives, including universal perceptions common to all human cultures, cultural and social aspects, and individual subjective preferences. Additionally, the perception of attractiveness can have a significant effect on how people are judged in terms of employment or social opportunities, friendship, sexual behavior, and marriage. Some physical features are attractive in both men and women, particularly body and facial symmetry, although one contrary report suggests that “absolute flawlessness” with perfect symmetry can be “disturbing”. One study suggested people were able to “gauge beauty at a subliminal level” by seeing only a glimpse of a picture for one-hundredth of a second. Other important factors include youthfulness, skin clarity and smoothness of skin; and “vivid color” in the eyes and hair. However, there are numerous differences based on gender.

Women also tend to be more attracted to men who are taller than they are.  It has been suggested that the masculinity of facial features is a reliable indication of good health, or, alternatively, that masculine-looking males are more likely to achieve high status.   However, the correlation between attractive facial features and health has been questioned. Sociocultural factors, such as self-perceived attractiveness, status in a relationship and degree of gender-conformity, have been reported to play a role in female preferences for male faces. Studies have found that women who perceive themselves as physically attractive are more likely to choose men with masculine facial dimorphism, than are women who perceive themselves as physically unattractive. In men, facial masculinity significantly correlates with facial symmetry—it has been suggested that both are signals of developmental stability and genetic health.  For the Romans especially, “beardlessness” and “smooth young bodies” were considered beautiful to both men and women. For Greek and Roman men, the most desirable traits of boys were their “youth” and “hairlessness”. Pubescent boys were considered a socially appropriate object of male desire, while post-pubescent boys were considered to be “past the prime”.     The physique of a slim waist, broad shoulders and muscular chest are often found to be attractive to females. Further research has shown that, when choosing a mate, the traits females look for indicate higher social status, such as dominance, resources, and protection.  Some research has shown that body weight may have a when it comes to perceiving attractiveness of the opposite sex. It was found that waist to hip ratio played a smaller role in body preference than body weight in regards to both sexes.  Men often perceive a more muscular male body as being ideal compared to what women perceive to be the ideal male body. This is due to the within-gender prestige granted by increased muscularity and within-gender competition for increased muscularity.

Although virtually all cultures express a marked preference for fair female skin, even those with little or no exposure to European imperialism, and those whose members are heavily pigmented, many are indifferent to male pigmentation or even prefer men to be darker.” Despite this, the aesthetics of skin tone varies from culture to culture. Manual laborers who spent extended periods of time outside developed a darker skin tone due to exposure to the sun. As a consequence, an association between dark skin and the lower classes developed. Light skin became an aesthetic ideal because it symbolized wealth. “Over time society attached various meanings to these colored differences.   Including assumptions about a person’s race, socioeconomic class, intelligence, and physical attractiveness.”     Attractiveness indicates that heterosexual men tend to be attracted to young and beautiful women with bodily symmetry. Rather than decreasing it, modernity has only increased the emphasis men place on women’s looks.

It has been shown that most men enjoy the sight of female breasts.   Some studies indicate that men prefer large, firm breasts, while some studies found men prefer small breasts on women. Smaller breasts were widely associated with youthfulness.  Some speculate that a preference for larger breasts may have developed in Western societies because women with larger breasts tend to have higher levels of the hormones estradiol and progesterone, which both promote fertility,   a study showed that men prefer symmetrical breasts. Breast symmetry may be particularly sensitive to developmental disturbances and the symmetry differences for breasts are large compared to other body parts. Women who have more symmetrical breasts tend to have more children.

Perceptions of physical attractiveness contribute to generalized assumptions based on those attractions. Individuals assume that when someone is beautiful, they have many other positive attributes that make the attractive person more likeable.  This is also called the ‘beautiful-is-good’ effect.   Across cultures, what is beautiful is assumed to be good; attractive people are assumed to be more extroverted, popular, and happy.    From a young age, attractive people receive more attention that helps them develop these characteristics. In one study, beautiful people were found to be generally happier than less beautiful or plain people, perhaps because these outgoing personality traits are linked to happiness, or perhaps because beauty led to increased economic benefits which partially explained the increased happiness. The personality traits of physically attractive people were identified more positively and more accurately than those who were less physically attractive. It was explained that people pay closer attention to those they find physically beautiful or attractive, and thus perceiving attractive individuals with greater distinctive accuracy. People make judgments of physical attractiveness based on what they see, but also on what they know about the person. Specifically, perceptions of beauty are malleable such that information about the person’s personality traits can influence one’s assessment of another person’s physical beauty. A person may be perceived as being more attractive if they are seen as part of a group of friends, rather than alone, according to one study       It is important to note that other factors such as self-confidence may explain or influence these findings as they are based on self-reported attractiveness as opposed to any sort of objective criteria; however, as one’s self-confidence and self-esteem are largely learned from how one is regarded by his/her peers while maturing, even these considerations would suggest a significant role for physical appearance. One writer speculated that “the distress created in women by the spread of unattainable ideals of female beauty” might possibly be linked to increasing incidence of depression.

Those who are attractive are treated and judged more positively than those who are considered unattractive, even by those who know them. Also, attractive individuals behave more positively than those who are unattractive (not always true).   Voters choose political candidates who are more attractive over those who are less attractive.    Men and women use physical attractiveness as a measure of how “good” another person is.  Research suggests that those who are physically attractive are thought to have more socially desirable personalities and lead better lives in general. This is also known as the “what-is-beautiful-is-good effect.” Discrimination against or prejudice towards others based on their appearance is sometimes referred to as lookism.   It really is a shame that those deemed less attractive are discriminated against just by their looks. They are nice people as well and they desired to be seen (and not be ignored and invisible) and have as friends/lovers/partners.     Some turn to forms of cosmetic surgery and other alternatives, just to look better.   What those that are doing this disservice haven’t taken the time to find out what could be the cause the weight, and how it affects the person or what might be the cause of the problem.  Sometimes it’s not always related to food.  Health issues or not, they still are human beings.

Perhaps people try to look more beautiful because they think it would make them happier. However, research shows that physical attractiveness seems

Kathy Kiefer

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