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Beauty Is Skin Deep-Really Now?

Updated on September 18, 2015
gmwilliams profile image

Grace loves to write commentaries on psycho-cultural and sociocultural dynamics in their myriad forms.


Beautiful/attractive people are considered  more positively throughout life.  Companies and corporations tend to hire them in more visible positions where there is a high percentage of public interaction.
Beautiful/attractive people are considered more positively throughout life. Companies and corporations tend to hire them in more visible positions where there is a high percentage of public interaction.

The VERY HIGH Price of Being Perceived Less Attractive

People deemed less attractive are considered and perceived more negatively in this look obsessed society.They tend to earn and/or be promoted less than their more attractive counterparts with the same qualifications.
People deemed less attractive are considered and perceived more negatively in this look obsessed society.They tend to earn and/or be promoted less than their more attractive counterparts with the same qualifications.

Cuties Get Kissed, Uglies Get Dissed-Why Looks Matter

I. Is Beauty/Physical Attractiveness STILL Important? Who DETERMINES This?

Gabourey Sidibe, an up and coming actor, garnered several nominations for her performance in PRECIOUS, including an Academy Award nomination for Best Actress. Despite the accolades Ms.Sidibe received for her work, pundists such as Howard Stern, radio personality, asserted that she was a one hit wonder. Mr. Stern further remarked rather snarkily that there was no future for Ms. Sidibe in the entertainment business.

According to Mr. Stern, Ms. Sibide was too unattractive to ever become a noted actor. Mr. Stern maintained that in no way was she beautiful. Mr. Stern asserted that she was diametrically quite the opposite. Even Joan Cusack, an actor, advised her to leave the entertainment business as it was definitely not for her, adding that the business was extremely image conscious.

Of course, Ms. Sidibe paid such naysayers no attention. She went on to star in several movies in addition to a television series. According to Hollywood standards, she would not be classified as attractive. Her features would be described as plain at best and/or ugly at worst. She is also obese. Hollywood does have standards of what is defined as attractive and/or beautiful. Ms. Sidibe evidently is one of the few actors who refuse to conform to the Hollywood and/or other societal mandates as to what is attractive.

To say that Hollywood has standards of what is considered to be attractive and/or beautiful would be an extreme understatement to say the very least. In fact, Hollywood has very strict standards of what is considered to be attractive. It seems that the more attractive the actor is, the more likely he/she is to succeed.

Yes, the almighty image is everything in Hollywood. The public want their idols to be as perfect as humanly possible. They do not appreciate those who seem to be less than perfect in terms of looks. After all, their idols are what they aspire to.

The public definitely do not wish to aspire to averageness since they are average enough themselves, thank you very much. In other words, a star is supposed to be stellar in every way, especially in looks. The definition of a star is to be beyond that of the so-called average mortal. A star is well, supernaturally spectacular!

II. PEOPLE are STILL JUDGED and EVALUATED Based Upon LOOKS Beginning in Childhood

Not only Hollywood has stringent standards regarding looks, much of society has stringent standards of what is considered to be attractive and/or unattractive. In the television series, UGLY BETTY, Betty Suarez, the protagonist, is a young, fierce, ambitious woman although she is challenged in the looks department.

Ms. Suarez works for MODE, a fashion magazine. In the work environment, she had to endure verbal harassment because of her looks. She was deemed not attractive enough by many of her coworkers, especially by Amanda, Marc St. James, and Wilhelmina Slater, who were considered to be attractive. She was considered the "underdog" in the looks department so to speak.

Remember your parents constantly telling you that beauty is only skin deep? Well, such is not the case at all. Get a reality check! People often judge each other by looks. Looks are what initially draws people to each other. People judge others either positively or negatively based upon the others' looks.

Studies show that children considered to be attractive are deemed more intelligent than those who are considered to be unattractive. Studies confirm that neonatal nurses tend to pay more attention to infants perceived to be attractive. Attractive children are often punished less by both teachers and parents. They are also expected to perform better, achieve more, and be more.

Parents tend to give more attention and love to attractive children. Children perceived to be less attractive are often punished more and/or treated more differentially by both teachers and parents. They are also considered to be less intelligent and have other negative characteristics associated with them.

Children tend to select attractive children as playmates more than they do unattractive and/or less attractive children. Attractive children tend to have more friends and to be more popular than their less attractive and/or unattractive counterparts. Yes, looks do count, even in childhood.

In adolescence, the importance of looks become multifold. Attractive teenagers have myriad advantages over that of less attractive teenagers. They tend to be the popular ones of course and they also have more friendships and/or companionships with those of the opposite gender. Less attractive and/or unattractive teenagers tend to be depressed because they are often excluded from extracurricular and/or social events.

In adulthood, the more attractive a person is, the more he/she is likely to earn. According to a study done by the Federal Reserve, beautiful people earn 5% more than their less attractive counterparts. The study further substantiated that there is a beauty premium on all occupations, particularly those which require a large percentage of public interfacing. The study cited that those whose occupation required interfacing with the public have a higher percentage of attractive employees.

This is quite apropos as these companies pertain that image is crucial. Corporations and companies whose business require massive interaction with the public unspeakably want attractive people. Many corporations and companies believe that attractive people will reflect more positively upon them than less attractive and/or unattractive people. The public oftentimes feel more at ease with attractive people.

This, in turn, means more business for the corporations and companies involved. So corporations and companies view it as good business practice to hire attractive people i.e. because they are "draws" and "enhancers" so to speak. This confirms the premise that people who are considered to be attractive have more successful careers than those who are unattractive even in careers in which looks are not the necessary determinant.

III. Physical Determinants of Beauty

Dr. Randy Thornhil, a professor at the University of New Mexico assert that people with symmetrical or evenly spaced features are considered to be more attractive than those with asymmetrical features. Previous studies also revealed that women with neotonic (babylike, soft) features are considered to be more attractive and/or beautiful than their counterparts with stronger, less neotonic features. Women with very strong and/or sharp features oftentimes are considered to be less attractive in addition to being perceived as threatening.

Dr. Daniel Hamermesh, an economist at the University of Texas, contend that ugly people oftentimes earn less than average salaries while conversely, the more beautiful among us earn larger than average salaries. Attractive people tend to have more dates and of course, more opportunities available to them than their less attractive counterparts. It is what one would call the halo and/or golden person effect. People who are deemed to be attractive are often better adjusted, more intelligent, and popular. People tend to want to be around attractive people more not only in business but in social interactions because of their attractiveness, they have irresistible appeal.

IV. Benefits of Attractiveness

Attractive people also have more self-confidence and self-assurance than their less than attractive and/or unattractive counterparts. That is natural for in many societies, attractive people are often treated more preferentially than those who are not attractive, beginning in early childhood. When one is told that he/she is attractive enough, he/she began to believe it and act accordingly.

It is quite obvious that looks are extremely important in this society. Billions of dollars are spent yearly on cosmetics and other forms of enhancements. Plastic surgery is also a booming business. The rate of plastic surgey is increasing particularly among teenaged girls and those over 40.

People, particularly women, would go through great lengths to be considered attractive. There are people are quite addicted to plastic surgery, often undergoing such surgery many times until they obtain a look which they deem to be perfect. Yes, many girls and women undergo many plastic surgeries to obtain the Barbie Doll look. These girls and women are quite obsessed to be as perfect as possible.

A noted comedienne and author, maintained that men want beautiful women. This celebrity further assert that beauty/attractiveness is extremely important. The celebrity contend that women can be as smart as they want but they will never get men unless they are beautiful/attractive. In other words, if one is not gorgeous/beautiful/attractive, one is a total persona non grata.

Women, more than men, are pressured into being as beautiful/attractive as possible. There is much angst among women regarding the pursuit of beauty. From early childhood, girls are told that in order to be worthwhile, they must be plusses in the looks department. Because of this societal obsession with attractiveness/beauty, many girls have a less than positive self-esteem.

A noted actress, a quadruple threat- a renowned beauty, maintained that she never thought of herself as beautiful. She related that other girls/women were beautiful but not her. Many girls feel that they are quite insignificant because they do not fit the established societal beauty/attractiveness parameters.

This situation becomes exacerbated during the tween and teenaged years when looks are indeed paramount. Tween and teenaged girls are completely vulnerable to societal beauty messages. They worry about their weight, complexion, hair, and other related matters. Many tween and teenaged girls believe that they are less than attractive when in actuality they are quite attractive.

If a tween and/or teenaged girl is deemed less than attractive, she is forcibly pressured to conform into the societal attractive paradigm. Not only the outer society tell these girls that they have to attractive, their parents and other significant people in their lives often give them less than positive reinforcement. Many tween and teenage girls considered to be unattractive and/or less attractive suffer from depression. Some become quite self-destructive and some become quite withdrawn.

Women over 40 are also pressured to be youthfully attractive. Many women believe that they are losing their attractiveness once they reach 40. They contend that in order to be more youthful i.e. more attractive, they must undergo plastic surgery. In this society, youth is equated to being attractive while age is equated with being unattractive.

In this society, youthful women over 40 are considered to be more attractive than their counterparts who look nearer their age. Women over 40 who choose not to undergo plastic surgery and/or other enhancements are simply deemed to have let themselves go to seed and/or considered to be unattractive. The reasoning is that if she wanted to be attractive, she would go through any means necessary to retain and/or enhance her attractiveness quota.

Women are often viewed less positively if they permit themselves to age naturally. In other words, these women are not attractive whatsoever. The premise is that attractive women would let themselves go so to speak. The societal premise is that this woman is totally outrageous-HOW DARE SHE!

Looks are indeed important in this culture. People are oftentimes judged and valued on the basis of their attractiveness quota. Those who are old enough, remember the 1960 presidential debate between John Fitzgerald Kennedy and Richard Millhouse Nixon. Mr. Kennedy was extremely attractive and definitely a "draw" while Mr. Nixon was seemingly unattractive and a "repellant." Putting the prerequisite political experience aside, Mr. Kennedy possessed the physical attractiveness which Mr. Nixon did not. Mr. Kennedy won the presidential race! Yes, looks does matter-it matters quite a lot!

V. Conclusion

In summation, attractiveness is a plus factor. Those who are considered to be attractive often have perks and privileges which the unattractive and/or less attractive do not have. Attractive people are considered to be draws and enhancers. People want to be around attractive people because the latter put them at ease and make them comfortable.

Corporations and companies often hire attractive people because they attract more clientele, especially in jobs which require a lot of people contact. Unattractive people are oftentimes not hired by corporations and companies in people contact jobs because such people would detract and decrease business. In other words, hiring unattractive and/or less attractive people for jobs involving people contact would be a business risk to say the least. Image is indeed an important part of business.

Attractive people also tend to be promoted and earn more than their unattractive and/or less attractive counterparts although the latter may possess stellar educational and job qualifications. The adage that beauty is only skin deep is just a saying. Beauty is not skin deep whatsoever but often an important component and a determinant in business and social interactions. Attractive people have a leg up on the unattractive/less attractive people-sad but true!


How did your looks impact upon your life in terms of general treatment, popularity, and success?

See results

© 2012 Grace Marguerite Williams


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    • bell du jour profile image

      bell du jour 5 years ago from Ireland

      Have you ever noticed that the nicer a person is inside the more beautiful they appear on the outside? The opposite is also true, a person can be very good looking, but if they come across as nasty their looks can diminish in others eyes. Inner beauty does shine, and I also believe the old saying ' a woman gets the face she deserves' :-)


    • girishpuri profile image

      Girish puri 5 years ago from NCR , INDIA

      Very thoughtful, i have to rethink the old quote stating 'beauty is only in the eye of beholder. nice hub.

    • Express10 profile image

      H C Palting 5 years ago from East Coast

      Thanks for another interesting hub. Many of the things you speak of are seen in daily life in a variety of settings. In general where looks are all that one has to go on, the most attractive do tend to get preferential treatment. However, there are a wide variety of perspectives and preferences that don't hold looks in highest regard and a few settings where it can be a detriment. There is something to be said for any person that is well groomed, well mannered, AND intelligent, whether they are a perfect 10 or not. While the media and vacuous people push beauty at any cost, it's a balance that many people prefer.

    • tussin profile image

      I'M BANNED Y'ALL!!!!!!!!!! 5 years ago from Behind You

      I disagree that women who age naturally are considered less attractive. The women who get the most grief about their looks as they grow older are the ones who get plastic surgery and look like someone stretched a latex glove over their face. Men really don't want women who look like aliens, and the viewing public doesn't like looking at plastic surgery freaks on the screen either.

    • gmwilliams profile image

      Grace Marguerite Williams 5 years ago from the Greatest City In The World-New York City, New York

      Letitallicious, thank you so much for your take regarding the issue. In America society, aged women, unless they are extremely youthful looking, are not considered to be desirable while in Europe, aged women are considered to be highly desirable because they have life experience.

    • Letitialicious profile image

      Letitialicious 5 years ago from Paris via San Diego

      Very interesting. I know all you said is true, only the definition of what's beautiful is cultural. The ancient Greeks considered it more beautiful to have some interesting flaw. Certainly the French do. At least it's reassuring to know that perfect symmetry hasn't always--and doesn't always--cut the muster when it comes to sex appeal.

    • Mark Johann profile image

      Mark Johann 5 years ago from Italy

      I agree gmwilliams and ebonny. I am weighing your thoughts and I find it also heavy and worthy of belief. You have good views about life.

      Good face versus bad face, for me, let's see.

    • profile image

      Ebonny 5 years ago

      Most unfortunately, it is often the case that beauty counts over content, personality, skills and knowledge.

      Also the world has been brainwashed into accepting a particular idea of beauty, but very slowly as time goes by unconventional beauties become more recognised and applauded. Pity we cannot speed up this process for there is beauty in all of us.

    • gmwilliams profile image

      Grace Marguerite Williams 5 years ago from the Greatest City In The World-New York City, New York

      Mark, thank you for your spot on analysis. Not only those with lower intelligence tend to overvalue looks, it is also the immature. Mature and evolved people value a person's innate characteristics and intelligence over physical looks. As Judge Judy stated beauty fades but dumb last forever!

    • Mark Johann profile image

      Mark Johann 5 years ago from Italy

      Looks can be deceiving. Those people with lower intelligence tend to this way. They preferred looks rather than the true self. Meet the person, talk to him, look at his eyes, converse with him, dig up on him and you will know his personality.

      I think being handsome/beautiful for me is being a pleasant looking person, clean, tidy, well-organized, order and always wearing that smile.

    • gmwilliams profile image

      Grace Marguerite Williams 5 years ago from the Greatest City In The World-New York City, New York

      Beyond-Politics, I heartedly welcome your analysis of the situation. Unfortunately, this society is quite a superficial one. Looks are indeed valued over more enduring qualities such as integrity, intelligence, and/or other related characteristics. Good looking people have avenues and opportunities opened for them based upon their physicalities that less good looking people do not have. Our dinosaur brains believe that beauty is supreme and better over the less beauty or as some people would say, the ugly. This is quite a juvenile premise indeed. Hopefully, one day such premises such as looks will matter less than more enduring and lasting qualities. Until then, humankind will have to endure the high school premise of the hierarchy of looks and the role it plays in our lives.

    • Beyond-Politics profile image

      Beyond-Politics 5 years ago from The Known Universe (

      I personally rank intelligence higher on a list of "preferred qualities" in a prospective mate than physical attractiveness (can't tell you how many "cute-but-dumb" women I have met who offer nothing in the way of substance). Unfortunately, we've all been a party to perpetuating the phenomenon psychologists call "the halo effect;" attributing favorable attributes to those considered more physically attractive individuals. And yes, anthropologists and other social scientists will say that this subconscious thinking is "natural" because it harkens back to the notion of "natural selection." Despite these realities, your thesis is really spot-on in that we really need to stop fooling ourselves into thinking that "looks don't matter." Sadly, for most of us, they do


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