There is the saying, beauty if in the eye of the beholder. What this means is that we all have different standards for what we think is beautiful. However, there are physical characteristics that most all people will agree make someone beautiful. Who would disagree that the model Christie Brinkley is not beautiful? And she’s in her 60s! The combination of symmetrical facial features, eye and hair color and the shape of one’s mouth are all factors in determining what we, as humans, find beautiful. There have been numerous studies conducting on how and why toddlers or babies react more quickly and positively to pretty faces. The overwhelming results show that beauty is easy to recognize and pleasant to look at (Dingfelder). In addressing the question posed in this paper, the answer is complex in that physical beauty if important to some people and less to others.
Most everyone has an idea of what is physically beautiful about someone. It may be their hair, or eyes or smile. What is attractive to one person may not be so to another. However, overall, when asked what is attractive about someone, the response is usually about his or her physical appearance. Rarely do you hear someone reply, “What makes someone beautiful to me is his or her generosity, courage, kindness, and sense of humor” (Morgan, par. 1). In addition, what people think is attractive about a woman may have more to do with her physical appearance whereas when asked the same thing about men, the response may be more about their strength (Morgan). As a species, we are programmed to reproduce. Men are attracted to women who will be good mates. It has to do with facial symmetry and body shape. The ideal of a beautiful woman has fluctuated over the centuries. If you look at paintings by Rubens, the women are voluptuous and round. This was the ideal in the 17th century. If you look at models from the 1960s, when Twiggy was the ideal, they are skinny and flat chested. Does this mean a skinny woman is more appealing as a mate to reproduce? It depends who you ask. Men may not even realize why they choose the woman they do, but it’s in their DNA to look for a reproductive mate. This idealization goes back millions of years and even though we may not even realize it, this equation is a big part of which men choose as mates (Morgan).
Lastly, physical beauty can play an important role in success. Studies have proven that attractive people are more likely to get hired and make more money (Stanger). This may sound cruel, but it’s true. Attractive people are seen by companies as having the ability to bring in more money. Of course, they may be truer for a real estate company then say, a teaching job, where credentials are more important than appearance. In studies, this is referred to as “the pleasure of dealing with good-looking people” (Stanger par. 3).
In conclusion, while people may say they are more attracted to inner beauty versus physical beauty, for most of us, physical beauty does matter. But one has to keep in mind that what’s beautiful to one person may not be so to someone else. If the most beautiful person in he world is a horrible person that will come to light at some point. Good looks can only hide so much. Inner beauty is really just an expression. We all have good qualities that have nothing to do with how we look. Inner beauty takes longer to recognize because you have to get to know someone to recognize that. Physical beauty gives one an advantage because it’s universally recognized and has its advantages and disadvantages because not all beautiful people are taken seriously in life.
- “Attractive People are Simply More Successful.” Business Insider. 9 Oct 2012. Web. Accessed 8 June 2017.
- Dingfelder, Sadie. “Pretty faces: Easy on the Brain?” American Psychological Association, Vol. 37, No. 9, p. 32. 2006. Web. Accessed 8 June 2017.
- Morgan, Carole. “Outer Beauty vs. Inner Beauty: We Have it Backwards.” Huffpost. 31 March 2016. Web. Accessed 8 June 2017.