Saturday, June 28, 2014

On being Beautiful

Recently, the internet was turned upside down when a routine criminal arrest turned into a world wide conversation on the power of being beautiful.  Jeremy Meeks was apprehended, along with three others, on suspicion of criminal activity.   When the Stockton police department posted images of their newest arrests, they had no idea how a simple image would generate such a heightened reaction simply because the alleged criminal was......strikingly beautiful.
Many have debated about whether it was just "a good pic" or if Jeremy missed his calling as a fashion model.  Whatever your opinion, I'm sure many would agree that his above average looks are certainly "remark-able." Looking back at the entire ordeal, my mind flashed back to the olden days when I'd watch video taped evidence of "beauty bias" in action.  Preferential treatment given to attractive people seemed to occur in a multitude of situations from landing a great job to being helped by total strangers. They've even determined that children are also susceptible to creating positive or negative perceptions based on how a person looks.  Perhaps we, on a basic level, all have something deep down that impacts how we relate to attractive people.  I've even heard that it could be connected to our need for survival in that (1) attractive people are seen as friendlier, more approachable, less dangerous (2) Most want to procreate with someone who is deemed attractive to them.

Heck, this bias towards beauty, that we seem to have, doesn't only apply to other human beings. If we are given a choice to pick out a piece fruit from a bowl of its counterparts, we reach for the brightest, freshest (most attractive) piece of fruit.  Our eyes are naturally drawn to beautiful cars, homes, pieces of art .etc. It's in all of us.

Knowing that attractive bias exists, should we focus our attention on condemning the shallow preferences of others or should we somehow leverage it?  What if, our level of attractiveness can impact the kind of life we live? What if we could be earning a higher wage (as some studies suggest), receive extra support from others that we wouldn't normally have access to and gain other benefits simply if we presented ourselves a different way? What if we could alter the course of our lives by presenting ourselves to the world in an intentional and powerful way.

"There are no ugly women, only lazy ones."

Can you think back to a time when you paid careful attention on how you looked compared to other days. How did people react to you?  Did you seem to emanate a different level of energy than when you just walked out the door without giving yourself a second look?  On an average day I look as if I put approximately 1% of time and energy into the way I look.  My excuse has to do with lack of time.  Once, however, I took a two week vacation and committed to dedicated ample amounts of time to taking care of my skin, doing my hair, keeping my nails chip free, growing my lashes, preparing my clothes, the works.

Everything changed during those two weeks.

People saw me in a new way.  The lingering looks from total strangers seemed endless. People who I once thought were outside my level of attractiveness seemed drawn to me.  It was pretty crazy.   Nothing like I had ever experienced before.  It made me wonder "is this what it's like to be an attractive person. Why is it so different?"  Then time passed and my old habits crept in and soon, I went back to being my old self again.  This whole Jeremy Meeks fiasco helped remind me of how much our appearance impacts the direction of our lives.

 I'm not talking about trying to please others,  I'm referring to being the very best version of ourselves at all times.  And not to mention how much our confidence skyrockets when are look our best.  Let's discuss this more on our next talk on this topic.
  1. Yes there is a difference but I am much too lazy to play into it. I know that if I got up about 30 minutes earlier every morning I could work in my skin routine, maybe put on some foundation and touch up my eyes. I really like sleeping in and I'm not flirting with students cause yeah don't want to get fired. Would it matter at Walmart or Meijer? Probably but I doubt the men I would meet in either could handle my schedule or weirdness so I reserve all of that for vacations and dates.

  2. I totally agree with you. When I take an extra 10 minutes to "beautify" myself I seem.... more charismatic? Also yes society does seem drawn to beauty.

  3. How timely is this post. I just took a hour shower that included lots of shaving ;) , body scrub, pedi, etc. I feel so much better and more attractive. I am trying to get in td habit of extended pamper sessions once a week, it's hard having two kids under two but I know it's necessary. Do u have any suggestions or a post on cute head scarves so I look attractive at bed time with hubby.

  4. I totally agree with that quote, "There are no ugly women, just lazy ones." It explains the "dumpy mom" look exactly. I am working myself out of that phase now by working out and eating right. I have around 40 pounds to lose after having children and living a sedentary lifestyle. When my body doesn't look the way I want, which has been a while, it becomes a horrible domino effect. I stop taking care of my hair, I wear ill-fitting clothes and refuse to buy more in my current size, I stop taking care of my skin, it's awful. As a result I'm pretty invisible to the opposite sex. The main reason I'm getting myself in shape physically first is because I really do miss feeling like a woman, taking the extra time to look pretty, trying on clothes and actually loving what I see, etc. When I used to do that the rewards were "bountiful" for lack of a better word from strangers, family and friends. I was watching Millionare Matchmaker over the weekend and the matchmaker Patty is currently in New York. What stuck out to me is how disgusted she seemed to be by east coast women. She couldn't believe that they walked around in flats all the time, their hair wasn't styled, no makeup, no mani/pedis. She did however make the comment that east coast women were smarter. With her coming from L.A. it just made me wonder why many of us as women feel we can't have it all -physical beauty, brains and strength? The older I get the more I realize I really have to push myself to my higher standards. Sorry for the long comment, lol, but you hit the nail on the head with this post.

  5. I don't think he's strikingly handsome, he looks like he could be a relative to me...
    Nonetheless, yes there is a beauty bias.
    I think when people take care of themselves they become more confident which we all know works over beauty pretty often. We all know that not so beautiful person who is confident and gets whatever he or she wants.

  6. I think beauty should be maintained/sought after only to the extent in which it does actually improve ones life circumstance. Its a very fine line between personal care and vanity, and an obsession with beauty can be extremely devastating to an individual. Great post!

  7. Being BEAUTIFUL is necessary! #nuffsaid