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Switch to Forum Live View beauty bias - immoral or natural instinct
5 years ago  ::  Jun 12, 2010 - 11:29AM #1
Myownpath
Posts: 949

This topic seems to make the popular news curcuits every now and then along with discrimination toward short men. It caught my eye and I started to think about the "moral" implications vs. human nature.

Many biases are obvious - race, sex, sexual orientation, nationality, age, weight etc but people truly do show preference toward attractive people. Less attractive women are paid less, marry less, less likely to be hired or promoted.  More atractive women are considered good, kind, honest etc. Less attractive people are more likely to receive poor performance reviews, and more likely to be poor. Children consider the prettier teacher nicer, better, kinder... Studies consistently reveal this human side toward preference of beauty.

It is said Abercrombie and Fitch held weekly meetings to review its sales associates for signs or weight gain, breakouts...

11 percent of surveyed couples would abort if the fetus was predisposed toward obesity.

I think the challenge is that people do not realize they are discriminating. Less attractive people especially women are being held back. Less money, less promotions etc. can strongly impact  someone's life in negative and limiting ways. I have seen this happen first hand. The people discriminating or showing preference are usually clueless as to their behavior. I recall a friend who commented on a professor showing great interest and encouragement that she should pursue politcal science. It was obvious to me that the professor was reacting to her being a "hot" long light blond haired woman. She was unaware she was being favored. There have been tests using extremely attractive women dressed in fat suits. They said they couldn't wait to get out of them. People treated them terribly; they were previously unaware that people treated them kindly because they were attractive.

I recall long ago I entered a building - opened my own doors, doors closed in front of me. The very next day I had an interview in that same building. I was dressed up, hair done, makeup. Men held the doors open for me. People talked kindly to me. The difference between the two days in the same doorway were drastic and eye opening.

I also had a job in which I learned the "pretty girls" made nearly $2 more than I did. I had a college degree, knew the computers, and did more work. They did not know the computers and simply processed and packaged the work to be sent out to clients.  My boss had a preferrence for pretty girls and rewarded them. The higher-ups were also convince of their competence and further rewarded them financially. Of course they were able to afford nice clothes, better cars, and vacations while I struggled to pay my student loan.

So the question is - is this our nature scientifically proven and all is fair, survival of the fittest, or is this discrimination a moral concern, afterall, some lives are being reward while other's are being limited?

Are some people more greatly challenged manifesting their desires in this world not because God or divine timing is not in alignment, but for the main reason that other people less prefer their looks? People prefer someone not only attractive, but someone who talks kindly or sugar-coats their words. Most people are turned off by someone who bluntly says the truth like it is and prefers someone who stays quite or says the "happy" version. Could we unknowingly be limiting someone elses life causing them hardships because we've judged them by their looks?

Although I am no longer a theist, some viewed attractiveness as good since the person was reincarnated as an attractive person because of the karma from doing something good in a past life.


Could the "doors" that "God closes" sometimes really be discrimination from other people and not a reflection of a less attractive person's efforts, skills, work ethic, and spiritual advancement? We are told "God has another plan for you" but could it sometimes be that really someone was subtly discriminating toward you? On the flip side, could a manifestation of a desire, good fortune, actually be a result of someone favoring your personality, demeanor, or physical looks? Could possibly the spiritual work that results in manifestion, that some more new agey types believe in, simply be the result of certain human dynamics?

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5 years ago  ::  Jun 12, 2010 - 8:18PM #2
Blü
Posts: 25,274

Myownpath


So the question is - is this our nature scientifically proven and all is  fair, survival of the fittest, or is this discrimination a moral  concern, afterall, some lives are being reward while other's are being  limited?


I'm rather a philistine on the morality of uglyism / personalityism.  Sometimes you need to give priority to the qualifications and abilities of people applying for particular work or social position; but if they're more or less equal, the more attractive will get the job.  And a great many positions that involve interaction with fellow workers or the public simply work best if the personalities involved get along better rather than worse.  Elections can be won and lost on uglyism.


And when it comes to personal relationships, there's no question - you go towards what you find attractive full stop.


So it's a deep part of human nature, it's there because for a very long time it was (and I'd guess still is) beneficial for the species, and one way or another I don't see it going away.


Rescue comes from the opportunities arising because everyone sees attractive and unattracive through slightly differently lenses, even though strong trends are there.  (And rescue no doubt also comes from plastic surgery, deportment classes, elocution lessons and the gym.)


 


As against that, justice and health and social welfare programs need to be blind to it.  The notion of the 'deserving poor' is crap, for example, because it means 'the kind of poor I personally approve of'.


 

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5 years ago  ::  Jun 13, 2010 - 1:22PM #3
Jcarlinbn
Posts: 7,102

As you note, taking care of your appearance in the fashion of the society you are trying to participate in is certainly important.  This is not so much discrimination as compliance.  Many years ago John Molloy did a study showing that dressing according to the fashion of the boss was critical to success all else being equal.  But that last phrase is the key.  If you don't have a clear advantage in some necessary aspect of the job, doing the best you can with what you have is the way to hold your own.  


But even then for the run of the mill anybody can do it type job the more attractive to the taste of the boss will always be preferred.  Life is a mating game. Being mammalian insures it, and attractiveness is always important.  Not the only criteria, certainly, but unless you are extremely and obviously superior in some important criteria, one had best try to be as attractive as possible, male or female.  As Arthur Miller noted if you have nothing else you can always ride on a smile and a shoeshine.  But even if you are extraordinarily competent, you better still have the smile and the shoeshine.  


Jun 12, 2010 -- 11:29AM, Myownpath wrote:

I recall long ago I entered a building - opened my own doors, doors closed in front of me. The very next day I had an interview in that same building. I was dressed up, hair done, makeup. Men held the doors open for me. People talked kindly to me. The difference between the two days in the same doorway were drastic and eye opening. 




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5 years ago  ::  Jun 14, 2010 - 6:45AM #4
Don't_Be_Captious
Posts: 1,035

Jun 12, 2010 -- 11:29AM, Myownpath wrote:



So the question is - is this our nature scientifically proven and all is fair, survival of the fittest, or is this discrimination a moral concern, afterall, some lives are being reward while other's are being limited?



 


imo that's the crux of any issue concerning ethics:  Some people seem prone to defend "anything goes" if it conforms to objective "Darwinian" ethics, i.e. "Social Darwinism" etc.


 


But "ethics" proper must take into account that in some ways, human society must impose strictures to avoid purely "Darwinian" ethics.  The problem is figuring just what & such-and-such is ethical, or not.


 


But there is no way I would ever acquiesce to allow notions of pure law of the jungle, survival of the fittest, to serve as suitably adequate models for human social relations.


 


 


 


 


 


 


 



Although I am no longer a theist, some viewed attractiveness as good since the person was reincarnated as an attractive person because of the karma from doing something good in a past life.


 


This is Calvinism, or something, the belief that your material success in this life is somehow preordained by God beforehand (before you were born), because He knew ahead of time (before you were born) that you were "going to be" good, go to heaven, etc.  All crap.


 


 


 



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5 years ago  ::  Jun 14, 2010 - 8:04AM #5
ozero
Posts: 1,411

I think that if you could take a closer look at the situation, life favors the average rather than the extraordinary.  Of course, I'm also pretty sure that what is considered beautiful is actually the person who is most average.  While growing up we make a composite, much like the computer does, of all the people we know (and presumably like) and that is our image of beauty.  I think that accounts for significant variations in the concept of beauty in various locations.  (A similar brain process works to give us our ideosyncratic language dialect, it's a composite of the language of people we listen to.)


But ask an intelligent, very beautiful woman whether she gets many dates from men that she finds interesting and attractive and you'll likely find that she doesn't.  Men and women seek someone who is their same same attractiveness number on a scale of 1-10.  Since the scale is a bell curve, you're a lot better off if you're a 5 or 6 than a 9 or 10.  Ask that beautiful woman and you'll find that the men that ask them out are generally egotistical and shallow, with a highly overvalued opinion of what number they are. The men with all the characteristics that they really value are afraid of them and won't ask them out.


I'm sure it varies, but I think that beauty can get you in the door at business or marriage, but it's who you are inside that keeps you from being shown the door and invited to leave.  Beauty only works (especially in marriage) for the first few days or months. 

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5 years ago  ::  Jun 14, 2010 - 8:05PM #6
Myownpath
Posts: 949

I think that if you could take a closer look at the situation, life favors the average rather than the extraordinary.


Averageness is probably relating more to skill, intelligence, etc. and not beauty. Products, information, education, etc. is dumbed down for the average person.  Hands down attractiveness is favored in social situations or as a result of a social situations and well substantiated in research.


But ask an intelligent, very beautiful woman whether she gets many dates from men that she finds interesting and attractive and you'll likely find that she doesn't.


This is a myth. Something you heard long ago and assume it is true.  If a very beautiful woman doesn't get dates, something else, perhaps style, personality, etc. is factoring into the situation. Attractive women do get more dates and more attention. Ask any plain Jane who has a hot friend and they will tell you guys will hit on their friend.  I've heard about this type of research before and this is just one that I was able to quickly find.http://faculty.babson.edu/krollag/org_site/soc_psych/berscheid_attract.htmlnot the best, but I'll keep looking if you want.


I recall in my younger days  watching the order in which boys would approach a girl to roller skate during couples dance. The girls were asked to gather at one side of the rink. Girls were picked off in the order of attractiveness. The most attractive first down to the more plain girls.


Men and women seek someone who is their same same attractiveness number on a scale of 1-10.   Yes and sometimes SES


Since the scale is a bell curve, you're a lot better off if you're a 5 or 6 than a 9 or 10. Cannot be substantiated. An 8 sounds good to me.


Ask that beautiful woman and you'll find that the men that ask them out are generally egotistical and shallow, with a highly overvalued opinion of what number they are. Hmm are you saying that beautiful women are this knowledgeable and do not need to be substantiated by their claims? Her views can be flawed also. Actually many woman will say that men overrate themselves.


The men with all the characteristics that they really value are afraid of them and won't ask them out. Isn't this a classic problem for many???


I'm sure it varies, but I think that beauty can get you in the door at business or marriage, but it's who you are inside that keeps you from being shown the door and invited to leave.  Beauty only works (especially in marriage) for the first few days or months. 


Depends on the situation and couple. Loss of beauty can lead to divorce. It happens alot!

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5 years ago  ::  Jun 14, 2010 - 8:10PM #7
Myownpath
Posts: 949

But "ethics" proper must take into account that in some  ways, human society must impose strictures to avoid purely "Darwinian" ethics.  The problem is figuring just what & such-and-such is ethical, or not.


and this is difficult if people are totally unaware that they are showing favortism. Beauty is aesthetic and cannot be pinpointed as easily as say age or race.

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5 years ago  ::  Jun 15, 2010 - 6:39AM #8
Don't_Be_Captious
Posts: 1,035

Jun 14, 2010 -- 8:10PM, Myownpath wrote:


But "ethics" proper must take into account that in some  ways, human society must impose strictures to avoid purely "Darwinian" ethics.  The problem is figuring just what & such-and-such is ethical, or not.


 


and this is difficult if people are totally unaware that they are showing favortism. Beauty is aesthetic and cannot be pinpointed as easily as say age or race.




 


Sometimes I feel, even though I'm straight, I've got an aesthetic compass or something similar to gay men, because I've noticed this kind of thing all my life, to the point I feel a little guilty myself if I catch myself giving favor to a pretty girl over a plain one (not guilty enough to stop myself, usually, though).  OTOH, I think it may be a bit naive to suppose that most other men aren't themselves aware of what they themselves are doing, when they favor a pretty woman over a plain one.  In private moments between men alone, it can become clear that they can be & often are cynical, Nietzchean bastards, exploiting & playing on women's insecurities etc. to get what they want -- which is most often responsibility-free sex with as many and as attractive of women as possible.

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5 years ago  ::  Jun 15, 2010 - 6:50AM #9
Don't_Be_Captious
Posts: 1,035

Jun 14, 2010 -- 8:10PM, Myownpath wrote:

Beauty is aesthetic and cannot be pinpointed as easily as say age or race.





Actually, this might not be completely true.  fwiu much research is already in which shows pretty conclusively that there are many key features in the human form, and for each sex, which may be said to be "universals" which are probabilistically favored by most members of the species & of each sex; such as facial symmetry; a certain proportional size of the forehead; spacing of the eyes; size of lips; that most human females appear most fertile, and thus most sexually attractive to males, when they are between the ages of 13 to 25 years old; and so on.  Perhaps all the exact features aren't known with metaphysical certainty, but it does seem like the age-old aphorism that "beauty is in the eye of the beholder" is likely not a given, particularly when it comes to sexual selection.

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5 years ago  ::  Jun 15, 2010 - 6:44PM #10
Myownpath
Posts: 949

 Yes this is true. I heard this also. I guess it is more a matter of style - traditional, goth, corporate, artsy, hippy, sporty, party-type...

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