Double-Edged Sword

Beauty is valued in every aspect of life. Women, cars, homes—if something is beautiful it is innately seen as good. “What is beautiful is good.” I first heard that phrase in a psychology class early in my college career. It actually goes along with a concept known as The Halo Effect. When people are faced with a beautiful person they do not know, they are likely to rate them as being kind and a good person, in contrast to someone who is not as attractive (Baumeister & Bushman, 2015). Looks have become everything in our society.

I don’t think there is anything wrong with being beautiful. One has no control over how they are composed from birth. It’s a huge advantage in many ways. When entering the work force and searching for a job, a person who is attractive will more than likely have an easier time finding a job, even if they aren’t as qualified, then someone who is not seen as beautiful. An Italian study showed that attractive people had a 36% higher callback rate than unattractive people, with no variation in qualifications (Business Insider, 2013).  

At the same times, one’s good looks can also be a curse. I don’t want to be defined by my looks, and there have been times that my appearance has certainly been my defining feature to other people. I am who I am because of my brain, my character, and my actions. Those things make me up as well, not just my face and my physical attributes. I once told someone that I planned on becoming a doctor, perhaps a surgeon. His response was that he never would have guessed it, because I was too attractive to fit the mold of someone who is smart and scientific—in his opinion. I was a little surprised, but mostly sad that society sees someone with good looks in one category, and intelligence in another. I do not want to be judged y what I look like—whether I’m viewed as attractive or not. How unjust is it to deem someone unfit for a job not based on their skills, but based on what they look like? Unfortunately, that’s reality in many companies, and many people experience discrimination over something they can’t control.

I always try to have perceptions about others based on the way they treat people, how they act, and the type of heart they have. In 50 years, people probably won’t remember what you wore and how good you looked. But they will remember how you make them feel and what kind of a person you were. Were you giving, or selfish? Kindhearted or cold? Hard working or always waiting for handouts? This just goes to show that beauty is by no means what matters the most in life. It should not be viewed as such. When I look in the mirror I judge myself based on the character I aim to project. I believe that’s the way one should view themself—because looks are pretty much composed by good genes, or a chance combination of nice features during fetal development, and growth into adulthood.

It is my hope that young people are taught to love themselves for their inner beauty, and maybe society will catch on accordingly in some time.

Author: Emily Simpson University of Central Florida Psychology Student

Emily is a dual-degree seeking student in psychology and communication disorders, with minors in biomedical sciences and nonprofit management. Emily plans on getting her master’s degree in neuroscience then going to medical school. Emily wants to become a doctor of neurology, specializing in disorders affecting communication.