Hello dear readers,
There have been plenty of studies done on the subject of beauty. It’s been proven that infants react more favorably to beautiful people–that those who are attractive enjoy unfair advantages in the workplace and pretty much everywhere else. But is it true?
Beautiful women certainly can’t count on their looks to keep their partners faithful, if you consider the experiences of Uma Thurman, Elin Nordegren, Sandra Bullock, and Jennifer Aniston. (Yes, those are all celebrity examples, but I’ve experienced this much closer to home.) Beauty also doesn’t equate happiness. Just look at Marilyn Monroe, Kurt Cobain, Heath Ledger, and Michael Hutchence. You may envy the self-confidence of the beautiful, but often it’s the lovely among us who are the most insecure about their appearance. Ask all the frustrated men who have tried to compliment an attractive woman. And this isn’t limited to women, either…I’ve known beautiful men who hide their perfectly-honed physiques and who have even suffered from eating disorders.
Handsome men are often called “pretty boys” by their peers, as if their attractiveness somehow makes them less masculine. Women assume they will be unfaithful, or not as good in bed, because they “don’t have to be”.
And beautiful women? Wow, the deck is really stacked against them. Read almost any interview of a supermodel and the same themes reappear: they were tormented by their peers as children; they have trouble making female friends. In your average, everyday corporate workplace, where competition among women can escalate to a fever pitch, the attractive woman may be sabotaged or even shunned. Of course, no one will admit the woman’s looks are the problem. A good friend recently told me that if a beautiful woman is genuinely nice and friendly to her co-workers, she will be viewed with suspicion because “why would anyone that beautiful be nice?”
I did experience the Beautiful Mean Girl once, in college. There was a girl who clearly outshone the rest of us in the genetic jackpot. But she was often cruel, going so far as to mock people with disabilities. I remember her complaining that when she went to her hometown for a visit, the phone rang off the hook, but none of the calls were for her. “The boys are calling my sister now; they used to call for me,” she pouted. Oh, brother. We all rolled our eyes. But aside from that experience, I’ve found beautiful people are no less likely to be kind than anyone else.
It used to be that no one cared what a writer looked like. Before the addition of the book jacket photo, no one even knew. The Internet and increasing pressure on authors to market themselves has changed all that. Some authors have become true celebrities and are now facing the same pressure, as the nasty gossip about Stephenie Meyers’ weight clearly demonstrates.
What’s your opinion, dear readers? Are you more likely to reach for a book if you find the author attractive? Have you ever judged someone by their looks alone, and then found out you were wrong about them? Do attractive people make you jealous or nervous? Are you a beautiful person who’s found your looks have made a difference in your life, for good or ill? Do tell!