Mirror, Mirror, on the Wall

Physical beauty. I used to have it and the attention it evoked from other people. I never had to carry my own packages to the car, pick up a dropped purse, or wait for long in line. People bent over backwards to be my friend or show me positive attention.

So, I don’t want to hear a “beautiful person” say they have it bad. I’m now much older and much rounder. I’ve aged, as well. I don’t command the attention from others as I once did. So, I can say I’ve been on both sides of the beauty vs average comparison.

I’d much prefer the beauty. I’m thinking about crash dieting (not the unhealthy kind, but just veggies, beans, and fruits) to lose a lot of weight, so I can once again be more accepted in society. No, it isn’t fair, and I have lived many years as an overweight woman to try to “prove” something to myself. The only thing I proved was that beauty still wins.

Yes, I have a quirky personality and draw others to me. I truly love other people, though, and I think it shows.

Deborah Rhode, a law professor at Stanford University, cited a survey in which over half of young women said they would prefer to be hit by a truck than be fat. (The Economist, 8/27/11). That is more true than people think. I asked some of my own girl friends that question. I said, “Really dumb or really ugly?” All took being beautiful and dumb over being intelligent and ugly.

(Psychology Today, Ten Politically Incorrect Truths About Human Nature, By Alan S. Miller, Ph.D., Satoshi Kanazawa, Ph.D., published on July 01, 2007 – last reviewed on June 18, 2009)

Men like blond bombshells (and women want to look like them)

Women’s desire to look like Barbie—young with small waist, large breasts, long blond hair, and blue eyes—is a direct, realistic, and sensible response to the desire of men to mate with women who look like her. There is evolutionary logic behind each of these features.

Men prefer young women in part because they tend to be healthier than older women. One accurate indicator of health is physical attractiveness; another is hair. Healthy women have lustrous, shiny hair, whereas the hair of sickly people loses its luster. Because hair grows slowly, shoulder-length hair reveals several years of a woman’s health status.

Men also have a universal preference for women with a low waist-to-hip ratio. They are healthier and more fertile than other women; they have an easier time conceiving a child and do so at earlier ages because they have larger amounts of essential reproductive hormones. Thus men are unconsciously seeking healthier and more fertile women when they seek women with small waists.

Men may prefer women with large breasts for the same reason they prefer women with small waists. A new study of Polish women shows that women with large breasts and tight waists have the greatest fecundity, indicated by their levels of two reproductive hormones (estradiol and progesterone).

Blond hair is unique in that it changes dramatically with age. Typically, young girls with light blond hair become women with brown hair. Thus, men who prefer to mate with blond women are unconsciously attempting to mate with younger (and hence, on average, healthier and more fecund) women. It is no coincidence that blond hair evolved in Scandinavia and northern Europe, probably as an alternative means for women to advertise their youth, as their bodies were concealed under heavy clothing.

Women with blue eyes should not be any different from those with green or brown eyes. Yet preference for blue eyes seems both universal and undeniable—in males as well as females. One explanation is that the human pupil dilates when an individual is exposed to something that she likes. For instance, the pupils of women and infants (but not men) spontaneously dilate when they see babies. Pupil dilation is an honest indicator of interest and attraction. And the size of the pupil is easiest to determine in blue eyes. Blue-eyed people are considered attractive as potential mates because it is easiest to determine whether they are interested in us or not.

The irony is that none of the above is true any longer. Through face-lifts, wigs, liposuction, surgical breast augmentation, hair dye, and color contact lenses, any woman, regardless of age, can have many of the key features that define ideal female beauty. And men fall for them. Men can cognitively understand that many blond women with firm, large breasts are not actually 15 years old, but they still find them attractive because their evolved psychological mechanisms are fooled by modern inventions that did not exist in the ancestral environment.

So, my summation is, if you look good, you have it easier finding a partner in life. If you look good, you are treated positively; people are more willing to be friends with you, trust you more, be more open to you. People who look good have better chances at moving up in companies than unattractive people. I know these things from experience – either my own or friends’.

As sad as it is, I’m going to buy into our society’s preferences, and I’m going to get healthy and look good again. Yes, it’s shallow to judge others by appearance, but appearance is also the first way to size up an individual. Fact is fact. We all do this sizing up when we meet someone.

It’s off to the kitchen for me. I’m making a low-cal dinner. Ciao till next time!


2 thoughts on “Mirror, Mirror, on the Wall

  1. I hate that the world works this way but i know where you’re coming from! Your research is really good, i hope you don’t go to extreme lengths to diet or anything. Having confidence in yourself as you are is priceless in terms of self-esteem AND sexyness 😉 haha xx

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