Physical Attractiveness | INFJ Forum

Physical Attractiveness

Discussion in 'Relationships and Sociology' started by Faye, Jan 31, 2010.

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  1. Faye

    Faye ^_^
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    I've been reading a book entitled "The Physical Attractiveness Phenomena" by Gordon Patzer, which is basically a summation of social psychological research on the subject. From this, I have come to the conclusion that physical attractiveness is the most important characteristic of a person's personality and is one of the most important factors in how successful and happy that person is. From the book:

    Basically, people who are physically attractive are perceived and treated as better by virtually everyone, especially people who claim that physical attractiveness doesn't motivate them. The bias is more strongly ingrained than sexism, racism, and ageism (though it definitely has some overlap with ageism and racism).

    To even suggest this notion to people is blasphemy because people live in the delusion that physical attractiveness doesn't matter so much to them, and INFJs, I have observed, are especially fond of this delusion. I like to think that personality or intelligence is the most important aspect of a person for me, but I know that when I observe these tendencies in myself and see how heavily ingrained they are, I know that it is a lie. Physical attractiveness is more important to me than any other aspect of a person, at least when it comes to potential relationships. Many people will deny this tendency existing within themselves, but we are all susceptible to it and have all been subject to it.

    I believe that anyone who claims that physical attractiveness isn't the most important aspect of a person to them, especially if they are regularly exposed to modern media, is a liar. However, I don't hold it against them because that is the socially accepted thing to say and bad faith to ascribe to.

    All this makes me wonder how physically attractive I actually am, because although we tend to perceive ourselves in a distorted manner, others usually can come to a consensus with only slight variation. They wont say it to your face, but everyone judges you based on the way you look, and you judge them.

    I want to say that there is more to a person (and there is, in a way), and I know that is what many of you are going to want to say, but it is a fairly weak argument when you consider the impact of labeling theory in this scenario. Don't pretend nobody has ever told you "you're hot" or "you're ugly" or some variation thereof. I suspect that this label is one of the most influential labels that a person can typically adopt.

    What do you all think? Are you all going to be so blind that you will attempt to deny that this is how the world works? Another common lie that people tell themselves in order to try to justify this kind of thinking is that hygiene, cosmetics, etc... are what make the difference in physical attractiveness, so it is a person's fault if they are unattractive (never mind that some people are just born more attractive and with better genes than others). It is about as false as believing that everyone is born with equal intelligence.

    Sorry if I seem angry, but this does upset me.
     
  2. enigma

    enigma Armed and Fabulous!

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    Actually I completely agree.
    And if we can just admit it, maybe you can recognize when you do it and move beyond it. I try to. I know I do it, I know it is done to me with every client I meet... its life , its human, its society.
     
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  3. OP
    Faye

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    Yes, that is a good point that I forgot to mention. If people recognize this, then something can be done to address it. We do have the ability to address it (meaning it isn't so hardwired in us that we can't control it). I'm not talking about romantic relationships (nobody will settle), but we could, for example, make it something that employers not discriminate against.
     
  4. Reon

    Reon Midnight's Garden

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    I disagree. People can be successful and happy and yet be ugly at the same time. Harder? Perhaps. But simplifying it to the point that "good looking people" get everything doesn't really work.

    True.
    I think that's another issue, looks are an important part of dating and not necessarily succeeding in life.

    Differing opinions ftl? It's important, but at a point you realize that the bitch your dating IS A BITCH.
    An unconfident good looking person gets no where just as fast as a ugly unconfident person.

    This paragraph is a fallacy, figure out which one it is. Also being told of your physical attractiveness, to that person, is just a party of growing up.

    It's funny that you bring up intelligence, if I'm born with less intelligence than you, am I already out of the race?

    You do seem angry, but it's ok.

    Random info I couldn't fit anywhere else:

    I wouldn't necessarily completely agree that physical attractiveness is the single most important thing about a person, what about people who are severely disfigured after accidents. Some do find love, even though that's hard. Then again, that brings up another thing that physical attractiveness is a very personal thing, and while summing it up that "beautiful people are just lucky as all get out" seems rather depressing; that doesn't really explain anything or even help anyone.
     
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  5. WellNoWonder

    WellNoWonder Peace Through Action

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    I'm aware that most people think this way.

    But as a youth I decided if I was going to remain sane in this world, I'd better not even begin thinking this way.

    When I was 5, I got called "black and ugly" by the woman's daughter who ran the latchkey I went to. My kids now attend the same preschool, and the daughter is now in her early 40s, but I still remember. I speak with her, but something in me will not allow me to trust her. Maybe it's a grudge? I hope not. But I don't trust people who are caught up in analyzing physical attributes, rather placing a great weight on them.

    I was young, maybe 10 or so, when I simply started disregarding physical features, skin color, fatness, skinniness, whatever. It was because of the pain I felt early in life. It taught me an early lesson on human behavior, and made me wonder if I were even human to be able to adopt such a notion.

    However, I am still aware of the prejudices which exist, and am a rebel against them.
     
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  6. J. Cardigan

    J. Cardigan Community Member

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    Physical attractiveness isn't everything, nor does it come close. Intelligence, personality, and social ability have a lot to do with everything.

    With that being said, being attractive makes life so much easier.
     
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  7. OP
    Faye

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    Of course it varies from individual to individual, but there is a very strong general tendency.
    It is an important part of succeeding in life. Teachers and employers have been shown to favor more attractive people. Who you marry is an important part of success: whether they are a doctor or a sanitation worker will greatly effect your quality of life.

    What if it was the case that more attractive people were treated in a way that caused them to have a more healthy view of themselves and nicer method of interacting with others, in general? It has been shown that more attractive people receive more smiles, comments, and other pro-social behavior. Unless they were somehow disturbed, why wouldn't they reciprocate it? Of course there are very attractive people who have horrible personalities, but do we know that they constitute a significant portion of attractive people, or do they just stand out? Movies like "Mean Girls" definitely contribute to the stereotypes. Also, it is important to note that just about everyone is an asshole/bitch/whatever to someone else. Just because one person hates someone doesn't mean another person wont like them.

    But do good looking people who have a realistic perspective on how others view them experience the same difficulties that ugly people who have a realistic perspective on how others view them? I'd suspect that even if the people have abysmal self-esteem that the good looking people have less difficulty.

    You should also note that this isn't just in relationships or in interactions where looks are a conscious factor. Take a job interview for example. You wouldn't expect the potential employer to evaluate the person's physical attractiveness, but they do, and in scenarios such as this, it doesn't matter what their self-esteem is.

    This paragraph would be the informal fallacy of straw-man if an only if I had set it up as to assume that I was refuting the entirety of possible arguments against the set of positions that I had presented. I was only refuting one tiny possible aspect, and I am aware that a multitude of issues remain unresolved and no firm case has been made. I'm not going to declare victory, but this isn't an entirely rhetorical endeavor because the research is empirical. I suggest looking up the author.
    Do you go to MIT?

    And no, you're never out of the race, theoretically. But I do think that yes, we are basically stuck with what we have, and there will be many people out there who are better than us. If you want to be happy, don't envy them, but this thread isn't about happiness or what makes people feel happy.

    I do believe that our life courses are basically determined before we were born. I'm not a total fatalist, but you can't play a card that you weren't dealt.
    People who are severely disfigured are an atypical case and aren't actually addressed by these general findings.

    It certainly explains why some people behave differently to those of different levels of attractiveness. I think that information can be helpful, but yes it is depressing.
     
  8. Timeless

    Timeless Community Member

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    This is why I love a sexy body and a sexy mind.

    Why settle of one when you can have the best of both worlds?

    Remember that line from the movie, Liar Liar (1997)?
    Seriously though, like I said in the past, I rather not lie to myself and portend to be content with someone who isn't physically attractive. I think it's just as important, not more, or less compared to a cool personality when it comes to intimate and sexual relationships.

    While some might get angry or sad over that, think about this: While someone thinks you're ugly, someone else thinks you're gorgeous. And on top of that "there's a top for every pot."

    With that said, it's all good.

    Smile. :)
     
    #8 Timeless, Jan 31, 2010
    Last edited: Jan 31, 2010
  9. Reon

    Reon Midnight's Garden

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    Is that so? I've seen quite a few tastes and only a few things seem fairly universal. Not obese (as of recently), not sick, things like that.
    Getting married is not necessary to everyone. Teachers and employers are biased, just like everyone else, but I doubt a teacher would help an attractive looking person over an interested person. The process of marrying someone is so varied that equating it to "She's a 5 and he's a 5" really won't work here.
    Typically, more attractive people have less social skills than us "normies" because they are so attractive, while we have to work on being confident and all that stuff, they don't necessarily have that same skill. This is why some attractive people's lives stop as soon as they get out of high school.

    Not, most likely not. This goes back into the thing above, some people are 'blessed' with looking good and getting by, the ugly people have to learn 'social skills' to be able to stay afloat. Will a attractive person with social skills win over an unattractive person with social skills? Most likely. This is, of course, assuming they have the same abilities.

    I do understand that this isn't just about relationships. Self-esteem does matter in scenarios such as a job interview and it also can play a part in determining how attractive you are.

    That's actually not the fallacy I was talking about.

    Nope, guess i'm not allowed to have thoughts on this subject then. (Just kidding)
    Random thoughts:

    Physical attractiveness is mostly genetic, yes, but everyone can improve upon their natural looks.

    This subject is hard to talk about because it's so vague. By vague, I mean it's hard to single out beauty in many of the factors we are talking about.

    My main point is that while people who are physically attractive do have it different (supposedly better) us normal looking people still have some ability to get by. Beauty is also skin deep.
     
    #9 Reon, Jan 31, 2010
    Last edited: Jan 31, 2010
  10. Kawennison

    Kawennison Newbie

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    I would say I generally agree, especially with the 4 points the book made. Those, i think, are just simple facts. I would add, though, that although I think physical attractiveness is ALWAYS important -- the amount of weight it's given does vary considerably with the individual.

    Also, I think it's hazardous to say that physical attractiveness is the MOST important quality for several reasons. For one thing, it's just too broad and vague. That sentence seems much more likely for romantic relationships, one night stands, and modeling auditions. In a friend, I'm fairly sure I prefer personality. Also, "physical attractiveness" as an ASPECT seems weird to me... it makes it sound like you got it or you don't, when really it's on such a spectrum. Although I do think there's an objective standard for beauty... ugly people still procreate, so...

    Sorry my thoughts are so fragmented :p
     
  11. wide-eyed optimist

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    I agree. For me, at least, there has to be a little physical attraction in the beginning in a relationship, but I find that it really isn't MOST important after that. I find that good personalities tend to make a person more attractive over time and bad ones have the opposite effect. Looks are important, but that, I don't think, is all that goes into whether or not you are attracted to a person.
     
  12. IndigoSensor

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    Physical apparence is a factor for this, and all of this does indeed apply to me. I do do this, although I never admit it, partly because it appears highly unfair and irrational to most, and I am not entirely conscious of it. I realise that I have done this since I was little. Interestingly enough though, attractiveness will also greatly intimidate me as well. If someone is very attractive, I will not see myself as "worthy" and often not approach them. I think that I often will seek out people slightly below me, but rarely above me. I think because then I will feel grossly inadequet (however irrational). My own view of myself is also in flux most of the time. I do reconize that I am good looking, but I see many flaws in myself, and I have a hard time believeing that I am attractive.

    That being said, I force myself to transcend this. Physical apparence is huge for me because it often leads into what a persons personality is like, and I am often right with it, so it is a good litmus. While most people I seek out are physically attractive to some degree, not all are. Thus showing that is not a end all be all factor by any strech of the word. This is just another peice of the puzzle when it comes to figuring someone else out.
     
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  13. OP
    Faye

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    I meant that it varies from individual situation to individual situation. I'm sure if that is what you mean.

    First, I don't think anyone, save very few and rare exceptions, want to end up alone.

    This is overly simplistic, but I can't easily explain why easily. Attractive people are perceived very differently from unattractive people. Again, I recommend the book.

    Normies? I don't think it is necessarily the case that more attractive people have worse social skills. I would bet that they have better social skills because other people are more willing to associate with them. Some of them may not do anything notable after high school, but many more of them do go on to college or whatever and become successful there.

    I still think the more attractive person is more likely to have better social skills. Even if they don't have as good social skills, they can be perceived as having better social skills, especially women. People love to read between the lines when an attractive person is talking to them.

    How can self-esteem play a part in determining how attractive you are? Unless you're so depressed that you don't take care of yourself, that is....

    I feel like in many important areas of discussions, people who don't attend the top schools get left out of the discussion in the long run. They are explicitly or officially left out of the discussions, but they are less likely to end up in think tanks or in top positions in corporations and government. I don't believe that a person's opinion is less valuable than another person's opinion even if they have less education, intelligence, etc, but I know that many people do not feel that way. Many people will accept an argument from authority.

    Yes, but you can only do so much, and you're not going to be thinking about your looks when you're a kid (unless you're very unfortunate). Also, this is the philosophy of the diet and weight-loss industries.

    Of course. I will say though that I do not believe that beauty is in the eye of the beholder. There is definitely a general standard that is instilled in people, and other people can come to somewhat of a consensus on how attractive you are.

    Beauty is skin deep, but the point of this thread is to emphasize the fact that although beauty is skin deep, everyone operates under a series of complex assumptions that do not assume that beauty is skin deep.
     
  14. laurie

    laurie Snowblind in Dreamland

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    I think that for the majority of the time, this is true. But there are always a minority who will go against what society expects, and everyone has different tastes, so how does the person who wrote that book define 'attractive'?
    I suppose that if someone appeals to your ideal of attractiveness, you're more likely to be respectful of them as they embody something that is personal to you.... I guess o_O (did that even make sense?)
     
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  15. forgetblueskies

    forgetblueskies Community Member

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    This post makes me sad. I am a normal looking, slightly overweight sixteen year old girl who has been labeled "ugly" since I was a child. You will probably see me walking down the street and not see anything but me being average. Take my personality into account and you've got a totally different story. In all honesty, I do take attractiveness into account, but it's not more important than personality to me. And it's definitely not the deciding factor. It's just so very depressing that other people can't see past my appearance to unlock what's inside. It makes me lose hope in humanity when people do that.
     
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  16. Raccoon Love

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    I can relate to this.I do not place much important into my physical attractiveness, like you I consider myself to be pretty average, I am underweight and people have often made fun of me. When I am around somebody who is very attractive I get shy and I feel uncomfortable, and I feel as I am not worthy of being in a relation with such person. I just hope to get in a relation with someone who understands me someday and that is willing to go with me through many tensions.
     
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  17. laurie

    laurie Snowblind in Dreamland

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    Hmmm, actually I just thought of something I heard a little while ago.
    It's that people find people who are incredibly confident and sure of themselves (not arrogant, but just very comfortable in their own skin) attractive usually, even if they aren't the kind of stereotypical beauty you'd expect.
    It's probably to do with the kind of energy you give off, in a way, I guess?

    Just thought I'd throw that in ^^"
     
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  18. Billy

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    I agree, physical attraction is extremely important. Its not everything and its not the sole thing people use to judge someone, but its the 1st thing everyone sees. And because of that, and because we are visual by nature, and because by nature we are all predisposed t want to "mate" with attractive healthy looking people we will place a lot of importance on it. Its not rational and its not fair, but humans are not rational or fair.
     
  19. NeverAmI

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    To me it seems like this whole discussion teeters on how you define your metrics of success.

    One could make a case that certain personality traits are more inclined to be successful in different ways. For example, with the the internet, an entire virtual community that never has to reveal physical appearance, one could argue that success is much more easily attained online than in the real world for someone without a decent physical appearance.

    If your idea of success is based on the typical metrics in the world, then yes, it is more catered towards advancement of a healthy or even attractive looking person in many fields.

    That also brings up the idea that it is not what you know, but who you know.

    Interesting to link two primitive survival instincts, community and health, to fundamental success in the idea of specific metrics. It does make sense though.
     
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  20. Reon

    Reon Midnight's Garden

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    Depends on what you mean by alone, some people don't really care about having a significant other. You can generally find someone to have sex with easily, but perhaps that's another subject

    This might be the part I'm not getting, because I don't see it. I know attractive people, in many instances, are treated BETTER but not exactly different. Unless they are too pretty, then people who perceive themselves as ugly attempt to destroy them.

    I'm actually recalling an article I read on the subject. If I remember correctly, they often do have crappy social skills and when they get into college and such, where looks start to play less of a role (I hear you, perhaps after college) they sometimes fall to attain anyone because the vast majority of people are normal and they feel that having social skills is a value. Fluttering your eye and getting free food doesn't exactly work the older you get I suppose nor is it impressive.


    Perhaps.

    Ehrm. Have you looked at any "how to flirt" sites on the internet? The common conclusion drawn from a study is that about 55% of flirting is done by nonverbal communication, 25 something in how you talk, and the rest is what you say. The nonverbal communication part isn't all just 'look pretty and you'll get the girl.' The normal looking girl who stands tall, keeps his hair cut and is well dressed will get a girl over a attractive guy who stares at the ground, is wearing a mullet, and is wearing a tye dye shirt with pink guido pants unless, of course, that chick likes that.
    That's true and that's the way of the world sadly. I could also say that the reason this is prevalent is because people don't like to think and they don't want to be judge for having differing thoughts, but that'd be off topic. (even though i just said it)
    I've lost about a hundred pounds. I am now, according to other people, immensely more attractive. Hmm...This actually plays into your subject, I'll talk about it. I was you typically fat teenager gamer kid, I loved playing games and I started neglecting my body. I was treated as an 'ugly' kid. I had to go out of my way to make friends and the prospect of a girl talking to me was immensely low, nearly obsolete. I then got to a point where I decided that, for the long run, I needed to know if I was going to kill myself and any intellectual capabilities I have (a healthy body breeds a healthy mind so they say) or if I was going to live and do something. I then lost a lot of weight.

    Losing the weight was an interesting experience because people acted like they haven't seen me in school at years! I got compliments from my friends from losing weight and they seemed to care more and actually talk to me more after losing my weight loss, course I also worked on being more confident and such. Random people also talked to me more as well, in an attempt to know me but that didn't really go so fast. Most of this could be summed up to me feeling better about myself and the weight lost actually had no effect, but who knows.

    I think beauty is in the eye of the beholder in most cases, but the typical beauty of a person can be assessed. Europe enjoyed fatties back in the day, I wonder if Europeans would find rail thin models attractive like we do?

     
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