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Does Beauty Matter?

In society, attractive people tend to be viewed as being more intelligent, better adjusted, and more popular. This is described as the halo effect – due to the perfection associated with angels. Research shows attractive people have more occupational success and more dating experience than their unattractive counterparts. Say what you will about this so-called halo effect, what cannot be denied is that attractive people are indeed given more opportunities to become successful.

An alternative explanation for attractive people achieving more in life is that we automatically categorize others before having an opportunity to evaluate their personalities, based on cultural stereotypes which say attractive people must be intrinsically good, and ugly people must be inherently bad.

Elliot Aronson, a social psychologist at Stanford University, believes self-fulfilling prophecies – in which a person’s confident self-perception, further perpetuated by healthy feedback from others – may play a role in success as well. Aronson suggests, based on the self-fulfilling prophecy that people who feel they are attractive – though not necessarily rated as such – are just as successful as their counterparts who are judged to be good-looking.

Whatever the reason, the notion that attractiveness correlates with success still rings true. Yet beauty is not always advantageous, for beautiful people, particularly attractive women, tend to be perceived as more materialistic, snobbish, and vain.

For better or worse, the bottom line is that research shows beauty matters; it pervades society and affects how we perceive ourselves and others. Thus, striving to appear attractive may not be such a vain endeavor after all. We suggest one lead a healthy and balanced lifestyle and take advantage of the tools and resources available to achieve one’s own personal level of satisfaction.