Appearances

– A Universal Concern Essay, Research Paper Appearances – A Universal Concern A desire to appear attractive is universal; it permeates all cultures and peoples, and stretches from the past to the present. Throughout history,

– A Universal Concern Essay, Research Paper

Appearances – A Universal Concern

A desire to appear attractive is universal; it permeates all cultures

and peoples, and stretches from the past to the present. Throughout history,

both men and women have gone to great lengths to become more attractive. In all

parts of the world, people take many different measures to beautify themselves.

Even move, the animal world also exhibits the desire to be attractive. Male

birds of paradise, with their brilliant hues, contrast sharply with the females.

Male peacocks have stunning tail-feathers that are obviously used to attract

females as well.

Although it is true that a subgroup of all peoples have expended great

sums of money and energy to put themselves through a great deal of usually self-

imposed tribulation and suffering, it is easy to discern the different

perceptions of beauty held by various groups. These perceptions vary greatly

abetween groups, which are demarcated by class, cultural, geographical,

chronological, and religious borders, to name a few. What may be considered very

attractive by one group may even be seen as repulsive in another. The gangster

with tattoos all over his body, clothed in attire that is much too large, with

rings in all the most unexpected places, and sporting an outrageous hairdo,

considers himself very attractive indeed. Yet, so do the tall, smartly dressed

businesspersons with their suit, tie, and white handkerchief. Men and women of

the Victorian era, when women’s ankles were not even permitted to be exposed,

would surely be shocked at the revealing outfits that have been donned by

members of today’s society. In other words, one’s perception of beauty is

greatly influenced by the surrounding environment and the social groups to which

he belongs. Yet, whatever one’s perception of beauty, one thing is the same.

This is that all have taken great pains about their appearance.

Why are good appearances so important to people?

People tend to make initial judgments by first impressions that are

usually based on appearances to a great extent. These initial judgments are

doubtlessly very important in many types of social, business, and other

relationships. Moreover, it is much easier for an attractive person to be

socially active. He or she is usually perceived as more pleasant, which makes it

easier for him or her to approach others. Besides, some careers, such as models,

actors or actresses, television anchors, and salespersons rely to a significant

extent on their outward appearances. They must do their best to please the

audience, draw attention, or make a sale.

The following three experiments done by the television news magazine

20/20 illustrate the difference that appearances can have in one’s everyday life,

regardless of whether one is an actress, model, salesperson, or garbageman.

In an experiment with third graders, after having been taught by two

teachers varying only in attractiveness, the students consistently rated the

more attractive teacher as smarter, more patient, more experienced and more

knowledgeable. Right now, readers may be thinking, ?Such shallow behavior is to

be expected of a third grader. Grown-ups are mature and are not so arbitrary.?

Yet, even when one grows up, this shallow behavior does not change. In a

second experiment, two actors were hired to apply for a job. Both were equally

competent, and similar in all manners except their appearances. The more

attractive man was hired on the spot, while the less attractive applicant was

very nearly ignored altogether.

Even more definitive is the third and last experiment — car problems.

Two actresses were hired to pretend to have car problems. They both stood at the

same place, at the same time of day, with the same problem. The more attractive

actress had four men pull over in 10n minutes, while the less attractive actress

did not receive help for over two hours.

For those that are resolved to change their appearance, and wish to gain

advantages such as those cited above, no amount of money is too great to expend,

and no pain is too great to be endured. A vast array of services and products

ranging in price from the economical to the exorbitant are available to cater to

the demands of aspiring beauties. Procedures such as tanning, tattooing, plastic

surgery, implants, body-piercing, liposuction are all available. Yet, it seems

that some people are now placing an excessive amount of emphasis on their

appearances, and are overdoing the changes.

However, although appearances can get one ?in the front door,? so to

speak, they cannot be the sustaining part of jobs or social relationships. This

is because the extremes of beauty or ugliness are all mediated by the eye over

time. On the contrary, one’s spiritual beauty is perpetually realized by the

heart and is instrumental in lasting relationships. For example, Beethoven was

notoriously ugly and deaf, and it was said that he had a particular body odor

that was not very pleasant. Yet, this did not stop the inner person from showing

through — the genius who created the magnificent music that not only lives on

through the centuries, but is also said by many to be some of the best ever

written. Just as interesting is the example of Aesop. He is famous for his

fables, but is also notorious for being very ugly. Yet, his inner wisdom and

beauty made his master to free him from his slave status, and he traveled

throughout Europe, visiting many courts of rulers to spread the fables that are

so wise.

In conclusion, people should put what seems to be their endless effort

used to improve their external appearance to work elevating their spiritual

beauty. May we all be as wise as Aesop, and learn to balance both appearances

and inner worth to make ourselves more beautiful overall.

Works Cited

“Aesop.” Grolier’s Electronic Encyclopedia. 1993.

Coon, Dennis. Essentials of Psychology: Exploration and Application. 5th ed. Los

Angeles. West Pub. 1991

Robertson, Ian. Sociology. 3rd ed. New York: Worth, 1987.