The advantages of beauty

keira knightly

The advantages of beauty seem endless. Why? Because, unfortunately in our world, there is an attractiveness stereotype. This means that someone who is beautiful is also perceived to be good in respect to many other aspects of their personality (whether they actually are or not!).

Studies have shown that the beautiful are perceived as:

•accessible, honest, successful, content, friendly, intelligent, sociable, exciting, creative and busy,

Whereas the unattractive are perceived as:

•unsociable, discontented, lazy, unintelligent, unimaginative, unfriendly, unsuccessful, boring, non-accessible, dishonest

You can find this view reflected in many areas of life, such as:





The media.

In childhood

Good looking children get a better start in life. They receive more smiles, more touching and more attention. In a famous supermarket study unattractive children were allowed to roam unattended further away from their parents than attractive children.

Also, only 1.3% of the unattractive children were strapped into their trolleys for safety compared with 13% of the attractive children.

This discrepancy in treatment continues into the school years where good looking children are given less discipline, greater attention and response to their problems, and higher expectations are held for them. The opposite is true for the unattractive kids.

Some researchers have theorised that this differential treatment of the attractive kids might lead to maladjustment because they have had it too easy but in fact the less attractive kids have been found to have greater maladjustment to society in later life.

The advantages of beauty must be becoming obvious to you.

work sign
Beauty at Work

Water’s study in the 1980’s using identical CV’s, but with a difference in the beauty level of the applicant, showed that the more attractive person was more likely to get the job and be offered more money that the unattractive applicant.

Generally, the unattractive will earn about $5000 per year less than the attractive

When submitting work the attractive will be praised for average work and the unattractive will have to submit a high standard to get the same level of praise.

couples Relationships

In a famous university dating study where half the group was matched on personality and interests and the other half matched randomly, it was found that there was no higher dating success in the matched group.

What was found was that the most significant predictor for romantic attraction was:

the individual’s rating of the partner’s physical attractiveness regardless of personality

Physically attractive women are more likely to:

  • Date more often
  • Marry (in one study 34% of beautiful women, 28% of attractive, 16% of average, 11% of unattractive women were married within 5 years of leaving college))
  • Marry earlier
  • Marry successful men
The least attractive women are ten times as likely never to have married as the most attractive

Again, there are obvious advantages of beauty but we don't realise the full ramifications nor how ubiquitous they are.

Beauty and receiving aid

Those individuals of higher physical attractiveness are able to elicit greater aid than those of lower physical attractiveness, where that aid takes the form of more volunteers, help, compliance, money, physical effort or verbal assistance

A message left in a telephone booth regarding the urgency of mailing a stamped letter was accompanied by an application and photograph. If the photograph was of a highly physically attractive person the letter was much more likely to be MAILED.

So, surely by now the advantages of beauty are obvious

beauty in court Beauty in court

In the case of rape:

Physically attractive victims AND defendants are shown greater sympathy than those lower in physical attractiveness.

Assailants were more likely to be found guilty if the victim was beautiful.

Defendants who were unattractive were found guilty by 82% of jurors

Defendants who were highly attractive were found guilty by only 52% of jurors

For legal crimes and social offences the physically attractive are:

  • treated more leniently
  • given milder punishment, and
  • in civil cases receive more favourable outcomes and receive larger amounts of money
It is hard to believe that their are advantages of beauty even for rapists but that is how humans are built and we can't help ourselves unless we are aware of how pervasive the advantages of beauty are.

beauty at the movies

Beauty at the movies

Music clips, Television, Film, Advertising all portray the winners, stars, heroes, and the successful as the most handsome and most beautiful.

As you can see in the photos below the hero is usually better looking than the bad guy and if not they will create a feature to make him unattractive. In these examples we have the good guys John Wayne, John Travolta and William Dafoe and the bad guys Lee (scarred head), scarface (acne), and Tom Berenger (scar on face)to contrast with the unblemished looks of the heroes.

It even happens in children's movies. Simba, the Lion King is good looking with an athletic build and his enemy (the bad guy, Scar) is thin, drawn less handsome and has a scar

Is there a downside to Beauty?

Not much.

Attractive men and women have fewer same-sex friendships than others.

In a street accident that is not fatal, the beautiful will receive better treatment than the non-beautiful, but if there is a fatality treatment will be reversed.

Physically attractive people are punished more severely for crimes of embezzlement and swindling (Sigall and Ostrove 1975)

In one study attractive women were perceived to be vain, dishonest, less moral, to have a lack of concern for others, and to be more sexually provocative than less-attractive females. Another study found that people perceived them as status-seeking, snobbish, likely to request divorce, and prone to extra-marital affairs.

This 'darker side' of beauty doesn't seem to have much impact though, because we are also more likely to forgive beautiful people for their negative personality traits.

Is there a downside to being unattractive?
In a word...YES.

Unattractive people are generally:

  • less liked
  • less preferred as a working, dating or marriage partner
  • unattractive people receive a significantly lower frequency of positive looks and smiles than do those of higher physical attractiveness
  • the likelihood of a peer being perceived as mentally disturbed or mentally ill increases as the person’s physical attractiveness decreases
  • judged to be more socially deviant and more politically radical
So obviously it pays to be better looking. To learn more about the 'WHY?' of beauty click here for

Advantages of beauty 2. If you would rather get straight to it and learn about the perfect body for you then click on one of the links below:

The perfect male body

The perfect female body

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