Message from writer:
After posting this blog, I was given feedback on the negative message it is projecting. It was not my intention to do so but obviously I should be been more thorough with my writing. As such, I have made edits to the original. If you have any questions, please comment below or email us directly!
A report which pulled data from 9000 people found that higher physical attractiveness correlated with better grades in school and higher paying jobs. Attractive people are seen as friendlier, more competent and more social. When people see you as possessing all these good traits, they automatically treat you better, and when they treat you better, you start becoming that friendly, and social person they think you are, and you end up getting more opportunities. It’s all very cyclical, and the sad truth is that decades worth of studies all show these results.
It’s easy to blame these effects on men and the society we live in, but the truth is that this unfair effect is rooted deeper than societal inequality. It’s actually rooted deep in our most basic instincts - the need to procreate. Attractiveness is a sign of good physical and mental health, which are two important traits we want to pass on to our offspring. Actually, to say that attractiveness is a sign of good physical and mental health might be misleading. Attractiveness is a construct, they are traits that just happen to correlate with the traits we want to pass on to our offspring. So again, it’s all very cyclical.
As unfair as this is - either you’re born with certain traits or you’re not - there is a silver lining. The media influences and tells us that certain body types and facial features are ‘better’, but their version of beauty is not the be all and end all. It turns out that many attractive traits are attained through a healthy diet and exercise, which are within your own control (unless you are confined by social economic constraints…which we don’t have time to address in this post).
The more whole, natural and balanced your diet, the more ‘attractive’ you become. A good diet leads to clear and even skin tone, it manages your weight to what your body weight is meant to be (not under or overweight), and it improves posture through a strong and healthy musculoskeletal system. Back in January, I tried to the Whole 30 challenge which is a 30 day challenge that’s like a reverse elimination diet. I started it because I wanted to know if I had any food sensitivities I didn’t know about, but the result was me starting a better and healthier relationship with food. I really liked the Whole 30 because I didn’t see it as a diet, I saw it as a challenge. I don’t love diets because I know they are not long term solutions, but this one, like I said, changed my relationship with food. Do some research on it and see if it’s something you want to try too!
We don’t need to work out like action movie stars or like Victoria Secret models, but we do need physical activity. Physical activity boosts your mood which makes you more approachable and seem friendlier. Physical activity also helps in the department of clear and healthy skin, maintain a healthy body weight and improve musculoskeletal health. Again, these make you ‘attractive’ because it increases your perceived reproductive health and actual reproductive health. I’m not a professional, but my advice is to find activities you actually enjoy! I’m 29 now and I spent years and years trying to be more active. It took me 27 years to find something I really like doing (yoga), so keep trying new things until you find the one you can, and want to stick with.
Of course what’s on the inside matters (that goes without saying), but ancient and pesky biological biases still give ‘attractive people’ an unfair advantage. If you take care of yourself with a healthy diet and enough physical activity, you can minimize these biases to some extent. Let’s also remember that many of these biases are unconscious, rarely does someone say “I’m going to give so and so a bigger raise because she’s more attractive”. We shouldn't blame the media or the world either because there are never any winners when we play the blame game. It’s much more productive to shed light on a problem and work towards a solution.
Even though I don’t have any real solutions here, know that you don't just have to accept the status quo. For example, we are starting to see less photoshopped images in media because people are demading for it more and more. Companies like Dove even have campaign around it. In some countries, it's illegal to ask for pictures with resumes and coverletters. There will always be biases that are driven biologically, but knowing this allows you to challenge yourself and others when you see it happening.
Lastly, if you feel like you want to take advantage of these biases and make yourself more 'attractive' with makeup or whatever else, there are tons of youtubers and instagrammers out there on the web who can show you how to look like your best self. Never feel ashamed for wanting to conform to societies pressures to look a certain way. You have every right to do what you want to feel good about yourself.
For those interested, here’s a list of what research has found to be ‘attractive’ features: click here.