Home   |  Issues  |  The Daily Star Home | Thursday, August 30, 2012

A woman of so shining loveliness
That men threshed corn at midnight by a tress,
A little stolen tress. - The Secret Rose, W.B. Yeats

By Jawad

Warning: Extreme Shallowness Ahead. Read with caution.

They say beauty is only skin deep. When I was little, I fell down on the asphalt and scraped my knees. I bled. A lot. I cried. If beauty is that deep, I say it is deep enough. No one wants an adorable pancreas or a cute liver or a gorgeous cerebral cortex. They just want them to function somewhat decently while the face and the body woos the outside world. Because beauty is a skill, probably the most important one of them all.

Let's be Beautiful
Good looking people get all the advantage of the world. I am not talking about the “splendour of inner-self shining through the bodily armour”, because that means they are leaking; rather physical beauty - facial features, body structures, whatever the deuce you prefer. This preference for beauty starts very early.

The cute kid will be the centre of attention at a party. Every five minutes someone will come up and make ridiculous noises (also known as “baby talk”) and try to pinch his/her cheeks. They will fawn over the kid's slightest movement. And just imagine the suffering of the poor boy who refuses to give him his fancy toy. Think about it: pouting of the lips and that red car/Barbie is yours. This is the real Jedi Mind Trick. “These aren't the droids you are looking for”? Well, these are certainly yours to play with.

The teacher will obviously go easy on his cute pupil. It's not the teacher's fault though; anyone will feel slightly more sympathetic for the comelier one. They will get away easily. They will get all the help from their classmates. Because, believe me, I will help the prettier girl more than the person that sits beside me. Hell, I will collect class notes from him and give it to the pretty girl. And he won't mind at all. Because I can bet that he will do the same. Here you see the Advanced Jedi Mind Trick in action.

Let's turn our attention to the work place. Who would you trust more - a bad looking doctor or a pretty one? Obviously the pretty one. Maybe we think they are more able, maybe we think they are gifted or maybe we want to die on the laps of a beautiful person; I can't tell for certain. It's not just doctors, same goes for lawyers, insurance dealers, sales-persons, etc. This is Persuasive Skill.

It's a massive stereotype that attractive people are more able. This “belief” can be attributed to the fact that good-looking people, or those who think they are, grow up to be more confident. They have good communication skill and other people look up to them more often than not for leadership. Beauty is correlated with intelligence, social skills and health. They are conceived as “cool” and they tend to have more friends. I am not sprouting nonsense. There are studies done on this matter; especially one done by Marcus M. Mobius of Harvard University (“Why Beauty Matters”- Published September 2003). Attractive people hold an edge over others in job interviews. One analysis even found that unattractive workers tend to earn about 9% less money than workers who are attractive. Coincidence?

Beautiful people can easily bring warmth and happiness in a mundane workplace. Everyone will strive for their attention and praise. And their presence is also soothing. It's true. Imagine a long, hard day at work until you come upon a pretty face. You feel good. Not in a creepy way, though. The hour-long meeting is getting boring and the attendants are feeling sleepy at the boss's lecture. Let his attractive employee jump in for a couple of slides. Attentiveness rises significantly.

And television. Are they ever wrong? You pull of outstanding stunts with the motorcycle and get the girl once you turn fair, or good looking. You get a job as an air-hostess after 14 weeks of cream smearing fairness. You are a good child when you drink some milk and stand taller than your peers. Your books sell millions when you let down your hair and lose the glasses and somehow get a photo of yourself on the cover. And all the while there is “la-lalala” music in the background. Imagine that! Background music! Atmosphere-altering!

Let's be Shallow
“The Lord prefers common-looking people. That is why He makes so many of them.” - Abraham Lincoln.

But the common folk prefer better looking ones. The good guys are always the better looking ones, the bad guys have creepy dark shadows under their eyes and they have one or two teeth missing and their skins are pale blue. When the good looking guy is a villain, we call that “a remarkable twist”.

Our sense of beauty is twisted. People are always so hush-hush about racism in western countries, but the biggest racism exists in the sub-continent. We judge people based on their skin colour. We sell beauty products by using very demeaning forms of advertisements. But once you look past the blatant racism on our part, the fact that beauty is indeed a skill becomes very obvious. So, you want to be successful? Become beautiful.

And pray that we remain shallow.


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