Body Image Issues

Beauty and the Genes

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Recently, I read an article on the subject of ‘Personal Beauty’, and what it means to different people.

I have two young daughters. Sadly, their appearance will probably become more and more important to them, as they grow and change into young women.

Of course, as their mother, I have tried to instill in them the importance of other qualities, (fairness, empathy, confidence, intelligence & ambition) over the superficial. They are both physically attractive, (in my eyes at least!) so they already have a head start in the ‘Beauty Wars’. But I don’t want them to rely only on their looks as they journey through life. That would be one BIG mistake.

I probably did rely on mine a bit, when I was younger.

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Hey, it WAS the 80’s!!

I had no one to advise me otherwise. My own mother, (a very attractive woman) was very much a shameless siren in her 40’s. A fact that used to sicken me, as I watched her flirt with nearly every man she met, including one of my own first boyfriends. No, I still haven’t forgiven her, I am ashamed to say!

But now it’s 2016. Apparently, women, and the men around them, have moved on from valuing themselves mainly on their looks, and figures. Right?

Why has society not caught up with us? Is it because of the way women are portrayed in the media, the film and television culture, the advertising industry? Is it because some women hold us back by choosing to use their bodies/looks to gain financial worth?

Or is it because we are all fighting our own human pre-programmed disposition to certain algorithms of attractiveness; unfairly passed on to us by our own evolutionary genes?

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Researchers have found that the computer generated, mathematical average of a series of faces is rated more favorably than individual faces. Evolutionarily, it makes logical sense that sexual creatures should be attracted to mates who possess predominantly common or average features. – Wikipedia.

It’s not only women that suffer from crises of confidence when it comes to image, either. Many young, and not so young, men also have low self-esteem when it comes to evaluating their physical appearance.

Male body image issues.

It seems then, that we can’t control our bias towards beauty quite as much as we’d like to.

It’s written in our genes.

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After all, most of us appreciate a breathtaking sunset of many colours, the fresh prettiness of a flower, or the fluffy cuteness of a kitten or a puppy. I’m not saying don’t enjoy beauty, in any form that you find it in!

But I don’t want to give it any glorification.

It’s not an achievement, resulting from years of hard work and practice. It’s not a right, that some deserve more than offers. It can’t be bought, although many try. Somehow, cosmetic surgery always looks a little ‘off ‘ to me.

Can we all just STOP giving outward appearances so much thought, as a 21st century world, please! How we look is just one tiny facet of our lives.

There are so many more interesting and worthwhile things to do with our time!!

And I’m off to do them now. Toodle Pip!

Things to do instead of being beautiful!

 

Cheers!

The Hedgehog x

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13 thoughts on “Beauty and the Genes

  1. As an almost thirty year-old male, I can only speak for myself, but as I’ve matured my conception of “beauty” has matured as well. I have to admit that when I was younger through probably both evolutionary genetics and social constructions I was more concerned with looks than I had the right to be. But now my conception of “beauty” is more influenced by personality than physical attributes. Not only does personality play a bigger role in attraction, but it’s actually come to be that a woman who may be classically beautiful in the physical sense comes to be literally ugly if her personality leaves a lot to be desired. Meaning: her face will take on attributes that no longer look so attractive. And vice versa: a woman who may be considered plain looking will almost actually look beautiful to me if her humor and personality are beautiful. All I can say is thank god for that…

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  2. Excellent observations and, in my opinion, an unfortunate truth. We are so focused on physical beauty in our culture (every culture, but with different standards?) that often the bigger picture of values and ethics, enjoyment and quality of life, are lost. I think I may just go off and write a blog post about this, myself!

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  3. Hello, AngelDown! Thank you for your insightful post. I have been thinking about this a bit, lately, myself. It seems as a society we do seem to agree about who is highly physically attractive and we accept that certain people go into fields where they will be judged quite heavily on appearance–but we don’t even always all agree on how beautiful these people are. Some people find certain celebrities attractive and others not so much. I haven’t spoken with many people about beauty, but I wonder if people are really as blinded by it as the media would have us believe. I find so many people stunningly beautiful who the media would almost certainly not promote as such. Everyone has certain features that attract our attention, whatever they may be for each of us. Hot buttons, if you will. LOL! For me, those features and personality traits come to the forefront and anything else just fades away into the background. Also, I can find beauty in anyone. I don’t know if anyone else feels that way, or maybe I am unusual in thinking that way myself. It is something that should be discussed, of course, and you brought up such great points, including the other qualities that you want to emphasize for your daughters and how we shouldn’t be thinking about beauty so much. Thank you for your post!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you for your comments, 1katkatv2! Sadly, we do seem to live in a society biased towards conventionally attractive people; in the Western world anyway. My wish is that one day, this shallowness will simply not exist. Have a great day! Best regards, The Hedgehog. πŸ™‚

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      1. I have been thinking that over generations, differences will cease to be as noticed or as important. Another mention: I think people who are considered “conventionally beautiful” may not be as happy as they appear–perhaps they are not any more or less happy than anyone else. Just something else to consider!

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