November 29, 2007

The Beautiful People

author_brad By Bradley Wright 

Like many people, you want to get ahead in life… have a successful career, be well-liked, you know, all that good stuff. So, you go to school, work hard, treat others well, and hope for the best. 

Well, you’re forgetting something, and that is to look good. Why? It turns out that we attribute all sorts of positive qualities to good looking people, and these qualities have a way of becoming true. 

Here’s how it works. Social psychologists have identified something called the “what is beautiful is good stereotype.” If someone is good looking—clear skin, symmetrical face, sparkly eyes or whatever else we see as beautiful or sexy or cute—we think that they are also lots of other good things. Just because they are hot, we think that they are more intelligent, sensitive, interesting, competent, and kind. 

clip_image002[1]

Our positive expectations for attractive people can serve as a self-fulfilling prophesy. If we think someone is smart and has a great personality, we start to treat them differently. We expect them to live up to our expectations, and, lo and behold, they do. As such, if we think that beautiful people are better people overall, they become so. 

Usually we think about stereotypes being negative, and the problems that they cause. For example, if teachers think that girls are inherently worse at math than boys, they might put less effort into teaching them, call on them less in the class, and in general have lower expectations. The result, girls end up doing worse in math because the teachers think they will. 

The “what is beautiful is good” stereotype is positive, and it can be just as powerful. In a classic study, researchers had men talk with a woman via intercom for 10 minutes, and after the conversation the men were asked to rate the woman’s personality. Half the men were shown a picture of an attractive woman and told that was the woman they were talking to. The other half were shown a picture of an unattractive woman. In reality, as you probably guessed, it was the same woman talking to each of the men. 

The men who thought they were talking to an attractive woman rated her as more friendly, sociable, and likable than those talking to an “unattractive” woman. They perceived her as having a much better personality just because she was beautiful. Why? Self-fulfilling prophesy. The men talking to the “attractive” woman treated had higher expectations for her, and she lived up to them. 

The effect of this stereotype varies. As might be expected, it works most strongly with first impressions. We evaluate somebody’s appearance when we first meet them, and that information becomes most important. The more we get to know them, however, the more we factor in their other characteristics as well. Also, some people put more weight on physical appearances than others, and so they would be more affected by this stereotype. 

clip_image004[1]This stereotype has various social implications. We’re all aware of the remarkable amounts of time and energy that people put into their appearance. Here in the U.S. alone, women spend billions of dollars on cosmetics. This seems like frivolity, but if in fact attractive people receive preferential treatment, it might not be as misguided as it first seems. 

It also suggests another source of social stratification. Sociologists are quite attuned to how race, gender, sexuality, age, and other demographic characteristics affect our social standing. Perhaps we should incorporate other characteristics, such as attractiveness. Who knows, maybe an attractive person of minority status might have better odds in society than an unattractive person of majority status. 

This stereotype also gives an idea as to why the media so often uses attractive people. Open up any magazine, and there are beautiful people selling everything from vacuum cleaners to computers to watches. We see their attractiveness, and we associate other good qualities with them, and so maybe we should listen to them about what to buy. 

clip_image006[1]An instance of this stereotype is found with newscasters. In general, television news anchors tend to be attractive people. Here are pictures of two of them. Stone Phillips is a reporter and anchor for CBS news. Melissa Theuriau is a reporter on French television. Both of them are remarkably attractive people. Now, it’s been awhile since I’ve walked through the journalism department here at UConn, but I’m pretty sure that the average journalism student isn’t this good looking. News organizations pick anchors, in part, on their physical attractiveness, and given all the positive attributes associated with attractiveness, this isn’t a bad idea. 

clip_image008[1] The beauty stereotype raises some interesting moral questions. 

One could justifiably argue that it is wrong to give extra social capital to people because of their good looks. Somehow it seems unfair, almost discriminatory, to those of us who will never earn the name “Stone”. Still, the same argument applies to intelligence, education, organizational skills, and any other factors that society rewards. Some have more, some have less. Now, don’t get me wrong. If society rewarded only beauty, I’d be in deep, deep trouble. But, if society is inherently random in the rewards it gives—some people get them and some people don’t—how much does it matter which criteria are used?

TrackBack

TrackBack URL for this entry:
http://www.typepad.com/services/trackback/6a00d83534ac5b69e200e54f8e22e08833

Listed below are links to weblogs that reference The Beautiful People:

Comments

One of the best applications of this theory I've ever heard is the use of it to prove Fox News's conservative bias. It requires only a quick look at the pair of commentators Sean Hannity and Alan Combs to notice that the conservative view is much more attractive (and therefore trustworthy, smart, compassionated, nice, good. . .)

I just thought this was interesting, it applies the same theory, but in reverse. Can we use people's appearance to make accurate negative assumptions about them? http://www.thebestpageintheuniverse.net/c.cgi?u=spot_the_pedo Obviously this is for entertainment purposes only, but it's still worth a look.

The 'what is beautiful is good' stereotype is applied in reverse to the representation of criminals in art forms. In films, television, literature and stereotypes; criminals, such as serial rapists/murderers are presented (in a trend-like fashion) as attractive people to lure their victims into a false sense of security. Also, aggressive, violent people to be feared are presented as big, buff and ugly.

And as for these stereotypes and how everyone reacts to them, that depends on many individual preferences, as our author, Mr. Wright has emphasized.

Well let me just say I don't know if i want unprofessional looking people delivering my news. Beauty always has an upper hand when it comes to media they have to look good it is their job. Yet we all know one or two people who are all looks and no smarts.The Media does send a message of beautiy and not the beast yet,there are not many unintellgent people in the media. My space maybe.

The media does use a lot of beauty to get their message out. wheither or not their news is accurate people will usually watch because of the images they use, with the people they have delivering it to you.

I believe that society attitudes towards one another mostly centers aound personal appearances. For example if I walk into a store with old sweats on I will certainly be treated differently. The assumption would automatically be she's broke. I can even go as far to say that they might be more watchful of me, thinking that I might steal from them. It would be a total reversal if I came in with nice clothes. This can also be accredited to what you look like, race, being overweight etc. It leads to stereotyping.

The "What is Good" stereotype is all around us in today's world. People buy things because of somebodies looks. People want to have good looking friends and even spouses. The bad thing about this is people do not look into someone's heart but outside beauty.

to tell you the truth i dont know what to say about this one im stumped.. do i think it true yea i guess that i do but i dont think thats all to it....I think this apply more to peopel with talent.
“I knew I belonged to the public and to the world, not because I was talented or even beautiful, but because I had never belonged to anything or anyone else.”
Marilyn Monroe quotes

I understand that more attractive people are used on tv and in magazines. An actor or actresses may look good, but if they are not a good actor or actresses people pick up on it pretty fast. I personally may not be very attracted to someone at first, but when I get to know them they start becoming beautiful to me. The opposite happens too. I find someone cute and I judge that they are good or nice and then they let me down. I also realize that the reason why I watch most tv shows or movies is because I find one of the men in them attractive.

What is beautiful is good means if someone looks good we thing they are good all around smart nice etc. The self fullfilling prophecy ties in because it says that when you hold people to a standard because of their looks they seem to live up to it. This stereotype implies good looking people have it easier in life, I do not agree but that is the implication.

The "what is beautiful is good sterotype" simply means that we tend to see beautiful people as having all other good qualities. We supposedly automatically see good in people because of their attractiveness, whether those good qualities actually exist or not. The self-fulfilling propechy contributes because when we automatically assume these good qualities, they usually turn out to be true , mostly because we make them that way. The "what is beautiful is good" seems to imply that all people are shallow and revolve around looks.

i so my best to stay way from all stereo types by some times you cant help it. I'm one of the people that gets put in categories all the time and i hate it.

the "what is beautiful is good" stereotype is the way it is in todays society. I dont't agree but that is just how it is. Just becasue you are attractive doesn't mean you are gonna be intelligent, but that is how we perceive it and that isn't gonna change.

Not everyone is beautiful in one person's eyes. It takes many people for everyone to beautiful. But not everyone is intelligent in the same sense. What is beautiful is good is true in everyones eyes. Some think that a skinny, blonde haired girl is beautiful. Others think that a little heavier sized brunette is beautiful. But some think that both of them are beautiful. Which is wrong? Beautiful and intelligent have a different definition for everyone. So who is to say that one girl is or is not beautiful.

This is true in so many ways! Stereotyping will always be present in society. All you have to go by when you meet a person for the first time is your first impression of who they are, how they carry themselves, and what type of overall person they are. Often times this results in racial, sexist, and sexual orientation stereotyping. There is nothing we can do about it. Your appearance means everything. In today's society the only advice I can give you is look your best at all times people.

The what is beautiful is good sterotype is true most of the time but certainly not always. for example, a beautiful pie. You see it and its beautiful, its probably gonna be good. But if you see a crumbly pie that looks bad, its probably gonna be bad. But its not always the case. A lot of the time, if something or somebody is good looking, they have a target on their back because people compare them or other things. People can't look at the outside of people to make opinions on them, whether good looking or not.

All stereotype are associated with bad or negative things. Beauty is a "good thing" so to speak but in the article is described as a good stereotupe. For example, all beautiful people smell nice. People looking at themselves and others tend to associate certain attributes with beauty. Even within myself this is true, I tend to feel better when I'm dressed nice or have new clothes or shoes. Society has become accustomed almost accepting that beauty and brains are in cohesion.

The "what is beautiful is good sterotype" can be explained by if a person is good looking, then they fit a good sterotype. This sterotype includes intellegence, talents, good attributes, and many other good qualities. The self fulfilling prophecy is when a person of people "think" that the person is all of these things, then they actually do become these things. The social implications of this is that society bases what they think about people and who they are on their looks, whether it's good or bad.

The stereotype what is beautiful is good is so true because you never see an ugly person on the cover of a book or magazine, so who really knows who is beautiful and who isn't because everyone has their own visual perception.

I disagree with the "beautiful is good" stereotype. Some of the nastiest people I've ever met were gorgeous with great looking figures. That being said, some of the worst attitudes I've ever dealt with were from the ugliest looking people I've ever met. I am not that great looking. I don't have a nice figure, or a great looking face. I do, however, have a really nice attitude and great appreciation of others to go with it. I've seen so many commercials where the women were "ugly" and became "beautiful" by going on this diet, or using this supplement. When I see these commercials, I think to myself "There is no way that is true, those women are lying." I don't think that just because somebody is beautiful it means that the product is going to be great as well. The social implications of this stereotype are monumental. If I didn't know my best friend, I would have thought she was the meanest person I've ever met because of her sarcasm and wit. Instead, I saw her for what she really was, and that was a sweet, kind, and caring friend who is always there whenever you need her.

"What is beautiful is good stereotype" means that if its pretty it has to work or be worth it. That way people use good looking people to sell stuff. This is also gives people more respect and make people live to higher standards. So you buy the goodys and what in and you live up too it. You won't be anything less then what people what you to be because you are beautiful and they look up to you.

This sterotype works because people believe an attractive person over an unattractive person. Because of this, a prophecy is used by being able to do your hair, makeup, get clothes etc. to qualify for this type.

beauty is one of the most valued qualities in our society, sad but true

We no longer see beauty from the inside out, but unfortunatley from the outside in. Cause as long as a self centered person gets what they want everything is fine. I dont know.

Very true that stereotypes directed towards beautiful people exist among Americans. It's not fair in the sense that an unattractive person can't get the same treatment or benefits as a decent looking person but then again some good looking people don't get great treatment either because I honestly think that people who have been a success in this country that are "facially challenged" might be bias to someone better looking because they build their own stereotypes just as the ones that are built for beautiful people. Even though they both do not even out, the fact that they both exist in the same field is horrible.

Many have to opinion that what is beautiful or looks good has other good qualities to them as well. Smart, attractive, good personality, good job, and that makes a person like you even more. Beauty is only skin deep though. I have met some very attractive people, but they are airheaded and not the brightest crayon in the box, or they have such a horrible attitude that it makes them appear ugly so to speak. We often tend to look and judge without getting to know the real person, such as: taking a look at someone who may appear to look ruff and scraggly, or someone who has a lot of tattoos, but that doesnt mean they are bikers, or convicts, rapists, and things of that such based on appearance. Our appearance is just what we want it to be, not who we are.

The "what is beautiful is good" stereotype is the most common stereotype in the U.S. today. We see all of these people on television who are beautiful, and we are automatically drawn to them, without knowing their personalties, just because they are "pretty." People looking at themselves and others tend to associate certain attributes with beauty. Society bases most of their opinions on people by the way they look. If a person you dont know walks into a room, you automatically have an opinion about the person.

beauty used to be in the eye of the beholder but mass media has brainwashed us to believe that only cretin people are pretty!!!

The media are making it seem like if you are beautiful life will be better for u but I think If you look presentable and not sloppy clothes torn and you have a nice attitude and just look presentable and be your self you should go a long way that way.

It is true and very sad that beauty is equated with that which is good. We will all grow old in this life. Our looks completely change and no one is exempt from this event. Our society places tremendous pressure on people with beauty; expectations are high to maintain it through out their life. This stereotype is expected to have higher standards mentally and emotionally as well.

We tend to believe that if someone looks good everything about them is good which is called the "what is beautiful is good stereotype." We expect those people to live up to our expectations. Beauty takes alot of time and energy though.

Today so many things affect our opiniions as well as our children's ideas of what is considered to be beauty.Culture definetly play a role ,but media also creates these stereotypes for the so called beautiful people. Who can really define beauty? Beauty is all about perception, two different people may look at the same person or object and have two totally different reactions.I do feel that sometimes people may be treated unfairly because of their looks or maybe even a good looking person getting treated better than someone whom looks slightly less attractive but that's a fact of life and it will happen even if we think it is wrong.

The "what is beautiful is good" stereotype says that we naturally believe that good looking people are better than not good looking people and they are smart, have better personalities, and things like that.
I think that the self-fulfilling prophesy plays a role in how we think about people because we may think the person is a good person because of their appearance. But we can also be let down by judging someone solely on their appearance. Some people think the opposite; they think that if a person is beautiful, they will naturally be stuck up or mean.
The social implications of this stereotype says that good-looking people are smarter, have good personalities, and in turn have it easier in life.

sterotyping is bad and good depends on your experience with what's being jugded. beuti is only skin deep, I believe this world has been missguilded when it comes to looks and actions.

Most people look at beauty from the outside and not the inside of that person, that is how our society is now.

This sterotyping is bad because with the way media and magazines show what beauty is like or should be. So people try to achieve that perfection to get there.

I go by the saying " Everything that looks good really isnt good" and " Everything that glitters ain't Gold" that's so true. I use to stereostype a not so attractive person when i had a imature mindset.Well im a more personality person I go for the type of person someone is instead of how they look on the outside. Well im hard on myself and all the time people tell me how gorgous, beautiful, or how pretty i am. I just see a normal person, ugly or pretty. I put myself down more than anybody else. All in all society will always outcast ugly before beauty.

The "what is beautiful is good stereotype" is simply that people rate people to be more successful who are better looking. It can be good because these people usually build up to being that. Its not really fair tho to the people who are "unattractive". Everyone does have their own opinion on who is attractive and who is not. We can be self-fulfilled by spending more time on ourselves to achieve that standard.

It is sad that most people buy into the "goodlooking is good in general" theory. Some of the people who made my life a living hell in high school, were considered to be some of the best looking people. Because somewhere along the line, it was ingrained into our mind that these people get along further in life, we just follow along with the idea, and in the end, we allow the beautiful people to have the more important positions. Companies use this to their advantage, putting the more attractive people in the public eye, to attract more business.

I tend to disagree with this to a certain point. Some people have the impression that beautiful women are not as smart as more homely ones because they don't have to try as hard as other people.

it is very true that mostly beauty gets rewarded in our society but also puts the other ones at risk to do good. Some try to make themselves look pretty but destroys themselves to try to fit in, when everyone know its not normal to be 98 pounds with a perfect body. If that was true our society woule be in grave danger

Sad as it is to say this sterotype is all around us today. No one, generally speaking, wants their news delivered by unprofessional looking people. In todays society sex sells. We want to see attractice intelligent people on our news in our commercials and on our television programming. Beautiful is good and anyone who is not is looked badly upon. However, if beauty is in the eye of the beholder who are we to judge what is or isnt beautiful or good?

Our life is only as important as other people say it is. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder. If other people see that I am ugly, does that make me ugly? If other people say that my life is horrible and not worth living, should I go kill myself?

The thing with beauty is you are just born with it. You dont have to work hard for it. And its seems like a bias when all you have to do is to look pretty and people will immediately thin your a "good" and "attractive" person. Unfortunately nature dont care about injustice or equality. Unattractive people have to learn to survive earlier.. they have to create their own attractiveness factor..through education and wealth.

stereotypes direct towards beautiful people y?
when this world is filled with beautiful people they want the beautiful appearance of the people not whats inside of them but y? y not give every person a chance to be themselves stereotyping is not good it makes people change the way they are or want to be to make others happy this world of media should not be like this let people be who they want to be and not worry about how the world wants them to be.

1. The "what is beautiful is good stereotype" is the stereotype that beautiful and attractive people have a better chance of being successful. People tend to expect more from people who are good looking.

2. The self-fulfilling prophecy contributes to this stereotype because we expect a little bit more from people who are beautiful. Most of the time, those beautiful people do live up to their expectations which serves as a self-fulfilling prophecy.

3. The social implications of this stereotype are people taking their time to look good so that others can treat them better and have a better chance of having a good day.

Professor PIh
sociology
We assume if a person looks good they share a number of more good qualities, such as, intelligence, and ect.
If a person looks appealing we tend to stereotype them in a way in which we expect them to live up to our expectations.
People spend billions on cosmetics, and that goes with actors too, media and ect.

Explain the "what is beautiful is good stereotype."
The “what is beautiful is good stereotype” implies that if someone has a good physical appearance society is more likely to believe that they are good at other things as well. The stereotype connotes that beautiful people have an advantage over less beautiful people. Society assumes that beautiful people are more intelligent, sensitive, friendly, competent, and kind due to their looks.
How does the self-fulfilling prophecy contribute to this stereotype?
American Society automatically assumes that beautiful people are far more interesting and important solely because of their physical traits. In a classic study scientists made 10 guys talk to a female through an intercom for ten minutes. After the ten minutes they were shown two different photos of the girl. Men who saw the photo of the beautiful women valued her as interesting and friendly. The other men who were shown the photo of the not beautiful women labeled her as uninteresting and boring. It is a self-fulfilling prophecy because people trick themselves into believing that the better looking person really is better than another person regardless of other contributing factors.
What are the social implications of this stereotype?
The social implication of this stereotype is that people begin to spend vast amounts of money on products that improve their appearance. This stereotype also explains why the media uses attractive people to advertise or present their products. Every magazine in America has beautiful people marketing everything from toothbrushes to automobiles. Viewers recognize that it is a beautiful person and are more inclined to listen to what that person is saying, or buy what that person is selling. This stereotype is found with television newscasters such as Stone Philips and Melissa Theuriau both are considered to be attractive people. This stereotype applies to everyday life that beautiful people have a certain advantage when it comes to appearance.

Explain the "what is beautiful is good stereotype."
Being beautiful implies, that if a person is good looking in physical
its more likely for them to be better at other things because of there beauty. Therefore, stereotypes of being beautiful mean that a person has a higher chance in succeeding in life.
How does the self-fulfilling prophecy contribute to this stereotype?
The self-fulfilling prophecy contribute to this stereotype by, people expecting a bit more from a person that is beautiful because, there good looks may seem as if they also do good in other things.
What are the social implications of this stereotype?
It may be that, know people seem to spend more time on themselves to look good toward others, because they want to be treated better and also like attention from people, for that reason media uses attractive people so that a individuals could pay attention to whatever it might be that the attractive person is trying to sell, or let you know in the news. So in that matter stereotypes are build everyday on beautiful people, by having advantages because of there appearance.

Dr. Pih,

"What is beautiful is a good stereotype," I agree with this quote not only because my career is in the media but our society often hires people based off of looks. For example the Abercrombie issue that has been ongoing for years now. I used to work for their company and did not even fill out an application I simply walked into the store and was offered a position by one of the managers. This does not mean I am good looking but that I fit in their criteria. Long blonde hair, green eyes, and fit. This is the stereotypical "beauty" that is portrayed by the media and Abercrombie uses it for marketing purposes. When young boys and girls enter this store they see the employees and are in favor of their good looks, I know this because I used to be one of those kids who was obsessing over these tall, skinny, beautiful employees. The self-fulfilling prophecy is a reality. Everyone does it. We are human and of course we are going to take looks into account for everything, who ever does not believe that should try it them self. I believe these social implications effect society in a both negative and positive way. Negative because it can lead to situations such as; suicide, cutting, etc. The positive side is that people try and take care of themselves better and try to look good. No one wants to be ugly, and that is just the truth in our society. If people started learning that looks play an important factor in our society, people would start taking better care of themselves. They say that brains will always win over beauty, however in some cases it is the opposite. Beauty is winning more and more each day, and this is not only occurring in the media anymore.

"What is beautiful is good stereotype" is the idea that someone who we sees a person as good-looking, beautiful, sexy, or cute tends to think that they are alot of other good things. We think that they are more intelligent, sensitive, interesting, competent, and kind. The self-fulfilling prophesy contributes to this stereotype because when we think that someone is smart and has a great personality, we start to treat them differently and we expect them to live up to our expectations. And when we think that beautiful people are better, they become exactly that. The social implications of this stereotype is that attractive people receive preferential treatment. Also, when we see beautiful and attractive people on covers of magazines representing a product, are association of good qualities they have may lead us to think that we should listen and buy their product.

SOC 150 - Dr. Pih

Dr. Pih
The Beutiful people
Technically, human's beauty is determined by our media. Take Television, internet, and our social media as an examples. It is easy to observe from our society that people are very sensitive about their beauty. However, It gives question to the society 'what is beutiful is good?, According to the article, we are tend to find people's beauty through our eyes, In other words, we make an judegements by way they look

In society, being considered beautiful implies that you are more successful, more kind, more intelligent and overall a better, more approachable person. People tend to expect more of "beautiful" people, they expect that they have their life figured out and achieve success easily. People strive to fit the "beautiful" image so others will view them as successful and approachable and will address them with more positive attention.

Verify your Comment

Previewing your Comment

This is only a preview. Your comment has not yet been posted.

Working...
Your comment could not be posted. Error type:
Your comment has been posted. Post another comment

The letters and numbers you entered did not match the image. Please try again.

As a final step before posting your comment, enter the letters and numbers you see in the image below. This prevents automated programs from posting comments.

Having trouble reading this image? View an alternate.

Working...

Post a comment

Become a Fan

The Society Pages Community Blogs

Interested in Submitting a Guest Post?

If you're a sociology instructor or student and would like us to consider your guest post for everydaysociologyblog.com please .

Norton Sociology Books

You May Ask Yourself

Learn More

Essentials of Sociology

Learn More

The Family

Learn More

The Real World

Learn More

Introduction to Sociology

Learn More

The Everyday Sociology Reader

Learn More

« Vying For the Latino Vote | Main | Language, Gender and Power »