Why Beauty Divides Us

There are so many myths about beauty — it’s skin deep and it’s in the eye of the beholder. Maybe it’s time we rethought that.

Tessa Schlesinger
Mar 5 · 5 min read
Beauty is skin deep, but skin deep is what draws us. Pixabay Free-Photos

Imagine this leggy 5'10" blonde walking down the street. Everywhere she goes, people stop and stare. Fabulous legs that go on forever, swaying hips perfectly proportioned to her small waist, and boobs to complete the mixture. Her face is unforgettable — large blue/green eyes, high cheekbones, a slightly tanned skin, and lips that form a perfect heart.

She’s on the cover of every magazine, the star in multiple movies, and she’s described as beautiful. Sometimes she has black hair and sometimes she has brown eyes, and sometimes she only reaches 5'3", but she garners attention wherever she goes — no matter what country or what culture.

She is — BEAUTIFUL.

Beauty is Skin Deep

The beauty industry is massive. It’s massive because beautiful people attract other people. People gravitate towards beauty, and those who are not beautiful want to attract other people. If people did not want people to be attracted to them, and if beauty wasn’t a sure way of attracting them, then there would be no beauty industry.

So why the constant put-down by so many when a beautiful woman walks into the room?

“Beauty is skin deep,” someone will remark. The implication is that while the person is beautiful, she has no value because she’s shallow and has no depth of character. On tthe contrary, there are correlations between beauty and good mental health, intelligence, ability and performance.

“Beauty is in the eye of the beholder,” is another cliche. No, it’s not. If it was, there wouldn’t be cultural agreement about who and what is beautiful. Large eyes are seen as beautiful throughout the world. So are high cheekbones.

“Blondes are stupid,” or put another way, beautiful people don’t have brains. That has been proven to be untrue. There is a strong correlation between beauty and brains. If you understand how DNA works, that outcome would be obvious. Brainy, successful men marry beautiful women. Their children inherit both beauty and brains. Do this over a couple of millennia, and, far from being stupid, beautiful people are far more likely to be highly intelligent.

“Beautiful women don’t work hard because everything is easy for them,” is another put-down by the less-fortunate in appearance. There isn’t the remotest bit of evidence for that. Beautiful women work just as hard as anyone else. They’re just luckier because given two people with an equal work ethic and equal qualifications, bosses will chose the more attractive one. And so it goes. It isn’t fair, of course.

Resentment Because Beauty is Unfair

All these clinches about beauty are there, not because they are factual, but because they make us feel better about ourselves. If another women has been blessed with so much beauty, surely she must be lacking in something else? And maybe someone will find us beautiful as well — even though we aren’t. After all, isn’t beauty in the eye of the beholder?

These myths are comforting to us because they counter the birth lottery. Beautiful women (and goodlooking men) did not earn their good looks. They were simply lucky enough to be born with them.

All our trite sayings about beauty are nothing more than an attempt to make the birth lottery more fair. Surely if DNA made someone spectacularly beautiful, they must have been made absent of brains or perhaps have a bad character? It doesn’t work that way. The science shows otherwise.

The idea that beautiful women are bitches and that’s why women don’t like them is complete nonsense. It’s a justification for villifying beautiful women. Humanity is awed and in love with beauty but simultaneously resents those who have it because it rewards them more than those without it.

Humanity is awed and in love with beauty but simultaneously resents those who have it because it rewards them more than those without it.

Isn’t it time we acknowledged our love of beauty and stopped trying to make beautiful people less than they are because we don’t draw the same degree of attention? When we desperately use botox, cosmetics, try to slim down, and whatever else it takes to gain what we were not given at birth, doesn’t it diminish us in some way?

Surely we have the strength of character to accept who we are and deal with it?

I happen to love beauty as much as the next person, but there is something I love more, and it has been paid very little attention during the last 30 or 40 years. It is strength of character. Ideally, I am looking for a goodlooking man with strength of character. :) In my dreams. Not going to happen, but isn’t it a nice dream?

So what is strength of character? It’s the ability to do the right thing despite difficult circumstances and staying true to who one claims to be.

When we have strength of character, we can acknowledge that there is pleasure in looking at beautiful women and goodlooking men. We can also acknowledge there are too few of them for all of us to have one for our own personal gratification and pleasure. Acceptance of who we are is fundamental to peace of mind and contentment.

The Joy of Beauty

I really don’t think we have to bash beautiful people. We don’t bash beautiful sunsets because we live in a hovel. We don’t bash the sight of a magnificent animal because we don’t live in a zoo.

Years ago, I was standing in a gold-encrusted cathedral in the middle of Madrid (Spain). It occurred to me that there were a couple of tons of gold in that cathedral and I wondered how many people it would feed. Then it struck me that humanity needs beauty because it lifts the soul, and that cathedral was truly beautiful. I could imagine people coming in there and, just for the time they spent there, being refreshed, their spirits uplifted by the sheer beauty. That was the day I learned that we would be poorer if there were no beautiful people around.

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Tessa Schlesinger

Written by

Global citizen. Author. Thinker. Polymath. Climate change. Progressive. Loves photography, beauty, dancing, and believes benevolence is a survival mechanism.

Curious

Curious

A community of people who are curious to find out what others have already figured out // Curious is a new personal growth publication by The Startup (https://medium.com/swlh).

Tessa Schlesinger

Written by

Global citizen. Author. Thinker. Polymath. Climate change. Progressive. Loves photography, beauty, dancing, and believes benevolence is a survival mechanism.

Curious

Curious

A community of people who are curious to find out what others have already figured out // Curious is a new personal growth publication by The Startup (https://medium.com/swlh).

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