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Why beautiful people are more intelligent Satoshi Kanazawaa & Jody L. Kovar : Empirical studies demonstrate that individuals perceive physically attractive others to be more intelligent than physically unattractive others. While most researchers dismiss this perception as a ‘‘bias’’ or ‘‘stereotype,’’ we contend that individuals have this perception because beautiful people indeed are more intelligent. The conclusion that beautiful people are more intelligent follows from four assumptions. (1) Men who are more intelligent are more likely to attain higher status than men who are less intelligent. (2) Higher-status men are more likely to mate with more beautiful women than lower-status men. (3) Intelligence is heritable. (4) Beauty is heritable. If all four assumptions are empirically true, then the conclusion that beautiful people are more intelligent is logically true, making it a proven theorem. We present empirical evidence for each of the four assumptions. While we concentrate on the relationship between beauty and intelligence in this paper, our evolutionary psychological explanation can account for a correlation between physical attractiveness and any other heritable trait that helps men attain higher status (such as aggression and social skills). Read full report

Pygmalion in the year 2002 : The beauty ideal is of all time. Fashion, media and society as a whole often impose an unrealistic beauty ideal on young people. Around Valentine's Day, Mieke Vogels - Flemish minister for Welfare, Health, Equal Opportunities and Development Cooperation - launched a campaign with the themes : the beauty ideal and eating disorders . She made the results of a research for eating disorders public and announced initiatives to help change the public opinion concerning " ideal sizes ".
(G. Gielen, article in SociaaL, 2002/4, 12-15) (Article in Dutch)

Survival of the Prettiest The Science of Beauty, by Nancy L. Etcoff. © February 16, 1999 , Nancy L. Etcoff extract from book .The Nature of Beauty (
Philosophers ponder it and pornographers proffer it. Asked why people desire physical beauty, Aristotle said, "No one that is not blind could ask that question." Beauty ensnares hearts, captures minds, and stirs up emotional wildfires. From Plato to pinups, images of human beauty have catered to a limitless desire to see and imagine an ideal human form.

The market value of a beautiful face
Jeanne Doomen Marion Schiphorst (Source : and (
Beauty is unimportant. At least, that is what friendly people will tell to cheer up unattractive persons. It is about being nice, humorous and sympathetic. A pretty face, a good figure, what good will it do you ? A good heart, a good-humoured character, these are the things that count. Of course all this is true. However, all the friendly speakers are wrong. In " Survival of the Prettiest: The science of beauty ", Harvard Medical School psychologist Nancy Etcoff proves that beauty DOES matter. She says that looks are the most public part of ourselves. We perceive the looks of others and in a split of a second we determine whether or not we find the other one attractive. If this is the case, we compare with an idealized image of the human body which is stamped in our memory. Subsequently, we associate it with certain consequences
Jeanne Doomen Marion Schiphorst (Article in Dutch)

I am as I am and I am a good looker
On 22nd May 2002, Mieke Vogels - Flemish Minister for Welfare, Health, Equal Opportunities and Development Cooperation - introduced her campaign " I am as I am and I am a good looker ". It is a large public campaign aimed at putting the beauty ideal into perspective.On Wednesday 22nd May 2002 advertisements appeared in both newspapers and magazines. The campaign poster, with on its back information on the campaign's objective, can be applied for through the Flemish info line. (0800/30201). in Dutch)

Mirror mirror on the wall. The influence of physical attraction on children by Dr T. de Vos- van der Hoeven. Would Marilyn Monroe have been as successful and loved if she had been less attractive. Would Richard Gere have made as many movies if his nose had been crooked and his ears had been too big? In other words: how important are looks in our lives? The first impression one gets of another person is based on appearance. Appearance is the first thing your are confronted with when you meet a person for the first time. And often, as a result of this appearance, an opinion is immediately formed about this person. A well-dressed woman gives a better impression than a woman dressed in old, worn-out and unsuitable clothes. But, does the appearance you are born with influence the way you are judged? Are attractive people expected to have more positive characteristics than unattractive people? Is being attractive an advantage because you are judged more positively? And how important is physical attraction to children? More information: in Dutch)

Under the spell of the body or the myth of beauty Lecture held by Frida Bogaerts (Educator-sexologist, supervisor Marriage and Family - Sexology - Gynaecological Psychosomatics. Consultant Oncology, Multidisciplinary Breast Centre, oncological day centre and Palliative Cares - University hospitals, Leuven.)
On March 7th 2002 at the Flemish Parliament hearing on "Weight problems" (source:
I speak to you out of clinical experience.
I am a sexologist, with a preliminary training in pedagogy and I have been working in the university hospitals of Louvain since 1975. Working in the field of sexology, I was at the same time a consultant at a gynaecological ward (7 years), a plastic and reconstructive surgical ward with burns unit (10 years) and now at an oncological and palliative ward (1 year). As a "shrink I have been confronted,", with - among others - young girls, born without a vagina, who have been implanted a surgical vagina (vaginaplastic); with burns patients, who have to learn to live (survive) with a (sometimes terribly) mutilated body and lost limbs from one day to the next; with men and women, dissatisfied about a certain part of their body (nose, chin, breasts, belly, thighs....) and their wish for a surgical solution to their problem; with women struck by breast cancer and the aggravating, mostly mutilating, treatments (amputation, operations) and plastic surgery (breast reconstruction).(Article in Dutch)

The Ruby-poll of 1997. Research from ZORRA (Seek Detect and React on role patterns in advertising)
In October 1997 the Body Shop Flanders, in cooperation with ZORRA started a reporting station for reactions concerning the representation of men and women in advertising: the campaign "Self-respect and Beauty", aimed at bringing the current, unilateral beauty ideal up for discussion and to encourage and support people's self-image and feeling of self-respect. One of the pioneers of this campaign in Flanders was Prof Dr Magda Michielsens, who - from the beginning - made the link with the academic world (from the Centre for Women's studies and the Women's organizations (via) ZORRA) via ZORRA. (ZORRA is the Dutch acronym for: (Z) See, (O) Investigate & (R) React on (R) Gender Roles in (A)Advertising and other media products in Flanders (Belgium)
Within the scope of this campaign a poll has been prepared by NISSO (Nederlands Instituut voor Sociaal Seksulogisch onderzoek) , which probes self-appreciation, personal satisfaction, attitudes on the beauty ideal and the media consumption (magazines and certain television programs). These questionnaires are spread in Flanders and the Walloon provinces via the Body Shops via women's organisations. In Belgium, these questionnaires were analysed by Dimitri Mortelmans (UIA) and Sonja Spee (ZORRA, UIA). A total of 313 women and 25 men have filled in these questionnaires. This report limits itself to the results for the female respondents. Enclosed you will find all research results. For more information visit: (Article in Dutch)

Is the prevention of eating disorders a result of the slenderness ideal ?Trynke de Jong
(Source: Helix volume 14, edition 3 nr. 16)(
Does body dissatisfaction caused by extremely slender models and playgirls lead to unhealthy proportions for more and more people? Intuitively, a lot of people assume so. A number of arguments support this theory. For example, the fact that 90% of the people suffering from an eating disorder are women. The fact that the slenderness ideal is more prominent in Western society, and that, at the same time, there are more people suffering from eating disorders than in non -western societies. There is an increase of people with eating disorders, while models are becoming thinner and thinner. (Article in Dutch)

Eating disorders are more than a fad or an excessive diet. Interview by Gert Christens.
DNA-socio-cultural magazine Antwerp, September 2001
In view of the fact that young girls are smoking more and more, in spite of all the anti-smoking campaigns, we may wonder whether this is yet another means to lose weight. In some cases, it does not end with a temporary diet or good intentions, but the desire to be slim may very well become a real eating disorder. What these eating disorders exactly are and how we can recognize them, can be learned from Prof. Dr. Walter Vandereycken, professor of psychiatry at the K.U.Leuven and head of department of 'Directive Therapy' at the Alexians' clinic in Tienen. (Article in Dutch) Source

Being fat: not that unhealthy
Fat people eat too much, live unhealthy lives, and because they cannot keep to a diet, they are not getting any slimmer. Elly Jeurissen and Mieke van Spanje wrote a book to make once and for all short work of the nonsense that is going around concerning fat people. Most books on corpulence only deal with dieting. But what use is that, if you have been trying to lose weight for years. 'By far most fat people have followed many diets, otherwise they would never have become that fat', says Mieke van Spanje cynically. Together with Elly Jeurissen (37), Mieke van Spanje decided to write a book, which will really be useful for fat people. Jeurissen, who, as a statistician, has been dealing with the relationship between health and overweight for several years now: "In many books, the reader is constantly being pointed at the medical problems of being overweight. Research has indeed shown that fat people are less healthy and die younger than other people. But is this caused by obesity? This has not been proven yet. Maybe it is caused by the desire to lose weight. It is difficult to investigate, because by far all fat people have tried to lose weight at least once or twice." (Article in Dutch)

SVV in war against the dumb blonde image
25, blonde, good-looking and overjoyed. The Flemish media are incredible. As a women's organisation we have to move heaven and earth in order to bring only a fraction of our points of view and grievances to the attention of the public. And, ideally our actions should be brought to attention by a playful special appearance of a famous Fleming, otherwise we can completely forget it. (Article in Dutch)

Beauty is talent.
(Source: book extract): Glenn Wilson & David Nias, Liefdes Geheimen . De psychologie van de seksuele aantrekkelijkheid. Amsterdam Publishing House De Arbeiderspers. 1978.p.9-24)
Attractive people are not only preferred because of ethical and sexual connotations. A general standard or stereotypy seems to have developed through which all good qualities possible are attributed to these people. The authors refer to a number of typically American investigations in which these phenomena are scientifically proved. It has been checked whether there are prejudices against attractive people at school, in court and in other situations. Also the effect of different aspects of attractiveness on social adaptation, feelings of happiness, insight into own personality, social attitude and sense of humour have been looked at. (Article in Dutch)

Youngsters who think they're ugly.
Peter is 14. He avoids his friends and never goes to parties. Even in the movies he is on his own. He isolates himself voluntarily and is ashamed of his pimpled face. Anneke, 13 years old, does not want to go along for a swim. Not because she does not like running, jumping and plunging into the water, but because she is embarrassed for the way she looks, as fat as a barrel. And then there is Gerda, 14 years old and rather a beanpole. She is even afraid of having to stand up in the bus. In her view everybody thinks: what a broomstick. She is the opposite of David, 15 years old, who finds himself so ridiculously small that he's afraid of having to stand up when there are strange people around. And then the girls, they are all taller than him. He is doomed to stay alone.
In the eyes of tall people this is adolescent fussiness . What are these children worrying about? The parents, friends from the neighbourhood and from school barely notice that things are changing, because it is a very slow process. But Peter, Anneke, Gerda and David have the feeling that their environment is blindfolded. Terrible, sometimes they wish the ground would open and swallow them.(Article in Dutch) Source : Humo/Course psychology from G. Gielen

Disability and Sexual Attractiveness.Conversations with the Mariposa Group. Most of us are personally interested in sexual attractiveness, for its importance in our society for making personal contacts, establishing friendships, or even meeting a potential future spouse. Many persons with disabilities have grown up mistakenly feeling they could never be fully desirable to others or truly sexually attractive, being disabled. This has been a painful, insecure area even for many who were tremendously competent and accomplished in many other ways. By the same token, there is tremendous potential here for healing and growth and empowerment. Hopefully this discussion may help some persons with disabilities understand themselves differently and may free them to express their innate sensuality and sexual identity more confidently. Source :

Women's body figure preferences across the life span. Concern with body weight in our society is common and particularly relevant for women. Images of the ideal shape as presented in the media have progressively become thinner over the last 3 decades (Wiseman, Gray, Mosimann, & Ahrens, 1992), whereas women have actually become larger. It is not surprising, then, that women perceive themselves as more overweight than do men and consequently diet more (Rothblum, 1992), even though their diets rarely work in the long term (Brownell, 1982). Restricted eating practices have, in turn, been implicated in the eating disorders anorexia nervosa and bulimia (Polivy & Herman, 1985; Striegel-Moore, Silberstein, & Rodin, 1986), which occur much more commonly among women than among men. Rodin, Silberstein, and Striegel-Moore (1985) argued, however, that those eating disorders lie on a continuum with women's "normal" concerns about weight. (Source :

Relationship between Female's Body Image and the Mass Media Sarah Durkin Sociocultural pressures are thought to play a very influential role in the prevalence of body dissatisfaction in contemporary Western society. An increasing incidence of body dissatisfaction and eating disorders has coincided with changes in sociocultural norms for females over the last few decades. In contemporary society the ideal female body is thin, tall and long legged, and there is a pervasive belief among women that you need to fit this "ideal" to be successful. These messages about the ideal female form are transmitted by a variety of means, including the family, peers and by the mass media2,7-9. The ubiquitous nature of the mass media makes it a particularly powerful force for influencing social attitudes. With a moderate level of body dissatisfaction now believed to be normal among females, many researchers have looked toward this far reaching medium as a driving force for the dissemination of notions that a slender body is desirable (Source :

The study investigated body image in young adults from two countries with different histories of media exposure. Questionnaires assessing body dissatisfaction, dieting, disordered eating, leisure pursuits, and media exposure were administered to 394 Australian university students and 415 Estonian university students. Although there were large gender differences between men and women, in contrast to prediction,there were relatively few differences on body concern between Australian and Estonian students.
MARIKA TIGGEMANN Flinders University of South Australia EHA RÜÜTEL Tallinn Pedagogical University (Source :

Media's Effect On Girls: Body Image And Gender Identity Did you know? Gender identity begins in toddlerhood (identifying self as a girl or boy) with gender roles being assigned to tasks early in the preschool years (Durkin, 1998). A child's body image develops as the result of many influences: A newborn begins immediately to explore what her body feels like and can do. This process continues her whole life. A child's body image is influenced by how people around her react to her body and how she looks.
A pre-adolescent becomes increasingly aware of what society's standards are for the "ideal body." (Source :

Studies about body dissatisfaction and media impact. Several brief descriptions about studies . Body-Image and Eating Disturbances Predict Onset of Depression Among Female Adolescents in correspondence with media: Source : several resources : see page !

Attitudes of Health Professionals to Overweight and Obese People . Society and the negative stereotype Throughout history there have been stereotypes based on large body size, both positive (particularly in times of food scarcity, reflecting ideas of abundance, fecundity and wealth) and negative (often when societies are advancing socially and food is plentiful, reflecting sloth, gluttony and poor willpower). The negative stereotype of the overweight and obese has been with us a long time and can be traced back through history to pre-Christian times of Greek philosophy.Currently society holds a negative picture of overweight people that even young children are familiar with. Characteristics such as lazy, stupid, sad, ugly, lacking willpower, or awkward are attributed simply on the basis of body shape and size. It is a view found to varying degrees across gender, race and age.The other side of this coin is the association in the media and fashion industries of thinness with desirable characteristics such as happiness, youth, acceptance, self-confidence and meaningful romance . This reinforces the perception that overweight people are not these things, but that they can be obtained by losing weight. Overweight people stigmatised in this way do indeed tend to do less well in school, are less likely to enter some professions, and have been shown to earn less than thinner women and less than those with other chronic health problems (Source :

Adolescents are perfect candidates for plastic surgery.
Many youngsters and adolescents are dissatisfied with the way they look. Some suffer so much under their deviating appearance that they undergo plastic surgery to change this. However, doesn't their dissatisfaction disappear automatically and are they actually becoming a 'better' person after plastic surgery? And, is it justified to meet their wishes? These are questions which are answered in the thesis 'Adolescents and plastic surgery: Psychosocial and medical-ethical issues' with which Ms. Kuni Simis hopes to obtain her Ph D at the Erasmus University on Wednesday 17th October.
(Article in Dutch)

Certain overweight adult patients also suffer from some kind of eating disorder.
Whether this is also the case for obese youngsters, we do not know. Until now, little research to prevent eating disorders has been done with this group. In clinical practice there is great demand for more knowledge about eating disorders. For a number of years now, a research project on the prevalence of eating disorders among obese youngsters has been running at the University of Ghent. The website below explains what we mean by "eating disorders", in particular by "Binge eating Disorders". We will describe what we know about this condition with youngsters.
Source: (Article in Dutch)

Body Image Distortions: A common psychological condition in cosmeticsurgery cases. Arthur J. Anderson, Ph.D. Clinical Psychologist & Psychotherapist Deborah Sandler
Psychotherapist One of the most common psychological conditions associated with cosmetic surgery is a condition commonly referred to as Body Dysmorphic Disorder (BDD). BDD is a distressing body image condition that involves excessive preoccupation with physical appearance in a 'normal' appearing person. This condition is often associated with intrusive thoughts of body dissatisfaction, avoidance of exposure to body images situations, such as mirrors in public places, and excessive body checking and comparisons with others. Thus, in its extreme form it can be quite debilitating and cause a great deal of anxiety and dis-satisfaction.
However, as with most psychological conditions, there is a wide range of difference in how these excessive negative self image thoughts and avoidance behaviours are presented. The differences range from a 'normal' level of self consciousness to severely debilitating effects of anxiety and depression in more severely afflicted people. Source :

Mirror Mirror A summary of research findings on body image Motives: why we look in the mirror.We are all more obsessed with our appearance than we like to admit. But this is not an indication of 'vanity'. Vanity means conceit, excessive pride in one's appearance. Concern about appearance is quite normal and understandable. Attractive people have distinct advantages in our society. Kate Fox, 1997. Source :

Eating Disorders: The Internalization of the Thin Body Ideal by Nicole Hawkins, Ph.D.
Research over the last two decades has indicated that the incidence of eating disorders appears to be increasing. Health care professionals have reported what some consider to be epidemic rates of these disorders in recent years, particularly among adolescents. One extreme (but possibly inflated) estimate is that 20% of the total female population between the ages of 12 and 30 suffer from a major eating disorder; this may represent a 10% increase from three decades ago (Nagel & Jones, 1992). Source :

Towards an Understanding of Self-esteem and Eating Disorders Melissa H. Smith, MA, NCC
During a session with a client who has long suffered with an eating disorder I was discussing what it would be like if she could feel positive about herself. I was shocked with the response she gave me. Instead of reporting a desire to feel better about herself, this client laughed at me and retorted, "Self-esteem is laughable to me. I hope to be rid of the disturbing behaviors of the eating disorder, but I know it's asking too much to like myself." This encounter has been as intriguing as it has been disturbing. In this interaction I believe I came to understand, in small measure, what many women who suffer from eating disorders must feel about themselves. And, I better understand that when therapists, dietitians, and other helpers meet these women, survival is often the goal rather than happiness or feelings of self-worth. This interaction has come to symbolize for me the lie of the eating disorder in that it so efficiently creates such hopelessness, self-hate, and shame in women. Source:

Facts about Eating Disorders By Pauline S. Powers, M.D.,Pauline Powers, MD provides recent statistics about eating disorders and a compares US funding for eating disorders with funding for other mental health issues. Source :

Facts about anorexia and bulimia. The campaign to increase the understanding of mental health problems and reduce their [stigma] and discrimination. This booklet has been designed to make you think twice about how you view people who suffer from anorexia and bulimia. Source:

Facts about Body Dysmorphic Disorder To your dismay, your daughter has started to complain more and more about the appearance of her eyelids. She grudgingly compares them to those of her classmates. You frequently catch her standing before a mirror, scrutinizing their appearance. When you try to discuss your concerns, she becomes defensive. To make matters worse, you've observed her reading materials about cosmetic surgery. How do you know if your daughter is simply experiencing a typical stage in adolescence or if she has a more complex problem? Teens seem to worry incessantly about their weight and appearance, but some may become obsessed with a specific flaw or perceived defect. Along with eating disorders, body dysmorphic disorder (BDD) has become a growing concern for young adults. Source : several sources see page.

Body Dysmorphic Disorder (BDD) (previously known as dysmorphophobia). BDD consits of a preoccupation with a perceived defect or ugliness in one's appearance. It leads to time consuming rituals such as checking one's appearance in the mirror and avoiding a wide range of social and public situations. Further information on BDD can be found here. The aim of this page is to answer common questions about the nature and treatment of Body Dysmorphic Disorder. It is designed for the lay public. Dr. David Veale , Correspondence:The Priory Hospital North London London N14 6RA United Kingdom Source :

Body Dysmorphic Disorder In An Adolescent Male Secondary to HIV-related Lipodystrophy:
A Case Study This article presents a case study of a 17-year-old male with acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS), experiencing significant body changes secondary to human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) treatment. These physical changes led to dysfunctional preoccupation with his appearance and suicidal behavior, and he was eventually diagnosed with body dysmorphic disorder (BDD). This paper reviews the concepts of BDD and metabolic changes, with particular emphasis on lipodystrophic changes related to HIV medications. Sociodemographic characteristics, clinical manifestations, and treatment modalities with special focus on the role of the nurse practitioner in recognizing and managing these conditions are preThis article presents a case study of a 17-year-old male with acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS), experiencing significant body changes secondary to human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) treatment. These physical changes led to dysfunctional preoccupation with his appearance and suicidal behavior, and he was eventually diagnosed with body dysmorphic disorder (BDD). This paper reviews the concepts of BDD and metabolic changes, with particular emphasis on lipodystrophic changes related to HIV medications. Sociodemographic characteristics, clinical manifestations, and treatment modalities with special focus on the role of the nurse practitioner in recognizing and managing these conditions are presented.Source :

Body Image and Self-Esteem I'm fat. I'm too skinny. I'd be happy if I were taller, shorter, had curly hair, straight hair, a smaller nose, bigger muscles, longer legs. Is there something wrong with me? Do any of these statements sound familiar? Are you used to putting yourself down? If so, you're not alone. As a teen, you're going through a ton of changes in your body, and as your body changes, so does your image of yourself. Read on to learn more about how your body image affects your self-esteem and how you can develop a healthy body image. Why Are Self-Esteem and Body Image Important? You may have heard the term self-esteem on talk shows or seen it in your favorite magazine. But what does it mean? Self-esteem involves how much a person values herself, and appreciates her own worth. Self-esteem is important because when you feel good about yourself, you enjoy life more. Source :

Body Dysmorphic Disorder: Recognizing and Treating Imagined Ugliness by Katharine A. Phillips, M.D. Peter, a 23-year-old single white male, was often suicidal over his hair. He thought about his supposedly receding hairline for more than eight hours a day, and described his distress as extreme and devastating. Peter frequently combed his hair and checked it in mirrors, asked his parents whether it was thinning and used hair spray and gel to "increase its size." He also searched his pillow each morning for hair, saved his hairs in a plastic bag and developed complex math formulas to determine the rate of hair loss.Sophie was excessively preoccupied with her nose, which she thought was toolarge. Although she'd often been asked to work as a model, she believed these requests were motivated by pity for her ugliness. After three rhinoplasties, she thought her nose looked even worse, and she contemplated suing the surgeon. Eventually, she was hospitalized after attempting suicide because of her "atrocious" appearance.Both of these patients had body dysmorphic disorder (BDD), a preoccupation with an imagined or slight defect in appearance. Although BDD is becoming increasingly familiar to clinicians, it remains an underdiagnosed, often secretive, disorder. Its underrecognition is problematic because BDD appears to be relatively common. In addition, emerging data, while preliminary, suggest that psychiatric treatment (serotonin reuptake inhibitors [SRIs] and cognitive-behavioral therapy) are promising for BDD. And while the symptoms might sound trivial, BDD is associated with significant suffering and impairment in functioning. In extreme cases, patients may commit suicide; others attempt their own surgery. Source :

Building a Better Body Image According to Psychology Today's 1997 Body Image Survey, more people are dissatisfied with their bodies today than ever before. The 1997 survey followed the landmark survey of 1985, among the most widely quoted on the subject. Respondents were asked to fill a five page questionnaire on how they saw, felt and were influenced by their bodies. While respondents identified body image as their physical appearance or attractiveness, they credited that same body image with psychologically influencing their behavior and self-esteem. How we perceive, how we feel about and what we believe to be true about our bodies determines our overall view of what we can achieve and what we will settle for in life. Source :

Thirty-three cases of body dysmorphic disorder in children and adolescents.Ralph S. Albertini
Body dysmorphic disorder (BDD), a distressing and impairing preoccupation with an imagined or slight defect in appearance, has been described for more than a century and reported around the world (Phillips, 1991). Available data suggest that BDD is relatively common (Phillips et al., 1996; Simeon et al., 1995) and usually begins during adolescence. Despite receiving increasing clinical and research attention, this disorder remains virtually unstudied in children and adolescents. Source :