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In our society too much emphasis
is put on attractiveness and good looks. The media, television,
movies and fashion constantly show attractive people. Less beautiful people
are more and more discriminated against, and this is mainly based
on their looks: they have a hard time finding jobs, they do not
easily find partners or have to do with a partner that is equally
unattractive, they have fewer career opportunities, no chances
in the media (they hardly appear on television shows, soaps, etc.),
on average they earn less than beautiful people with the same
Beauty, on the other hand, is an extra trump for women
to be successful, both in the media and in politics, as has been
shown recently. Physical appeal is considered to be even more
important than talent; for instance, the excessive number pictures
of women in men's magazines, accompanied by nothing but short,
meaningless messages. On the other hand, less beautiful people
are also cursed with negative characteristics and the way in which
these prejudices are shown towards the persons concerned usually
make them come true (self-fulfilling prophecy): unattractive people
are said to have complexes, a feeling of inferiority, more suicidal
tendencies; they are thought to be more aggressive, more introvert,
less intelligent, etc.
Due to the daily inescapable media attacks, many people collectively have a feeling of inferiority: after all, only a limited number of people attract attention because of their attractiveness. The distorted impression in the media and the excessive importance attached to attractiveness makes many people feel unhappy. However, the danger exists that so-called ugly people become aware of their ugliness and therefore actually start developing psychological disorders. This can lead to self-starvation, wasting fortunes on diets, cosmetics and plastic surgery, depressions, suicide or obsessive attention for the body. New diseases of affluence have emerged: anorexia nervosa, bulimia, binge eating disorders, Body Dysmorphic Disorder (BDD) (wrongfully finding oneself ugly) etc. A billion-dollar business has developed from this distorted situation: exercise equipment and even equipment that no longer requires any efforts, beauty shops and dietary centres, breast enlargement, plastic surgery, liposuction, treatment of wrinkles with injections, Fathers reward their children for a good school report with a set of new breasts (see news column).
Ugly people show all the characteristics
of a marginalized group in society. Not only do they face degrading
jokes, they are even laughed at. Scientific research shows that
our looks largely determine our lives. Many people think: "Behind
good looks lies a good inner self". Physically attractive
men and women are expected to have better jobs, better friends
and better marriages than less attractive people. At first sight,
beautiful people are considered to be intelligent, nice, socially
competent and interesting people. This idea is opposite to the
general consensus that everybody is equal.
Research has shown that young children ara influenced by beauty. They look longer at beautiful faces than unattractive faces. But in their behavior they do not attach almost any importance to looks. The fact that teenagers and adults do find looks of great importance has to do with education and socialization. Research has shown that already from kindergarten on, children consider physical attraction to be a very important characteristic, as a result of which unattractive children often show different social, mainly negative behaviour (see article in the background column from by Drs. T de Vos - van der Hoeve; Mirror mirror on the wall)
Research also shows that adults treat unattractive children more negatively and that these children consequently behave more negatively. This spiral of discrimination based on looks is very hard to break out of. Minister Vogels has recently launched a campaign in the media to give more attention to more "average" sizes. Although it was meant well and the press attention was successful, many unattractive people must have felt bad because the models used for the campaign certainly do not correspond to the characteristics of unattractive people with special sizes. Of course the Minister quite rightly didn't want people all of a sudden to consider corpulence as an "ideal" and therefore, she obviously didn't use obese models . But the images used in this campaign did not reach the desired effect for everybody. The stigma of ugliness had even been strengthened because the models used, were one by one attractive people with perhaps slightly divergent sizes but certainly not unattractive looks. Quite the contrary. On this site we try to collect all information relevant to this subject. We also introduce our own research project. As progress is made, we will be publishing more and more results. We are looking forward to your reactions, experiences, remarks, and relevant contributions to this research.
'What an offspring' laughed mother duck as a peacock in his pride; while the downy, beautiful ducks were tripping around her. 'But you, ugly thing, you do not belong here', she quacked at a little ugly duckling, unsuspectingly waddling with the others. 'Boo, ugly piece of trash', snivelled the little brothers and sisters and if that was not enough, neighbour Betty Busybody stirred, 'from which nest growls that little young'. Trembling with fear and sorrow, the ugly duckling first crawled in a corner but then waddled deadly lonely into the wide world. Not a single animal encouraged it, they all called out: "how ugly!" The ugly duckling already wished to perish, but even that did not happen. It dragged lonely through the days until one day it got feathers as white as snow. It did not become a duck but a stately swan. When the others saw this, they hung their heads in shame.
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