Why aren’t people more open minded about beauty?

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Kinkyquester asks:

I see it all the time. A beautiful woman who is ostracized by a majority of men for having a prominent nose or being 6’4″ or having a shaven head. Or a man who is disliked by many women because he’s bald, 5’4″, or is missing an arm.

I don’t understand how these trivial things can be deal breakers for men and women. I see these as being 100% a product of a narrow societal/media pushed view.

I’ve never cared about the height of a man, what color his hair is or if he has any or if he lost part of a limb and I’ve always been considered conventionally attractive. I still think a face/body is important for me as I’m definitely a visual creature but I just don’t see how the above traits, or I’m sure many other I’m nor mentioning can be “deal breakers”. Humanity is silly. I think it just lessens people’s ability to find the right match for them.

Do you think people will become less prejudiced about minor appearance differences?


Demetrius says:

A pretty deep question that I could spend days talking about, but I’ll try to be as concise as possible to not bore you to death.

What people find attractive is influenced by a lot of factors. Some of it is influenced by what society perceives as beautiful, some of it is influenced by idolizing the features of the race of people who colonized most of the world, some of it is evolutionary or based on instincts, and some of it is personal preferences. I’m missing a ton of nuance here, but you get what I’m saying. Beauty is determined by lots of factors, and what’s considered beautiful to some might now be beautiful to others.

If you pick up a popular periodical, or look at any advertising that contains the male or female form, you’ve got a pretty good idea of what’s attractive these days. Lean, fit, and symmetrical is what most of the Western world decides is most attractive whether subconsciously or not. Anything that veers away from that is generally considered less attractive. There are outliers of course, and no one is saying that you can’t be tall, have a shaved head, bald or balding, short, or missing a limb and be attractive. But again, outliers. On a less extreme scale, there are people who have asymmetrical faces who could be considered attractive as well.

Beauty isn’t a monolith, and even if you don’t necessarily fit into the norm you can still be attractive. That said, beauty is sometimes short hand for “conventionally attractive in a very average sense”. Once you step out of the that convention a bit when you find a partner, there might be a real or perceived societal pressure to date someone more attractive. I’ve heard plenty of people talk about so-called mismatched couples, where one person is clearly more attractive than the other, and I’d be lying if I said I didn’t do the same. Yes it’s a safe bet to say that limiting your dating pool to people you find conventionally beautiful lowers your odds of finding a good match for you, but attraction is incredibly important. The idealist in me likes to think that if I met my perfect match in every single way, but she looked like Quasimodo, I’d be able to overlook that,  but I’d be lying. It’s a romantic idea, but “the right match” also includes “person I am attracted to physically as well as mentally and socially”. I wouldn’t encourage anyone to date someone they thought was a boorish churl, nor would I encourage them to date someone they thought was an uncomely grotesquerie.

You make a good point about the societal and media driven ideal of beauty and even mention how open-minded you are, and yet, even you have some level of standard of beauty. You’re okay with height, hair color, baldness, missing limbs, not being conventionally attractive and that’s great. But then you follow it up with “face/body is important to me”. We all have standards, and just because your standards are a bit more forgiving doesn’t mean you’d date and be attracted to just anyone. Which brings me to my point. I think we, as a society, are more open-minded than ever about beauty, but no matter what, people will always hold preferences, and those preferences tend toward the average looking person. In my generation alone, features predominantly associated with people who are not descended from Europeans are considered more and more attractive, so a shift can happen in what’s considered beautiful. That sounds a bit more optimistic than I want it to, so let me follow that up with saying that a lot of the features you mentioned probably wont be considered beautiful by mainstream society anytime soon. Accepted? Sure, absolutely! Considered beautiful by society by and large, I’d guess not for a very long time. There are obviously some beautiful people who are a bit out of the norm in terms of looks, physical features, and impairments, and there are people who consider them beautiful, but societies by and large associate “beautiful” with “close to the norm”.

There are always going to be beautiful outliers who look different, act differently, style themselves different, and I think as a society we’ll only get more and more open-minded about what we consider beautiful, especially when it comes to minor appearance differences.

Good Luck Out There.

Demetrius Figueroa

Demetrius is a sex, dating, and relationship writer based in Brooklyn.

2 thoughts on “Why aren’t people more open minded about beauty?

  • May 12, 2016 at 11:04 pm
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    This topic is very close to my heart. I’ve long struggled with not feeling attractive because I’m not a blue eyed blonde. I feel that society right now makes it seem like white people are the most desirable — look at movies and TV shows. Very rarely are people of color cast, which is a direct reflection of what “the people” want to see. At most there’s one token character of color — otherwise it’s seen as a “black” (or whatever) show.

    Anyway my point is society definitely places an emphasis on what is attractive, but the only way past it is to 1: be confident in yourself (like I forced myself to do) and/or 2: not be so quick to judge others based on your conventional standards of beauty. Give everyone a chance and don’t just go for the same type. I have many single friends who refuse to date outside a certain race because they don’t find that race attractive. I’m all about giving people a chance (within reason of course) and focusing more on personality. Online dating certainly hasn’t helped the shallowness out there– but I’m hopeful that with time, diversity will be more welcomed and celebrated.

    Reply
    • May 13, 2016 at 9:25 am
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      Thanks so much for leaving this comment Harley and sharing your thoughts, it really means a lot. We can suddenly change society overnight, but what we can do is change how confident we are in ourselves, and how judgmental we are about conventional standards of beauty.

      Reply

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