Let’s face it.  As human beings, we are attracted to beauty – beautiful things, beautiful music, and, yes, beautiful people.  When we encounter beauty (unless we’re jealous bitches), it lifts our spirits.

We are hardwired to want to seek beauty and be beautiful.  I’m not espousing a particular definition of beauty.  I’m just purporting that we all want (in greater or smaller doses) it.  If it makes us feel better about ourselves to be beautiful, if it helps us get promoted and put food on the table, and if it allows our ideas to be more readily accepted, even better!

So I applaud psychologist, Marcia Reynolds, PhD., for her article “Why Women Have to Care About Their Looks.”  I’m sure it’s not easy for a member of the intellegentsia, especially a psychologist, to promote the quest for personal beauty.  The intellectual elite, particularly those in the health care field, tends to eschew the overt pursuit of beauty.  No question, in the extreme, it can lead to body dysmorphia, eating disorders, and general lack of self-esteem.

While some of that is true, it doesn’t preclude the positive effects that also come from a healthy pursuit of beauty.

Reynolds recalls how, after going through a much-needed makeover by an image consultant, people responded to her and her thinking differently.  And there’s nothing wrong with that.  She writes: “Does this mean we are enslaved by ludicrous beauty standards?  No matter how shallow and unfair it is, attractiveness factors into most parts of our lives, including hiring and promotion decisions.”  She quotes Newsweek columnist Jessica Bennett who said “making an effort to look good because we know it helps us out professionally and maintaining that look shouldn’t necessarily be shunned, nor should we be plagued by personal guilt.”

While I don’t promote judging people on how they look, by the same token I hate that people judge others for caring about how they look.  Reynolds sums this up perfectly: “At best, let’s quit judging each other for what we feel we need to do to get ahead, whether you think wrinkles are a beautiful part of life or not.”

Amen.

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