Let’s face it — we are obsessed with beauty!
When we look for jewellery, we seek out the shiniest gem in the pack. We have beauty pageants to determine the prettiest girls on the block. We use pretty girls to advertise our products (even for things unrelated to females like power saws). All heads turn when a pretty girl walks into a room, and more often than not, the people who serve as the first point of contact for a company (like receptionists, secretaries and assistants) are always pretty. Most Men would say they only date pretty girls, children want to play with pretty dolls, and apparently airhostesses (or flight attendants) are always pretty too!
I recently spent a few days at The Golden Tulip in Accra doing some “lifestyle research,” and I have to testify to being asked if I was an airline hostess more than 10 times a day without fail. Finally I asked a woman why she would think that, and she proudly said; “You just have ‘that pretty’ look!”
Don’t get me wrong, I have no objection to other people thinking I’m pretty: No one is perfect, but when I look in the mirror I’m usually pleased with what I see. However, I know it’s who you are on the inside that counts the most.
My concern is this: Is our obsession with beauty purely based on the "eye candy" or does it go beyond that to a fundamental issue of whether pretty people get ahead in life by virtue of their good looks and not their abilities?
I explored this idea further with my new South African friend. She’d mentioned that she grew up always hearing the idea that to be an airhostess, you had to be pretty — rarely was it mentioned that you had to have a degree! So she simply associated that particular job with pretty women and men, and assumed an education was secondary. She chose that field of work and felt that if she ever got that job it would mean that she was a “Pretty Girl.”
Is this true? Are certain jobs reserved for pretty people, where and all you have to do is apply, show up and look pretty so that employers can see you and you automatically give you the job, no real “interview” required?
Even the term, "dumb blonde" highlights the notion that beauty is secondary to brains. In my experience, I sometimes realize that beauty could be a disadvantage because some people may expect very little from pretty girls and this could be problematic for a woman (or man) who is eager to show her intellect. I suppose many people would wish that this was their biggest problem — at least you got the job, the attention, and sometimes even the date — but I think I see it as an issue when younger girls like my 12-year-old sister and six year-old niece aspire to be pretty and nothing more. They watch shows like America’s Next Top Model and the Housewives reality shows and see these women go on and on about their looks and say nothing about education.
We need to begin to celebrate the beauty in everyone (which includes intelligence, creativity, and all) and place more emphasis on the inner beauty, because without that we would have a lot of truly UGLY people walking around!
Photos via Google Images