The Sunday before last, I began my quest to uncover a treasure trove of books and blogs that specialise in the art of attraction. I came across Arden Leigh’s how to manual titled, ‘The New Rules of Attraction.’ Arden Leigh is a former dominatrix and claims to attract any man she wants. I read all the extremely positive reviews on amazon and with intrigue, I double clicked on the front cover of the ebook and dove straight into what I was optimistically hoping for as the secrets to attraction. I read the introduction with an open mind and continued to the first chapter where I found the words, ‘Studies from around the world have shown that most partners in happy relationships are of equal attractiveness. The three’s pair up with three’s; the tens pair up with tens.’ The author creates a world in which we are all evaluated based upon our objective beauty. What is objective beauty and what role does it play within the process of attraction? In Arden Leigh’s defence, she makes true to her promise and divulges, what she believes to be, the secrets of attraction. The New Rules of attraction dumps attraction down to, women exploiting their femininity, sexuality and beauty to manipulate the men around them. Attraction is not about manipulating the people around you; attraction is derived from chemistry and perceived value. A relationship should always be partnership among two equals. Matthew Hussey once said, ‘In order to get into a relationship, add value into someone’s life but you need to do it in a specific way; there’s a nice way of looking at this, imagine you hold your hand out and a butterfly lands on your hand. If you try and close your hand, the butterfly looks for the escape. If you curl your hand slightly and bring your other hand up to shelter the butterfly from the wind; it sees the value in staying on your hand and it stays there.’
Social Psychology and Aesthetics teach us, that beauty is an objective and quantifiable attribute of an individual. In fact, studies have shown that the standards of beauty are essentially the same across individuals and cultures, they are also innate; as individuals we are predisposed to value object beauty standards such as Bilateral Symmetry, Hip to Waist Ratio, and various facial features that are evidence of higher levels of testosterone and oestrogen. This objective beauty is also dictated to us through mass media and culture, unlike our innate predisposition, objective beauty influenced by mass media is not driven by symmetry or genetics but a statement of fashion which deems a certain dress size and skin colour as beautiful; This image of beauty is seen in magazines, movies, television and on the catwalk. A recent study conducted by an Australian Television programme revealed that a significantly greater number of men will pull over to help and objectively beautiful woman whose car has run out of petrol than a less attractive woman wearing the same outfit and the same model of car. You’re probably going to think that I’m a little naive or a hopeless romantic but it’s incredibly depressing that people are judged and miss out on opportunities because they don’t possess an attractive combination of genetics or facial symmetry.
Despite our predisposition to objective beauty, in recent times the influence of mass media has illustrated how susceptible, we are as humans to conditioning; this conditioning is two-fold and proves we are conditioned to perceive a certain body type, skin colour, and hair colour, are all deemed as beautiful and on another level we are conditioned to perceive that certain character traits, behaviours and body language are also beautiful. I meet Tom* a few days before I made an international move from Melbourne to London; I was instantly attracted to him, he was charming, a great sense of humour, a great conversationalist. I thought wow, Tom is so beautiful; He wasn’t blessed with great genetics nor a hugely successful career. He was a fascinating man who was a great conversationalist, who had a beautiful soul. Unlike objective beauty, which is influenced partly by our genetic makeup, social psychology and mass media, our perceived beauty is derived from the total package of who we are as a person and often has very little to do with our objective beauty. We live in an imperfect world but strive for an ideal or perfect body but no one achieves this level of perfection nor looks like a perfectly airbrushed model from a magazine. Instead, we are attracted to an individual’s energy, the way they smile or in the case of my attraction to Tom; I was attracted to his ability to captivate me in a conversation and his kind nature. What made Tom incredibly sexy was he accepted the hand he was dealt and new exactly how to play it. Objective beauty does play a small role in our love lives but only for a few seconds, once we engage with another individual whether it is by proximity, touch or conversation; perceived beauty innately becomes the predominant element of beauty in the process of attraction. This is great news for us mere mortals who do not possess a picture perfect silhouette; beauty does not exists in a vacuum but is directly correlated to, your personal characteristics, your outlook on life and demeanour.
In consideration of objective and perceived beauty, which of these elements are in play when people rating an individual’s beauty upon a scale out of ten, and what are the reasons for this behaviour? As my mind wonders back to Arden Leigh’s, three’s pair up with three’s comment; it becomes clearly evident, that this type of thinking is fuelled by objective beauty. Everyone at some point, judges others by their physical appearance, unfortunately, it’s innate and not one of humanities redeeming qualities, nevertheless, just because it’s common or widespread doesn’t mean that it is appropriate or even a healthy habit to be cultivating. When we judge and number the people around us, we are essentially pulling them down and placing them in 10 different boxes. On a psychological level, we do this with the assumption that people who are similar to us will also like us and innately, similar people provide social validation for our characteristics and beliefs, thereby boosting our self-esteem and eliminating huge risk. This evaluating behaviour often stems from a feeling of insecurity or inadequacy, we obtain confidence and security knowing, there are people similar to us. At first glance, this behaviour appears to be without reproach nonetheless, an evaluation system cannot guarantee, that a similar person to ourselves will reciprocate our feelings; and consequently when we place our confidence or security in the knowledge that we are at a certain level on a scale that measures beauty, all it takes is a moment of rejection to instigate an inevitable shattering of our confidence.
There is an element of beauty that is objective and quantifiable, this evaluation of beauty is driven by our own genetic makeup and disposition, social psychology and mass media. However, perceived beauty is evaluated by our personal package as a whole, beauty, personal characteristics, your outlook on life and demeanour. As innocent as, evaluating an individual’s beauty by a rating system may seem, it is generally rooted in our own insecurities and inadequacies as a consequence we risk damage to our own self-esteem when events do not go as they planned. Do you agree? Let me know by using the comments box below. I’d love to hear from you.
Photo Credit: bacsa
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