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New Book

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Aug. 26th, 2003 | 02:27 pm

I started reading a new book, one that my friends might think is bad for me. "Survival of the Prettiest" by Nancy Etcoff. In it she argues that beauty (at least with respect to people) exists to provide useful clues about peoples suitability as potential breeding partners.

One interesting result she mentioned was that one thing that correlated with how concerned people were with physical beauty was how common parasites are among the population. If a person is infected with a parasite it's harder for them to produce thick hair and clear skin, so those things become better indicators of the health of a person.

The reason reading this might be bad for me, is that it reinforces my tendency to believe that people do evaluate each other on the basis of appearance. I tend to take that information and think of myself as being undatable because I'm not sufficiently attractive. (Though if health is one of the important factors in evaluating attractiveness, I wonder why I don't fare better)

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Comments {11}

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Jane Tutor

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from: pixelpoet
date: Aug. 26th, 2003 04:33 pm (UTC)
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beauty is subjective

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Diane Trout

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from: alienghic
date: Aug. 26th, 2003 04:41 pm (UTC)
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This book was arguing that some aspects of beauty recognition are hardwired into us, for instance they claimed that infants will look at faces that adults rate as beautiful longer.

The example I mentioned for hair and skin are things that most human cultures will value, probably because they indicate how disease free the person is.

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Jane Tutor

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from: pixelpoet
date: Aug. 26th, 2003 07:49 pm (UTC)
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baby's are also born "cute" because in the old-days, evolution days, babies are dependent on mothers so they look cute to be appealing. that "awhhh" feeling.
darwinism? im not sure~heard it from somewhere~pych class maybe

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Diane Trout

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from: alienghic
date: Aug. 27th, 2003 12:15 am (UTC)
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This book mentioned that in california and massachusetts they discovered that abused children were more likely to be not cute. The reference is V. McCabe "Facial proportions, perceived age, and caregiving" In T. R. Alley, ed., Social and Applied Aspects of Perceiving Faces (Hillsdale: Erlbaum, 1988) pp. 89-95

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Usqueba

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from: usqueba
date: Aug. 27th, 2003 12:28 am (UTC)
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baby's are also born "cute" because in the old-days, evolution days, babies are dependent on mothers so they look cute to be appealing. that "awhhh" feeling.

That doesn't work on me. My reaction is more like, "OH! AAACK! What is THAT?!.... Oh, it's a baby". (I don't have to hold it, do I??)

I'm not mom material.

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Jane Tutor

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from: pixelpoet
date: Aug. 26th, 2003 07:50 pm (UTC)
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i think physical attractiveness counts but to an extent~ you can always learn to be physically attracted to someone but intellectually is harder~ i think intellectually compatibility is more important anyways.

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Diane Trout

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from: alienghic
date: Aug. 27th, 2003 12:22 am (UTC)
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The book referenced some research that suggested the longer term the relationship someone was considering a potential mate for the more they valued personality characteristics. The shorter the relationship, the more it was just about appearance.

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Diane Trout

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from: alienghic
date: Aug. 26th, 2003 04:45 pm (UTC)
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I've read research on how people tend to end up dating people of similar attractiveness. Most people will want to date someone more attractive than themselves, but unless the have an exceptional command of some valued resource they usually can't attract the more beautiful person.

Perhaps I am being stubborn in my tastes and am wanting be involved with people far more attractive than me.

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from: musicwomyn
date: Aug. 26th, 2003 07:28 pm (UTC)
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I think we need to be clear on the definition of beauty. I think beauty is a health thing, but it's physical and psychological health. What I mean by this is that the most attractive womyn in the world could walk up to me and if she opens her mouth is either extremely stupid or extremely mean or psycho, I will not be attracted to her. I can only speak for myself, but I am attracted to people that would not be deemed attractive in today's society. This said, I think beauty is in the eye of the beholder and that society is constantly trying to define it in order to profit.

You have clear skin and thick hair, so according to what you've mentioned in that book, the book has deemed you attractive.

Yes, beauty matters, but it isn't skin deep and isn't defined by society.

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Jane Tutor

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from: pixelpoet
date: Aug. 26th, 2003 07:53 pm (UTC)
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so doesnt it mean its subjective?
everyone is beautiful!

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Josh

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from: irilyth
date: Aug. 27th, 2003 09:59 am (UTC)
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I still say: Bah, bah, and bah. Beauty gets you noticed; it doesn't make you dateable, and doesn't make a relationship work. If your looks don't get you noticed, find another way to get people to notice you.

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