Friday, May 11, 2007

Visual Reality

Watched Dreamgirls the other night. Effie White is denied the chance to super stardom because she's overweight. Overweight doesn't sell records. Beauty does - in the form of Deena Jones.

We all love beautiful things. And beautiful people. Do good-looking people get better treatment? Sure they do. When I went to a flower shop with a girlfriend a few years ago - she got half a dozen roses from the shop owner for no reason, and I got....nothing. Men buy drinks for pretty girls at bars. Us mere mortals? We gotta buy our own.

But sometimes good looks can backfire. Look what happened to Ms. Segolene Royal in the French election. She received only 48% from the women voters. I'm not saying she lost because of her astonishingly good looks. But her beauty perhaps cost her a few votes. A San Francisco radio station took calls earlier this week to see if/how a political candidate's appearance impacts the way people vote. The confessions were mixed. Some callers admitted that they simply didn't trust too-good-looking politicians, suspecting that they had it easier because of their looks. Others said - "Sure, if they're equally smart and competent, I'd vote for the hotter one 'cause I have to watch them on TV for the next few years!"

Men are not immune to this type of scrutiny. A recent New York Times article revealed that "a 5-foot-8 man was just as successful in getting dates as a 6-footer if he made more money — precisely $146,000 a year more. For a 5-foot-2 man, the number was $277,000". Ouch.

Fair? No. Reality? Yes.

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