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The advantages (and disadvantages) of being excessively handsome

The advantages (and disadvantages) of being excessively handsome

May 6, 2021

Beauty is a concept that is always difficult to tackle . Each culture establishes the parameters of what it considers beautiful in each of the areas where beauty can play a role: not only in the world of art, but also in human beings.

Thus, certain facial, bodily and communicative features are associated, according to each culture and historical moment, with a greater beauty. Handsome individuals are those who, by social consensus, are seen as more desirable and physically attractive, and can be the focus of attention and comments much more frequently than other less graceful people.

Related article: "Does the physicist matter when it comes to flirting? 3 reflections on beauty"

Beautiful people: is everything positive?

A priori, it seems that being handsome only has advantages: greater attention, the benefits of the halo effect, and greater possibilities of relating to others, making a good impression. However, several investigations put some nuances and point out some negative aspects that "suffer" people with a beauty above average.


A series of scientific investigations have tried to know what are the advantages and disadvantages of being handsome or pretty . For example, a study published in Sociology Compass that was developed at the University of North Carolina analyzed the social impact of beauty in several historical stages, to later compare them with each other.

They found several surprising results. Beauty was not only an important factor in society in general, but it could predict several phenomena in people considered "very beautiful".

Advantages of being handsome

Of course, being physically attractive has a number of advantages for life. This is where we again refer to the halo effect. Beautiful people are benefited by this cognitive bias, which makes from their positive trait "beautiful", others perceive them as more generous, friendly and trustworthy . From a single positive feature, we tend to generalize the virtues in that same individual, although we do not have the necessary information to reach that hasty conclusion.


In this sense, the beautiful is also perceived socially as a sign of social status . Although it is clearly nonsense, the truth is that we tend to attribute qualities such as kindness or generosity to beautiful people, and to treat them in a more deferential and gentle way.

Although there are no scientific data to support it, there is a hypothesis, very widespread among the legal and judicial world, that says that beautiful people usually receive lighter sentences compared to ugly people , even if the circumstances of the crime could have been very similar.

Benefits caused by cognitive biases

In the same study by Walker and Frevert, other interesting data were reported. Physically attractive college students tended to be seen as more competent and smart than the less graceful.


All this excess of attention, approval and acceptance that beautiful people receive over time has an effect on their own personality. This is also an interesting question to analyze. They are usually individuals with more confidence in themselves , and even have better salaries (statistically speaking), according to one of the authors of the study. The difference in salaries between beautiful people and unattractive people could range between 10 and 20% in favor of the former.

Disadvantages of being handsome

Although we have discovered a few positive aspects of being physically attractive so far, in fact beauty can be an obstacle or a negative factor in other contexts .

Individuals who have suffered bullying, especially when they are sexually motivated, can account for it. This type of sexual harassment in the workplace especially attacks young and attractive women.

An investigation carried out in 1985 found that people usually leave a greater physical distance with beautiful people when they travel on the street . This has two readings: on the one hand it can be considered a kind of symbol of respect, but it can also be understood as a tendency to exclude attractive people. It is as if the handsome and handsome have a kind of upper halo that other people perceive as inaccessible.

In fact, psychologists and programmers of dating websites usually explain thatusers profiles that get more attention and appointments are not those with the most perfect and seductive photos . This could be explained by the principle of inaccessibility that we explained earlier: users with more "normal" photos can benefit from this greater psychological predisposition to want to meet people who seem accessible, even if they are not so beautiful.

Being handsome, a possible obstacle when looking for work

We have all faced at some time a job interview, an essential obstacle to access a good job.

In interviews, beauty can be an obstacle, especially if the interviewer is of our same sex . This could be due to a kind of unconscious protection against sexual competition, since a new worker with superior physical attributes can suppose some kind of unwanted competition. These are attitudes and decisions that operate at an intuitive level, but it is possible that in the business world there are certain reluctance to confer credibility to potential employees with great physical attractiveness.

Several conclusions and reflections on beauty

As we have seen, Beauty is a cultural construct that, whether we like it or not, has a significant impact on our day to day .

The important thing is not obsessed at any time by our physical appearance, we have been more or less graceful by Mother Nature. Knowing these scientific facts about the advantages and disadvantages of being handsome can help us to try to overcome the pitfalls we can suffer both if we are in one side and the other.


The Truth About Being "Attractive" (May 2021).


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