BEAUTY SYNDROME Michael J. Nanko. Ph.D. 1' In this society, we are bombarded awry with books, magazines, televisioncommercials, printed advertisements, movies and beauty contests that instruct us as to what makes for a beautiful person. Billboards and commercialstell us what to wear, how to look and what "beautiful" products to use.We know that people will often go to extremes to do what they can to look more attractive. This ranges from padding breasts to hair removal or hair implantation to wearing life-threatening corsets and to cosmetic surgeriesfor altering most any aspect
the human body. Every major magazine isnow overrun with ads for cosmetic surgery or other alternatives to beauty enhancements.Much research over the past two decades has shown that a person's physical attractiveness mediates or helps to determine many of his or her lifeexperiences. The phrase "What is beautiful is good" was coined
Dion,Berscheid and Walster (7972). They found that the physically attractivewere perceived to be more socially desirable, than persons of lower attractiveness. Physical attractiveness has been found to be associated with a host of favorable qualities, such as popularity, likability, competence, persuasiveness, ability to succeed, and as better adjusted in relationships.The attractive people tend to draw or attract material benefits and rewardsbestowed by society. These rewards may even be monetary in nature, throughbetter paying jobs, higher tips, etc. (Stillman & Winsley, 7980; May, 7980).The physical attractiveness stereotype is pervasive and can be seen across amyriad of social and psychological contexts. In educational settings,teachers have been found to rate attractive students more favorably thanthe less attractive on expected potential and on various academic predictionmeasures (Adams & Cohen, 7976; Clifford, 7975; Ross & Salvia, 1975), and in the area of physical training performance (Martinez, 7987). The attractivehave been found to benefit from their appearance in simulated juridic decision-making studies as recipients of more lenient sentences and verdictsthan the less attractive (Efran, 1974; lzzett & Fishman, 1976).There is also evidence from the mental health arena that the more attractivean individual is perceived to be - - the more emotionally adjusted they areexpected to be. At least a handful of studies have investigated therelationship of physical attractiveness and judged the adjustment of mental patients. Martin, Friedmeyer and Moore (1977) found that patients whowere judged to be good-looking were also judged by hospital staff to be better adjusted and have better prognosis. Attractive persons are sought more often as dating partners and they tend toseek friends, date and marry those who are among the more attractive (Berscheid,Dion, Walster & Walster, 7977; Cavior & Bablett, 1972; Murstein, 7972). In thebusiness context, Dipboye, Fromkin & Wiback (7975) discovered that the physically attractive are chosen more readily for job openings.(Add MN PAresearch here) Moreover, work produced by attractive persons are rated more favorable, competent (Anderson & Nida, 1978; Landy & Sigall, 7974).Other research suggests that an individual may increase his or her own prestige and the impression managed by mere association with a physically attractive person (Geiselman, Haight & Kimata, 1985; Sigall & Landy, 7973;Strane & Watts; 7977).