- Hardcover: 288 pages
- Publisher: AMACOM (January 30, 2008)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0814480543
- ISBN-13: 978-0814480540
- Product Dimensions: 6.2 x 1.2 x 9.2 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds
- Average Customer Review: 13 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,366,688 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Looks: Why They Matter More Than You Ever Imagined Hardcover – January 30, 2008
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From Publishers Weekly
Here is a book whose title says it all. Written by an academic expert on lookism who is also director and founder of the Appearance Phenomenon Institute, this volume is an exhaustive examination of how the handily summarized PA (for personal attractiveness) gets you everywhere, from the better job and the better spouse to the better verdict at your criminal trial. Beginning with early evidence of lookism in history, Patzer analyzes preferential treatment given to pretty people from beautiful babyhood onward. While consumers of women's magazines might not find as much new information as other readers, Patzer refers to dozens of studies, articles and investigation to prove his thesis. Yet Patzer's volume doesn't offer much in the way of solutions, apparently because you've either got it or you don't. While Patzer does criticize the overzealousness of the media, reality television and unethical plastic surgeons, he only devotes one chapter to personal affirmations to help deal with and fight back on image obsession. Although he concludes by proclaiming the reader's newfound awareness of lookism's pervasiveness is a step forward, one can't help seeing the weakness in a conclusion that leaves the reader with little more than a well-argued reminder of our culture's shallow side. (Jan.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
We all know one hard and undeniable truth: Physical beauty comes with tremendous power, and tremendous benefits. Those who possess it are generally luckier in love, more likely to be popular, and more apt to get better grades in school. But very few of us realize just how much looks affect every aspect of our lives. Recent studies document that people blessed with good looks earn about 10% more than their average-looking colleagues. They are also more likely to get hired and promoted at work. What exactly is this “physical attractiveness” phenomenon and how does it affect each and every one of us?
Dr. Gordon L. Patzer has devoted the last 30 years to investigating this unsettling phenomenon for both women and men, and how it touches every part of our lives. In Looks, he reveals not only its impact on romance, but also on family dynamics, performance in school, career, courtroom proceedings, politics and government. Looks is the first book to explore how the power of beauty affects both sexes and how the rise of reality TV shows, cosmetic surgery, and celebrity culture have contributed to our culture’s overall obsession with being beautiful.
Unflinching and topical, Looks uncovers the sometimes ugly truth about beauty and its profound effects on all of our lives.
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The ancients often thought that beauty was a sign of God’s approval and homeliness a sign of disapproval.
Evolutionary biologists explain our preference for attractiveness as part of the battle to pass on more of one’s genes into the succeeding generations. The classic womanly hourglass figure has been found to correlate with female fertility. Men prefer slender, busty women, just as women prefer tall men with lots of dark hair and even beards.
Partly, beauty is an absence of flaws. Some genetic inadequacies are related to one another, absence of visible flaws may signal the absence of significant unseen flaws. In general, humans find beauty in symmetry. Again, symmetry also suggests the absence of some genetic errors. Attractiveness is having features that fall within the typical ranges for humans, suggesting genetic suitability.
Attractive children and adults are treated better, even by their friends and family, than are unattractive children and adults.
“…a multitude of studies shows that [physical attractiveness] is by far the most important factor in evaluating both prospective mates and prospective dates.” Women most notice a man’s height, and men most notice a woman’s weight.
Less attractive, yet prosperous, men often obtain good-looking women as dates or as “trophy wives” to enhance their own reputations.
Some women appreciate the access this grants them to money and connections they would not have otherwise.
A noted marriage counselor maintains that lack of physical attractiveness due to excessive weight gain is a major factor for almost all couples where one partner complains about the appearance of the other.
Hospital nurses give more attention to the more attractive infants. Babies spend more time looking at attractive adult faces then at unattractive ones and will even cry due to the close approach of faces that adults would characterize as ugly.
Children prefer those who are generally physically attractive, and “…most teachers expect better-looking kids to perform better, and they devote more attention to children they think have greater potential.”
Well, at least, we should, ourselves, try harder not to judge others by physical appearance.
"Read it and weep," if you are unattractive, "read it and cheer" if you are good-looking.
Perhaps Shakespeare should have written, "The fault,dear Brutus, is not in our stars, but in our looks."
The Bard did note, "Yond Cassius has a lean and hungry look." It was not a compliment. Caesar was warned.
I didn't need to be convinced of this, but I wanted some proof and data. "Looks" provides ample proof and data, along with true stories from the past and present, quotations and even statistics. For instance, did you know that highly attractive people may earn from 7.5 -15% more than their average looking peers? See page 82! "Looks" is loaded with details like this that will make you re-evaluate everything about your social and economic life -- your job, your friends, your education, even your relationships with parents and siblings.
And lest you think that this is merely a phenomenon of the modern era, Dr. Patzer has some proof that our bias towards the beautiful is not only ancient, but built into our very genetic code.
If you ever need to be convinced to lose some weight, dress for success, get your hair cut, rethink that total-body tattoo project, "Looks" is the book I would highly recommend.
Dr. Patzer also touches on the subject of "lookism" and identifies the few states that have laws that prohibit it.
About the only criticism I have is the end portion that focuses on what you can do to avoid being personally obsessed with the way you look and how others perceive you. While this subject has its place, it seems self-defeating to me to take chapter after chapter to prove how looks influence virtually everything in your life, and then end by telling people they shouldn't be worried about that pesky 5 pounds. Seems to me most of the world is right on worrying about the pesky 5 pounds, if 10 or 20 can influence your love life, employment status, economic security, influence over others and social class so profoundly.
In general, however, this is an eye-opening book about the world, the way it REALLY works, and anyone who takes the time to read it is doing themselves a huge favor. I was grateful to get the unvarnished truth from a social scientist committed to studying this aspect of human relations.
Beauty matters, Visada is the platform we built for beauty. But Gordon wrote the ultimate boot on Beauty, and why it matters. Thanks Gordon!!!