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In recent years, there is a lot of fuss about looking good. In fact, fashion industry and plastic surgery set new standards of attractiveness, and people blindly follow them, because they are convinced that beauty and success are inextricably linked. It seems that your success and happiness depend on your appearance, as numerous television shows and magazine articles persistently persuade. Beauty is the key to securing a good and well-paid job as well as well as happy family life. We need to get rid of this stereotype, because it results in superficial relationships and indifferent attitude towards other people’s thoughts and feelings. Jessica Bennett underscores that “beauty has more influence that ever – not just over who we work with, but whether we work at all” (1). A few decades ago, nobody would pay close attention to appearance, unless it is a fashion industry, where beauty is a crucial factor. Nowadays, good looks are an asset in the job market, as handsome men earn 5 percent more and pretty women earn 4 percent more than their less attractive counterparts (Bennett, 1). The study, conducted by a group of economists from Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, Israel, vividly demonstrates that beauty substantially impacts the hiring process, leaving professionalism and experience lagging behind (Parker-Pope, 1).
If two candidates with similar resumes apply for the same position, there is a high probability that preference will given to the more attractive one, because attractive people always draw attention. Another study, carried out by the University of British Columbia, explains that people are motivated to pay more attention to beautiful people mainly out of curiosity and romantic interests (Ozsan, 1). It is a pity that beauty is so emphasized and intelligence is openly downplayed. The new reality of the job market states that “it’s better to be average and good-looking than brilliant and unattractive” (Bennett, 1). Therefore, many people are encouraged to invest their time and money in their appearance, resorting to the help of plastic surgeons, beauticians and stylists. The beauty standards get distorted, as the time goes by, and I wonder, when people start giving up the pursuit of never-attainable and ephemeral beauty ideals. Sometimes, the desire to look good is so overwhelming that people go to extremes, experimenting with the form and sizes, trying to outwit Mother Nature.
The love of plastic surgery may be accounted for getting fired, as in the case with Debrahlee Lorenzana, a 33-year-old woman, who worked for Citibank in New York. She got fired because of her “hot looks” (Bennett, 1). An increasing number of women and men would consider having plastic surgery, if it helped them to get promotion and more benefits in the workplace. I believe that stressing beauty over intelligence and skills is a sign of degradation of the American society. Younger generations are likely to be after beauty rather than professionalism in all spheres of life. Superficial knowledge and incompetence will be more palpable in the nearest future, if we continue the quest for attractiveness.
In a highly competitive world, talents and skills should be craved after, combined with persistence and hard work. When thinking and talking about real success, many people tend to overestimate beauty, forgetting the efforts and determination to reach that success. The new beauty ideals penetrate all spheres of life, making people consciously or unconsciously emulate them. People are goaded into believing that in modern world beauty means everything. If you have good looks, then all doors are open to you, even if you lack intelligence. If you have plain appearance and good skills in some particular sphere, you are deemed to lower level positions. However, some people subvert the existing ideals of beauty, directing the employers and colleagues’ attention to their charisma, communicative skills, talents and past experience. There is no use to quest for beauty, as beauty standards change daily, but we should pay more attention to personal development and invest in it, and it will not take long before success knocks on the door.