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The Guilfordian

The student news site of Guilford College

The Guilfordian

The student news site of Guilford College

The Guilfordian

The ugly truth: how our looks affect success in society

What defines ugly or pretty?

With so many issues today involving race, gender, sexuality and age, it can be hard to connect with every one of those issues. Some might affect you; others, maybe not.

But everybody can relate to how they view “attractive” versus “unattractive.” It’s something with which we all struggle: our own looks and how we feel about other people’s looks.

People can get passed over for jobs, taken less seriously, even not get as good service at restaurants or bars just because of the way they look. Employers will hire “pretty” people because mass media has told us that’s what we want to see, so it makes it better for business.

Junior Trent Evans says that he has witnessed this advantage first hand.

“When I was in high school, I had a physics class with a guy that I believe had advantages because of the way he looked,” Evans said. “The teacher seemed to care more about him.”

“Ugly” people have clear and ridiculous disadvantages. This can affect anyone, no matter race, gender, sexuality or age. But nobody wants to unite behind this cause, simply because no one wants to call themselves “ugly.” This is because media has told people that it’s not good to be “ugly.”

What shapes our view on attractiveness? Is it purely natural? Or is it a learned behavior? Or could it be a combination of the two?

Comedian Doug Stanhope, who focuses on these issues in his routines, believes it’s a combination.

“Racism, sexism and how we view looks is natural on some levels,” Stanhope said in a phone interview with The Guilfordian. “If I go to a party with every race, gender and age represented I am going gravitate to people that look like me or have something in common with me.

“If I start playing blocks with an 8-year-old, something is f—ed up with me, and I probably should not be around your children.”

Obviously, there are countless things that can shape people’s outlook on beauty or what is supposed to beautiful. Mass media, pop culture and even the way you’re raised can impact your view on looks.

But sexual attraction is natural and kind of unpredictable. I have dated women of different races and appearance, but they all had one thing in common: I was sexually attracted to them.

“I am not going to date someone I am not attracted to,” said sophomore Caitlin Young. “But that does not mean I view them differently as a person.”

“You can’t control who you are attracted to,” said Stanhope. “You can take all of the sensitivity classes you want, but if your d— is not getting hard, then it just ain’t.”

However, the media might convince you that there are “pretty” people and there are “ugly” people.

“I always dismiss that the media tells me what’s pretty,” Stanhope said. “My d— tells me what’s pretty, and I have never found my d— reading Vogue Magazine.”

So embrace how you look, whether media thinks it’s right or not.

Just remember, be attracted to the people you are attracted to. But if you’re not attracted to them, don’t write them off as a person. Your looks have nothing to do with how you perform in society or at your job, and the way you look has no effect on the type of person you are.

Doug Stanhope is performing at The Empty Glass in Charleston, WV on Sept. 19.

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