From a very young age children are convinced that beautiful is somehow better than ugly. Whether it’s a beautiful face, beautiful object, beautiful music and so on… Children see in cartoons and in stories that the ‘bad guys’ are always pictured as these deformed, ugly creatures with low voices, and creepy music surrounding them. So it’s no wonder that from the start of our lives we make assumptions on attraction. I don’t necessarily mean romantic or sexual attraction, but even attraction to people who are for example disabled. There is a horrible social stigma resulting from these assumptions we have that perhaps disabled people are somehow different. A great example of this is the case of Joseph Merrick (1862-1890) who suffered an incredible amount of bullying and prejudice based simply on his appearance. He was a laughing stock for all his life. People then didn’t realise what psychological damage Joseph was suffering as a result. Fortunately, this has now changed and we don’t portray disabled people badly.

There are case studies which show that babies are attracted more to pretty faces.

Some case studies show that teachers tend to blame the unattractive children for misbehaviour. Now, this doesn’t mean that they are the ones to blame, yet the stereotype  still exists.

People have a tendency to think that attractive children will become more successful in adult life, and will do better at school.

Attractive people tend to get better jobs. Does their attractiveness prove they are smarter? Of course it doesn’t. “When someone is viewed as attractive, they are often assumed to have a number of positive social traits and greater intelligence,” say Carl Senior and Michael J.R. Butler.  “This is known as the ‘halo effect’ and it has previously been shown to affect the outcome of job interviews.” – A new study published in Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences (

As Swami explained (in the Psychologist magazine) appearance doesn’t always matter. I strongly believe that appearance is just a layer of skin, well-structured bones and not much else. Character, emotion, intelligence, humour – that’s what matters to me. Now, I would be a cynic if I said that appearance didn’t matter at all. Physical appearance is ‘the thing’ that attracts us to potential partners in the first place. We don’t fall for character we fall for looks first. Character, intelligence, humour and so on are those factors which determine whether we wish to develop a relationship with a particular individual. Sexual tension, ‘chemistry’ and the liking of the physical appearance are very important in a relationship in fact. Without it a relationship between two people is just friendship. It is the physical attraction that determines if a sexual relationship is going to happen.

Men and women find different characteristics attractive –  study by Sprecher, Sullivan and Hatfield in 1994. Men tend to be more interested in physical features. Women, on the other hand, think that having a good job is important. They also value kindness, dependability, fondness for children.