5 Weird Ways Being Unattractive Changes Your World
If you've been alive for more than five minutes, you know that pretty people have it easier. They have more friends, more romantic partners, they're more confident ... it's the next best thing to being born rich, right? But it turns out your attractiveness level affects way more than whether or not you get to star in the next Thor movie. For example ...
Attractive People Are Often More Politically Conservative
As an extremely liberal, extremely gorgeous man, my gast was downright flabbered when I learned that, according to this research, attractive people are more likely to lean toward being conservative. Now, you might say, "Well, this obviously not true, as most conservative political pundits look like someone sculpted a grandfather entirely out of farts," but I have science to back me up.
The research looked at two particular studies, one taken over a few years in the mid 1970s, with the other surveying a group of participants from 1957 all the way to 2011. Both studies asked the participants to evaluate people based on appearance and physical characteristics, and though not all liberal people are unattractive, just as the Republican party isn't a parade of Patrick Swayzes, the studies did show that: 1) When we look at attractive people, we tend to unconsciously associate other positive traits with them, and 2) attractive people tend to have to jump through fewer hoops when it comes to getting their way.
So while attractiveness, as a researcher said, only "gives a person a small push in the conservative direction," the idea that no one really has privilege and everyone gets the same opportunities in life is kind of the conservative bread and butter. Well, attractive people are, to some degree, less likely to feel the sting of inequality. It's not clear why anyone needs welfare when people are constantly buying you drinks.
It's like if you'd never been on a bus in your life, and then someone came up to you and said, "Please support my initiative to make people stop pissing on the bus." You have no frame of reference for these urine swamp buses, so you'd probably refuse, even though you definitely wouldn't like it if you actually trudged onto one of them.
Ugly People Are More Likely to Be Criminals
Remember Jeremy Meeks? In 2014, Meeks became a meme when his mugshot moistened underwear around the globe. He was convicted on grand theft and firearms charges, but no one cared about that, and after he got out of prison, Meeks literally became a model. And while not all criminals are hideous monsters, the internet shit itself when one turned out to have symmetrical cheekbones. This proved one thing: We expect criminals to be ugly.
And research, the savvy little scamp that it is, backs that up. Two economists studied data on 15,000 high school students from their teens into early adulthood, and found that those ranked less attractive were consistently more likely to end up as criminals than those ranked as having average looks. Those with average looks were more likely than those considered very attractive. The researchers speculated that since being unattractive makes you less likely to get hired for a job (and even if you do get hired, you're likely to earn less money), you're kind of being nudged toward a life of crime.
As a secondary kick in the pants for the facially challenged, there's also research that shows the less attractive you are, the more likely you are to face stiffer punishments for your crimes. As a society, we really put a lot of effort into making ugly people regret their appearance, both consciously and unconsciously.
Related: Why Your City Looks Ugly AF
People Make Weird Assumptions About The Intelligence Of Ugly People
According to most of pop culture, scientists are people with huge glasses, greasy hair, and unfashionable faces. You know, nerds. It's a trope a lot of people assume is true in the real world. That's why when a hot lady plays a scientist in a movie, people are quick to point out how "unrealistic" it is. Plus, look at real-life geniuses like Alfred "My hair looks like my skull is exploding" Einstein and Isaac "Sorry, my face just looks like this" Newton. Those were some fucky-looking dudes.
Researchers even did an experiment wherein they showed people photos of actual scientists and asked them to predict the competence of each. Subjects assumed the hotter scientists were worse at their jobs, I guess based on the assumption that they banged their way to the top of the astrophysics department. All of this is despite the fact that in reality, attractive people tend to be more intelligent.
In fact, teachers will actually put less effort into teaching kids they don't think have attractive qualities. We don't mean they find your kid attractive in a creepy way; just that if your kid has features that are generally considered unappealing, their teachers crank up not giving a shit to higher levels.
The best guess as to how all of this works is that the very ugliest among us have the highest variance in smarts -- they represent both the most and least intelligent. So if you see a guy in a lab coat with Einstein hair, you'll assume he's the most brilliant mind in the room. But run into that same person in the park, and you'll assume they're about to ask you for spare change. And to complicate things even further ...
Really, Really Ugly People Tend To Make More Money
As I mentioned earlier, and as you already know from your own life, attractive people on average tend to be more successful, for a bunch of different reasons. Yet extremely unattractive people actually make the most money of everyone.
The study here analyzed data for 20,000 Americans from when they were 16 until the age of 29, during which time they were interviewed on several occasions as well as ranked on physical appearance. For the most part, the attractive people earned more than the average-looking people, as you'd expect. But the really unattractive people -- the ones who incite the townsfolk to storm their castles -- those people actually earned more than even the attractive ones.
One theory for why this is holds that when taking other factors into consideration, like openness to experience, very ugly people have an advantage. Attractive people are generally more extroverted and open to new things, which means they tend to try a lot of different stuff in life. The very unattractive rank low on openness, which could mean they're devoting all of their time to one single pursuit and excluding everything else.
Or put more simply, this is the scientists' way of saying: "They were studying while everyone else was making friends and having sex."
Ugly Animals Get Studied Less Often
What, you thought it was only humans who suffered under this beauty-based caste system?
People who say they love animals usually love puppies and dugongs and whatnot -- stuff that looks cute, or at least friendly. But what happens to those animals that look like someone glued ears to a prolapsed asshole and put it in a tree, like the aye aye? Or the tooth-filled scrotum known as the naked mole rat? Those animals get screwed, in the most scientific of ways.
Ugly animals get the same treatment as ugly people: They're ignored and generally unloved. In terms of animal research and conservation, if you're not huge, ferocious, or cute as a button, you can go fuck a boot for all anyone cares. Even if the animal is endangered, if it has nothing going for it in a clickbaity sort of way, then you may as well kiss it goodbye. No one is making a video compilation of "adorable mussels reunited with their owners."
Australia, which straddles the fence between being overrun with adorable koalas and being overrun with terrifyingly gross everything else, is a great microcosm of this in action. Cute animals get the funding, ugly ones get bent. It's all about pandering to your audience, and if people need to support conservation efforts financially, they want to know their money is going toward saving adorable things.
That's right, animals: Natural selection isn't just about looking attractive to other members of your own species. It's about whether or not we want to nuzzle you.
Trying to kick the unattractiveness? Try starting with using a mirror.
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