Forum Student Responses PSYC 515
Perceptions and Judgements
Respond to the 3 perspective below with a minimum of 250 words for each response. MUST list references used.
Response 1 (Kenneth): The unattainable goal of false beauty and eternal youth! It’s everywhere and in everything. I don’t like it. My oldest child is 4, and she is fantastic, as all kids are! Recently, I was watching her play with some make-up that she had received as a gift (not sure who from). I was asking her why she wanted to wear make-up, trying to gauge her interest in it. Being a very “girly” 4-year old, she informed me that she needed the make-up to be beautiful and be liked by her friends. As a rational parent would be, I was shocked by this honest response. I told her she was already beautiful and she didn’t need make-up to be more appealing. Her Mother and I also filtered out all the makeup videos on YouTube Kids, and we put a stop to the makeup overall. See, I had discovered that my daughter had been suckered into the world’s dominant view that beauty could be bought at your local CVS. When I conduct my daily life, I take notice of those people who are attempting to achieve an outward appearance of perfection. When I was a younger man, I had a severe issue with adult acne. It had taken over my face. I stressed about it and tried everything I could, for years, to clear it up and have clear skin. It just wasn’t in the cards for me. Ultimately my skin cleared up, but that vanity has never left me, and now I am paranoid about acne and getting a zit. Beauty and physical perfection are marketed to ALL of us, ALL around us, every day, in almost everything we do.
If we look at the halo effect (Aronson, 2012), it is easy to go back and identify situations where you may have labeled someone as being ideal, or not, based off their physical appearance. The halo effect is when we apply a generally positive or negative bias to a person based off their physical appearance, and infer what we expect of their future successes (Aronson, 2012). I can tell you I am guilty of this. I have given more credit to the ability to a person who met a higher standard of physical stature than someone who had a lower standard. Sometimes I have been right, and sometimes I have been wrong. As I have matured in life, I have realized that competency and physical appearance have little to no correlation to each other. Socially, we are still being programmed to believe that the two are correlated. What I pray for every day is that I can teach my daughters that they are beautiful and perfect just the way they are and to accept themselves for who they are. As for my impressions of the video we watched and images of the women, the simple answer is yes I am more drawn to the women and find them more appealing when they have all the make-up applied. I understand that the make-up does not define their abilities as individuals, it also does not make them women. The photos on the right are just more appealing to the eye than the images on the left. Yes, this can be a shallow viewpoint, but we as humans tend to be drawn to visual stimuli first, it’s just in our nature. The thing to remember is that because the women on the right appear to be more physically desirable, this does not make them more capable or better human beings.
Aronson, E. (2012). The Social Animal. New York: Worth Publishers.
Response 2 (Bonita): The advantage of the deliberate development of the perception of flawless beauty in our society is that companies make more money by literally selling looks, skin tone, slenderness, petite bodies, hair styles, and even nails to produce income and make a profit from consumers. The fallacy is that none of the consumers resemble the model, aspire to imitate her or him, and have a false perception of body image and the emotional content that it produces. In an article by Suggett (2018), he states that the models’ appeal is the fact that they are “aspiring”, as in famous characters or actors, that their looks have brought them success, material goods, husbands or wives, and a youthful, fast-paced lifestyle that is unrealistic and the average consumer would find virtually impossible to achieve or imitate. So what do we do to assuage our feelings of inadequacy and inferiority? Buy the product the model is promoting, all in the hopes of becoming remotely similar, and becoming one of the “in” crowd. Another advantage is the feeling of confidence and social acceptance one would assume would accompany the image of perfection, or beauty. This, in itself, would appeal to the general public, as an easy outlet to achieve social acceptance. This would be an asset in some circumstances; however it is likely to also have drawbacks. The disadvantage of striving for a perfect look or body image is that, for one thing, for the time and effort put into it, it rarely happens that the perfect look will actually come true. If dieting is a factor, there’s the risk of resulting in an eating disorder, affecting one both mentally and physically. Depression is a factor when one does not appear to resemble the model, and even remotely, suicide risks when one is highly influenced by a model, whose features cannot be replicated, even by buying what they are selling. One aspect of the models that was not mentioned in the video, was that it is highly probable that, at least in advertising, images of the model are photo-shopped, remade, retouched, and generally made over, to resemble what the producers believe to be a marketable resemblance of positivity, social engagement, and affluence to achieve your goals and be well-liked. While this method of advertising may have harmful effects and be unethical, it is not illegal and it is up to the consumer to “vote with their wallet” in denying access to these products (Swinson, 2011).
I would describe most of the women on the left as uninspiring, probably not very popular, having an unexciting life, maybe uneducated, someone’s daughter, aunt, niece, friend or relative, and not having high ambitions or goals. On the contrary, the women on the right appear to be confident, well-poised, ambitious, successful, someone with goals, someone with hopes and high self-esteem, and last, but not least, beautiful. The images on the right and left, are of the same person, yet my perception of each one is different with the addition of make-up and hair styles. I am only referring to their image. It doesn’t mean that the image on the right is happier, more successful, smarter, even more aspiring than her “before” picture, nor does it mean she is “better off”. I think the contrast depicts physical change and any changes in personality, such as outgoing would be temporary. The looks appear to be hard to maintain and perhaps even more so to adjust in your environment.
Suggett, P. (2018). The Impact of Advertising on Body Image. Retrieved from https://www.thebalancecareers.com/the-impact-of-advertising-on-body-image-4151839
Swinson, J. (2011). False Beauty in Advertising and the Pressure to Look ‘Good’. Retrieved from http://www.cnn.com/2011/OPINION/08/08/swinson.airbrushing.ads/index.html
Response 3 (Sylvia): This week’s topic brings up an interesting subject in respect to something we all see and are potentially influenced by on a daily basis particularly if we interact on social media sights. The question was asked what the advantage could be to portray flawless perceptions of beauty to the masses. In short, I believe it is to breed insecurities in the induvial which leads to sales in many industries (makeup, fashion, nutrition/diet supplements, ect.). When we become insecure about our physical appearance as a result of seeing flawless examples of how other look, even if those induvial have been altered (such as photoshop) we are more inclined (broadly speaking) to purchase products which we believe will make us feel better about ourselves and the industries bank on this fact. This issue is further enhanced by the fact the relatively newer addition of social media filters and phone apps which allow you to alter your face, shape, and appearance with more ease then ever (something reserved to celebrities in magazines in previous decades) making the leap to perfection even more of a false projection and nearly impossible live up to in “real life”. The disadvantage to this type of lifestyle is that it gives it’s buyers unrealistic expectations of what can be expected from their products (ie. When images are filtered, altered, or photoshopped) and from a marketing perspective may lead to its buyers feeling as though their product do not live up to their marketing.
In respect to the halo effect and the images provided, I believe this halo could go either way. I believe I have been bombarded by so many images of women with perfectly contoured faces and impeccable makeup that it was refreshing to see the before photos and in many instances, I felt that “before” photo was the more appealing of the two. If I was applying the halo effect to my views I may view the women from group A (before) as being more down to earth and less influenced by the general consensus of what “beautiful” should look like. I may believe she is comfortable in her skin and that she is unphased by external influences and ideal set forth by our society of what is an expectable or desired appearance. From this perspective I may view the women with heavy amounts of makeup (group B) as being more insecure and more heavily