Tuesday, March 20, 2007
Survival of the prettiest
“Survival of the Prettiest” is an interesting book which takes an evolutionary view and searches for what it is in nature that makes us susceptible to beauty and what qualities people possess that evoke these responses.
Many critics point a finger at the media for glorifying beauty, for the world's obsession with beauty.
In “Survival of the Prettiest: The Science of Beauty”, Dr. Nancy Etcoff attempts to portray an entirely new idea. She believes that appreciating beauty is not learned, but rather is a biological adaptation.
There is much more to beauty than the age-old cliché “beauty is in the eye of the beholder.” Different cultures view beauty or the objects of beauty in different perspectives.
Beauty is a subjective experience, beauty being the quality present in a thing or person that gives intense pleasure or deep satisfaction to the mind. Many in the English speaking world would remember the classic fairy tale of the sleeping beauty.
We equate beauty with what is desirable and good, the opposite of this being in ugly things that provoke our dispeasure. Therefore, we are attracted to appreciate beauty and Etcoff's book seems to suggest that this quality is imbedded in our genes.
Beauty has inspired humans throughout history, but it is in the recent history that the quest for the outer beauty has gained more recognition and fame over and above the important values of decency and morality.
Huge industries of different types of fashion and plastic surgery have emerged to cater for people who want beautify their pysical body and appearance. The look of youth and vitality commands a very high premium, leading some people to develop eating disorders due to their craving to look thin.
Instead of looking only to the outer beauty, we should look to the beauty of the inner person. When we identify only the external beauty, we discriminate people on the basis of their outer appearance. It will then become the survival of the sexiest.