Wednesday, March 30, 2005


Unlovely and unloved?

There's no underestimating the power of a pretty face -- or of a homely one.

Brian Bergman's survey reveals the prettier the face the better one is treated even from one's parents. Read on( I copied parts because the link still won't work)

Your mother was right. Sometimes life just isn't fair. For years, studies have confirmed that attractive people get all the breaks. Teachers pay more attention to their good-looking charges, as do doctors and nurses. Juries are more apt to acquit, and voters are more likely to elect, the handsome and the beautiful. And employers? They're the biggest suckers of all, lavishing jobs, promotions and higher salaries on those who are easy on the eye. As if all that quality of life weren't enough, attractive people also have a leg-up in terms of quantity. One recent research project concluded that, on average, good-looking men will live seven years longer than the rest of us, while their female counterparts will endure an additional three years.

But surely there are limits to this phenomenon, especially when it comes to the unique bond between parent and child? If there are faces only a mother can love, at least we can count on that, right?

Not necessarily. At a recent demographics conference in Edmonton, sociologist Andrew Harrell outlined a 2003 observational study -- one of several he's conducted over the past 15 years -- on children and shopping-cart safety during excursions to buy groceries. The issue is a serious one, as upwards of 30,000 children are badly injured each year in North America due to falls from shopping carts or tip-overs. Which makes the results of Harrell's latest survey all the more disturbing. To wit: good-looking children are six times more likely to be buckled into shopping cart seats than kids who are, well, not as pleasant to behold.

As a father of five, ages eight to 35, and grandfather to three more, Harrell -- who turns 60 on April 1 and is executive director of the University of Alberta's population research laboratory -- admits to some discomfort with his own findings. "I would have hoped for more from the human condition," he says. "To think a child's looks might dictate the care a parent gives that child is appalling."

Appalling, yes. But not entirely surprising. After all, Harrell's decision to test whether the attractiveness of a child might influence parental vigilance was no idle whim. He's well acquainted with a body of research that shows the impulse to judge others on the basis of physical appearance begins shortly after birth -- and suggests even parents can fall prey to the scourge of lookism when dealing with their own children

The jury is still out on whether our preference for the attractive is inherent or learned. That two- to six-month-old children already appear to be discriminating suggests a genetic link. But there's no doubt children also learn a great deal by observing how their elders treat the handsome and the homely. In one study cited by Harrell, adults watched videotapes showing children of varying levels of beauty kicking a dog. "With attractive children, viewers conclude they were either provoked by the dog or it was accidental," says Harrell. "With the less attractive ones, it's seen as an intentional and malicious act."

Scott Wooding, a child psychologist and family therapist based in the Calgary area, says Harrell's findings have the ring of truth. "As a society, we really don't want to talk about this because it's so unfair," says Wooding, who has authored several books on parenting. "But parents will at times treat their children differently, based on looks." Wooding stresses that such discrimination is unintentional. "Parents absolutely believe they are treating their children exactly the same," he says. "But it isn't always so."

Valid or not, Harrell's study is already prompting some parents to do a bit of soul-searching. Gary Perkins is a Calgary-based energy lawyer and father of two -- let the record state, very attractive -- children, ages 6 and 9. "It's interesting information and I wouldn't slough it off," says Perkins. "But if it's true, it really bothers me. Not because other people do it, but because I might do so. I would hope not, but if it's subconscious, then who knows? I'm going to be thinking about it."

Blogger acting up again so the link did not go through.Can't get back to the dashboard so I will have to do over the post when it lets me on.
Excuses excuses....:) This blogger thing is getting really ridiculous now. Don't they realize that some of us are addicted to blogging....Must have my daily fix....
I agree with the survey. It is the truth that a certain some X factor can give you an edge. We are all human. And everything around human is somewhat flawed. This is another

now how did they generally determine beauty though because in many cases whats beautiful to one person might not be as beautiful to another. also what racial groups were this study carried on, was it one homogeneous group or a mixture. just things i'd like to know.
Jdid,They used children of different races to choose people they think are beautiful.I think they gave them cards to choose from.I will post it but the foolish link still acting up
Agree with JDid that beauty varies from one person to the next...but the study may well have some worth. Dr. D.
Well wait a minute, I'm extremely good looking and I don't get ANY breaks. Um...oops...maybe I've misjudged myself. Ouch, this hurts.
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