You may have been told ‘It doesn’t matter what you look like on the outside, it is what on the inside that counts.’ Have you ever wondered if this quote really holds true, why then, is the world focused so much on having that hot body or pretty face? Why is the cosmetic industry so huge? The answers to these questions draws parallel to the conclusion of one single question- does appearance really matter for success?
Scale of cosmetic industry
Research and Markets, the world’s largest and most respected market research resource have indicated that the global cosmetic industry was at 460billion USD in 2014 and is projected to reach 675 billion USD by 2020, growing at a rate of 6.4% per annum. In comparison, the global mobile phone industry was only at an estimated of 267billion USD in 2014- that is almost half that of the cosmetic industry.
With the Asia Pacific region obtaining 35% of the global market share, and with its extensive marketing, it is no wonder many teens around us are longing for that fair, smooth skin and the latest hairstyle. It is widely known that countless of students and even adults in South Korea even undergo plastic surgery in a bid fix that slighted crooked nose or even enlargement of eyes, all in the name of “beauty”. Is such focus on appearance really warranted?
Does Appearance Really Matter?
Being attracted by something deemed as beautiful has always been ingrained in us, stories of how beauty was a competitive sport in Greece in the 8th and 7th century BC. In times as recent as the twentieth century, some artists and architects have proportioned their works to approximate the golden ratio, a famous mathematical ratio, believing it to give a more aesthetically pleasing look. Many objects we find today, from Apple iPod to the bento box plate have been said to make use of this golden ratio, in a bid to improve sales.
Societal pressure and affirmation on one’s physical appearance can have a drastic effect on one’s level of confidence and self-esteem. In fact, confidence early in life can mean an upward mobility at work. As we all know, confidence is very much key to job interviews and networking. According to a study by the University of Melbourne, confident children in primary and secondary school go on to earn higher wages and were promoted more quickly.
Physical appearance is not the single factor that forms impressions. It may be a key to forming first impressions but the way you interact with others has a deeper impact on the impressions formed on you. Your body language and eye contact and the content of interactions play a deeper impact. In the workplace, these form the basis of impressions on job interviewers. However, on top of that, they also look for what skills you have to bring to the table and if you are a right fit for the role and culture of the company. Hence, physical appearance do not matter as much as the cosmetic industry portray it does.
Boosting your attractiveness
In conclusion, your appearance does matter and is a factor, but not the most important factor of impressions formed on you. Fortunately, even if you are below average looking, you can take some actions to boost your level of attractiveness instead of going under the knife.
Working out can not only leave you feeling great about yourself due to the lean and fit look, but also because of the endorphins produced which can instantly boost your level of confidence. Working on your other soft skills like body language and eye contact can also help you with your interactions with other people. More importantly, staying well-groomed by looking neat and tidy and choosing the right clothing to wear are actions where you can control how you appear to others.
Of course, in the end, ‘Beauty is in the eye of the beholder’- you should not change yourself for the sake of others but for yourself and it is important to be in control of such change to avoid the disastrous situations of eating disorders and plastic surgery.