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Beauty and success...

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Old 08-29-2009, 09:52 AM   #1
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Default Beauty and success...

So, this posting is just a bit of musing and a bit long, but I'm very interested in the reaction of other people who might understand how I'm feeling.

I just started law school two weeks ago (Finally! Yay!). I have never been afraid of the academic part of it, and have actually begun to increase in confidence in that area as it appears I'm understanding the material better than most of my classmates.

But it is really intimidating how beautiful most of the women in the school seem to be. And I'm not just talking students (though it's very true for them), I'm talking faculty as well. If you look at the men, there's far more variety - short, fat, bald, etc. But of my three female professors, I believe the average weight is about 120, and they are women in their forties and fifties. Our speakers at orientation followed the same pattern. We heard from many very successful attorneys and judges. If they were men, their looks were varied. If they were women, they were tiny and very attractive.

Dont' get me wrong, though. These women are extremely intelligent and appear to have earned their success. So, I've been mulling the question. In order for them to have the opportunites they've had, was beauty a requirement? Or did they understand that beauty is such a priority that they invested substantial effort into meeting that standard? Or is it just a coincidence and this tiny pool of people is not representative of successful people in general?
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Old 08-29-2009, 10:14 AM   #2
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That's very interesting. I think all of your theories are possible. Perhaps it's one of those things that goes together--they're obviously very driven, probably perfectionists--so they're perfectionists in every area of their lives. I'd imagine though that it's just a coincidence.

I can imagine that it would be intimidating, but I suspect that once you get to know the women, they'll seem more approachable and more human. Good luck in law school, getting in is a huge achivement all by itself!
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Old 08-29-2009, 10:16 AM   #3
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My guesses (and they are only guesses)
1. Women that are in the spotlight, are in front of people as a part of their job - are often more appearance conscious than the average person. Thus, these women probably DO make their appearance a priority.
2. Women that succeed in professional careers often have the skillsets/personalities that help them maintain their appearance/health. They are likely very dedicated, focused, committed, organized, action and goal-oriented individuals. All traits that would serve them well when it comes to weight-loss, exercise, etc.

Thus, in my opinion, there probably is a correlation. I know in my school district, I work at Central Office. Of ALL of the folk in my building, only two are not a "normal" weight. Yet, in my community, over 50 percent of the population is overweight/obese. Now, did they intentionally hire thin people? No. They hired me, and I've never seen any type of weight bias in our district's hiring practices. We have several principals and teachers and support staff that were hired at an unhealthy weight. I just think that the type of people we hire for Central Office positions fit the scenario I outlined above.
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Old 08-29-2009, 10:16 AM   #4
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Congratulations on starting law school. My daughter's BF just did so last week and he was telling us all about it. It sounded so interesting, informative and wonderfully stimulating. Best of luck to you.

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In order for them to have the opportunites they've had, was beauty a requirement? Or did they understand that beauty is such a priority that they invested substantial effort into meeting that standard? Or is it just a coincidence and this tiny pool of people is not representative of successful people in general?
I was actually thinking of another possible reason . Law is a fairly demanding profession. I think you need to be a pretty determined, motivated, responsible, disciplined person to be successful. And there you have it. Perhaps those qualities spill over into their health and well being.

Of course there are many successful business people with those same qualities who are overweight. There are many who are successful in SO many areas of their life, but unfortunately fall short in the weight department.
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Old 08-29-2009, 10:27 AM   #5
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In sync, yet again with Robin.
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Old 08-29-2009, 10:33 AM   #6
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Hi.

I think I know what you are talking about.

I've begun a PhD program in the last two weeks and so many of the students and faculty were beautiful that I was actually suprised until I actually began interacting with them up close. I don't know how it is for lawyers, but I know that beauty isn't a requirement for success in science. Instead you have to be competent, creative and driven. You also have to be able to project that image to everyone around you.

As much as it pains me to admit, I think the best way to project that image is first of all be confident, then the next most important thing is to be healthy (and by that I mean exercising everyday and eating well on a regular basis). When you are confident, at a healthy weight, wear clothing that fits, your hair is done and your features look fresh, I think you look a thousand times more beautiful and successful then you did before. Then the people around you will respond to that projected image and listen to what you have to say. Which to me is highly indicitive of success.

Not to mention that if you were to put a natuarally beautiful woman may that looked a mess next to a plain woman that was at a healthy weight, confident, and well put together, and ask a question I'll bet that everytime the well put together but plain woman would be listened to over the beautiful woman. And if asked I bet woman 2 would be considered the more beautiful of the two.

So...

Quote:
Or did they understand that beauty is such a priority that they invested substantial effort into meeting that standard?
I think that if you were to replace beauty in the question with healthy competence, I would say yes. Every beautiful, successful woman recognized that they could do better in their life if they put effort into looking and feeling good. I think though that the term beauty is misleading and carries a number of connotations that sometimes aren't there.

I don't know, I've rambled on for a while and I'm not sure if this is even what you were getting at so I'll leave things here.

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Old 08-29-2009, 10:35 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CountingDown View Post
In sync, yet again with Robin.
Kinda cool!

Often I'll go to post something and then see that you've posted, read that post - and realize there's no longer a reason for me to post, CountingDown's already said what I was going to.

No chance we're long lost sister's or something, right?

Okay. Sorry to veer off topic........ Thread can resume now.
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Old 08-29-2009, 10:36 AM   #8
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Very interesting. And thanks for the congratulations. It is very exciting to be attending!

Two thoughts occur to me based on the responses.

1 - I am highly driven, perfectionist, dedicated, focused, committed, etc. I don't believe that I am the only overweight person in the world who is all those things. And I am one of the small percentage of students that received a full-tuition scholarship, so I compete well with these tiny, beatiful women in my class (who, incidentally, are very sweet and approachable). Yet, I'm overweight. Very overweight.

2 - Why the discrepency between the men and the women? The men are equally successful. Why is it seemingly acceptable for them to be overweight, bald, etc.?
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Old 08-29-2009, 10:46 AM   #9
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I agree with Robin. Laurie, you probably fall within the realm of RR's last paragraph.
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Old 08-29-2009, 10:49 AM   #10
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In a social study preformed (I was a Sociology major...bare with me) when presented with two people and asked to choose the more "educated" or "sucessful" based on nothing but their first impression, people pretty much always chose the more "attractive" person. Sociologists doing the experiement theorized that the persons looks could give them social boosts in society and here's why:
Its called self-fufilling prophecy.... As young attractive children there would be more attention paid to them teachers, counselors, peers, even parents. This extra attention would, of course be postive. They child would recieve extra help with studies or other activities and thus increase their preformance in these areas. The adults would then praise their abilities and achievments and the child would internalize this, thus believing themselves to be smart, gifted, driven, etc. and therefor would become attractive, smart, driven, gifted adults. The same is true for the opposite... a influential adult in the life of a different child telling them they are "bad" or "dumb" will, generally, result in a child internalzing that view of themselves and match their behaviors to what society views bad or dumb kids to do. This has become a HUGE movement in the rehabilitation and functioning of our juvinel justice system. But, again, these are just theories.
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Old 08-29-2009, 10:51 AM   #11
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Lauriedawn,

There is a well accepted theory that most men preferring women to be fit and healthy looking is primal. Supposedly, the gist of it is that men unknowingly "look" for women that could bear the strongest, healthiest offspring.

Likewise, the same theory predicts women look for men that are able to gather and provide for offspring.

If the theories are correct, this could explain the difference as to what is considered acceptable. I can definitely say in my own immediate world, I know many very nice looking women with less than attractive hubbies. But in almost every case, the man is making a nice salary and providing well. Personally, I see nothing wrong with it.
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Old 08-29-2009, 10:53 AM   #12
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Quote:
1 - I am highly driven, perfectionist, dedicated, focused, committed, etc. I don't believe that I am the only overweight person in the world who is all those things. And I am one of the small percentage of students that received a full-tuition scholarship, so I compete well with these tiny, beatiful women in my class (who, incidentally, are very sweet and approachable). Yet, I'm overweight. Very overweight.
Yes, I think I alluded to this. There are many driven, focused, etc. women who happen to be overweight.

Oh and a scholarship. Congratulations once again! My daughters' BF is also going on a full scholarship.

Quote:
Why the discrepency between the men and the women? The men are equally successful. Why is it seemingly acceptable for them to be overweight, bald, etc.?
Well they really can't help but be bald, can they? Not too much they can do about that, but I'm sure some men HAVE had weaves and the such to help advance themselves. If even in their own minds.

I wonder if it's that men don't feel that pressure to be "slim & beautiful". It's just more *accepted* for a man to be overweight. It's not as much a *reflection* on their abilities.
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Old 08-29-2009, 10:58 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LaurieDawn View Post
Very interesting. And thanks for the congratulations. It is very exciting to be attending!

Two thoughts occur to me based on the responses.

1 - I am highly driven, perfectionist, dedicated, focused, committed, etc. I don't believe that I am the only overweight person in the world who is all those things. And I am one of the small percentage of students that received a full-tuition scholarship, so I compete well with these tiny, beatiful women in my class (who, incidentally, are very sweet and approachable). Yet, I'm overweight. Very overweight.

2 - Why the discrepency between the men and the women? The men are equally successful. Why is it seemingly acceptable for them to be overweight, bald, etc.?
1. You are so right. You have committed and focused your skills to other areas of your life, and not to weight loss/maintenance. I absolutely believe that you will be successful losing weight if you use the skills that you have to reach your goals.

I can say this, because I have been there. My weight was the ONLY area of my life where I "let it slide". I did NOT use my skills/resources. Once I changed that focus - made my health and fitness a priority, there was no going back. Of course I lost the weight and I am successfully maintaining.

Thus, it is not only possessing those skills, it is also a matter of applying them, to reach the goal.

You would not be where you are today, academically - if you did not devote your skills/time/resources to your goals. Weight loss and health maintenance are exactly the same.

2. Guys don't put the same pressure on themselves to meet a societal standard. They are more likely to do what you and I (and many others) have done - focus their efforts on OTHER areas of their life and not make health and fitness and appearance a priority.

And, while things have changed in recent years - society doesn't send the same message to them. Count the number of women's magazines vs. men's that hawk a particular mindset about appearance/health/fitness.

From a societal perspective, there is still a double standard.

But beyond that, I believe that many women do feel the pressure to look their best. I believe that we inflict this upon ourselves. I rebelled against that, probably to my detriment for many years. I honestly did not care what society said I should look like. It isn't something I valued highly or felt was worth spending a lot of time or effort on. At least that is what I told myself. Was I being totally honest with myself? I don't know.

I really didn't focus on my weight until my health and quality of life started to be affected. It was only then that I knew I needed to make a change. It was not for appearance reasons. At least, mostly not
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Old 08-29-2009, 11:03 AM   #14
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Interesting. I worked in management consulting for a while and one of my male colleagues made a similiar remark that all the women were beautiful while most, but not all, of the guys were pretty geeky. Everyone had similiar intelligence and educational backgrounds.

My theory is that beautiful or attractive women have more self confidence to go into male dominated fields.
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Old 08-29-2009, 11:12 AM   #15
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Very insightful. Thanks for all of the wonderful, thought-provoking comments.

By the way, law school so far has been very helpful for my weight loss efforts. The fact that my kids are in school and I now have a window of time where I can work out, the wonderful work-out facility the school makes available to its students, and no longer working a full-time and part-time job has all made it possible for me to exercise regularly without as much challenge. I also don't want to lose an available minute of study/work-out time, so I am doing a good job of preparing and bringing my (healthy) meals.

I have decided to just let it go. Maybe it is sexism (for evolutionary reasons or societal pressure or whatever) that - at least from my limited perception - women in my newfound profession are supposed to have their weight under control. Regardless, I have decided to simply use it as motivation and let the rest of it go. At least for now. Whatever works, right?
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