Sunday 2 February 2014

Looks Versus Brains!

In my series of intellectual-sounding blogposts, here's one more. We often come across people who are out of our leagues, well, at least I do. Now, that is almost always based on appearance. How does this notion of superior and inferior looks come into picture in a world where it's all relative? I think I'll take the concept of subcultures to explain these conflicts. We know that every society has a mainstream culture and a set of undercurrent or sub- cultures. These cultures emerge out of deprivation and anomie i.e. normlessness. When the society sets certain goals for individuals that turn out to be unachievable for them, those dejected people turn to form their own values and cultural norms and that results in the genesis of what is called as a "subculture".

Looking at people who prioritise looks over anything else, we can assume that they form a subculture which regards beauty as its primary standard. How does physical beauty turn to be so important for these people. Such people are characterized with extremely careful attitude toward their looks and take extra care to groom and prepare themselves. They look down upon the untidy ones and gossip demeaningly about them. One of the reasons of the emergence of such an extreme attitude can be the lack of intellect and thus, the inability of fulfil the criteria expected by the society which considers academics to be the criteria of prime importance. So, in this case, the geeks and nerds are derogatory terms and hunks and babes gain social approval.

If we reverse the scenario and consider the external beauty-minded ones to be the mainstream culture, then the outcasts would consist of these braniacs who actually are lacking in the department of physical appearance and the ability to groom themselves. This perspective assumes that these people work on their academic skills harder because they need to compensate for the sake of their self worth for their lack in appearance. And since this subculture has to gain approval, it looks condescendingly on those who do not follow its rules. Bimbos and dimwits are some of the condescending terms popularized by this subculture.

Now, by the way of above explanation, it is unclear as to which one is the main or dominant culture of the society as both seem to be overlapping subsets of each other. I'd propose that we do not delve deeper into the question of which one is dominant and for our understanding's sake assume that both are more or less equal in terms of quantity and frequency in the population.

There are also people who have both the brains and looks. For them, there still, is a question of priority. I think, it is these people who can provide us with deeper insights into the psychological underpinnings of the condescendings and admirations involved in either societal norms. Do they have to be critical of 'bimbos' when they're with their fellow nerds? Do they look down upon 'geeks' when they're with hunks? I think they are the perfect chameleons, at least some of them. The others might pick a side and stick with it as diplomacy might not be their cup of tea.

So, which one are you?

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