I vividly remember when I was in the interviewing panel for selection of office assistants, there was among the candidates one exceptionally beautiful girl who had excellent academic credentials and equally good extra curricular achievements. A keen participant in the debates conducted by local associations, she had represented her college in many inter collegiate sports activities. She did particularly well with confidence in the interview with a pleasing smile writ on her face and was head and shoulders above the rest of candidates. Yet when we finalized the list for selection, the head of the selection committee who happened to be the HR head of the organization put his foot down against her selection. I was honestly thinking that subject to other things being equal, beauty tilted the scale in favour of the fortunate few endowed with it. Dumbfounded I asked him what could be the valid reason for his strange stand. He replied”Partha, remember we are not in the panel for beauty contest. I do not want any distraction in the office as men would stop working and keep endeavouring to catch her attention all the time. The atmosphere in office would not be conducive to work.” Aghast I replied” Forget the beauty part, she gets herself selected on the basis of her other attainments. Are we not supposed to select the best among the candidates? Beauty is god’s gift and how can we consider it a negative point?” He overruled me and the meek rest of the panel kept silent. The girl, a daughter of a poor school teacher, lost out for no fault of hers.
This episode set me thinking whether really beautiful women are at a disadvantage in the society. No, not at all as in most of the fields, it is considered an asset. The matrimonial columns emphasize particularly about good looks being a basic requirement. Attractive look is certainly a passport for filmy world or modeling or ramp shows. Even in politics beauty does add to the charisma of the personality. Do beautiful politicians have better chance of getting elected? Yes, one study indicated that “evaluations of beauty explain success in real elections better than evaluations of competence, intelligence, likability, or trustworthiness. The beauty premium is larger for female candidates” I think beauty seems to matter more where “the electorates are poor and illiterate and where the average age is low”. How else can you explain an actress winning hands down in a far away Hindi heartland hailing as she is from a distant Southern state? I would think that besides her other political and intellectual accomplishments her attractive face fetches a political leader sizable votes from the rural womenfolk very much like a matinee idol won with his handsome figure. Hillary Clinton given her grace and charm should have won convincingly to become the President of US but for charisma of Obama.
Somehow people tend to associate finer characteristics with good looking persons. Unless a plain looking individual is endowed with overwhelmingly other successful attributes like education, intelligence, riches, and incredible achievements in chosen fields, she/he loses out to the better looking. Could this be the reason for our poltical parties rooting for charming actresses to bolster their chances where the opponents are strong? They hardly choose a plain looking Jane. Even in the advertisement world or in the visual media you rarely come across girls with next-door-neighbour look championing products in the myriad advertisements we see on the tube. They have to be necessarily fetchingly attractive and sexy to boot to get the attention of the onlookers riveted on the screen. Even in the field of sports a Sania Mirza or Anna Kournikova has a greater following than what their games would justify. Fans may admire the prowess and talent of a Serena or Martina but they go crazy and start crooning when they see a tall and gorgeous Sharapova hitting an ace.
True, attractive women get unwelcome attention and embarrassing stares wherever they go. But these women are aware of their acting like magnets to draw men around them but wise enough to keep them at safe distance. There is the mistaken notion that beautiful women are dumb dolls, dull and egoistic. But I have known enough friends who are beautiful women and brainy too. These days they are worldly wise and know their onions. Sadly only a few unlike my HR honcho can see their accomplishments past their beautiful looks. Beauty one must remember is much more than a pleasing appearance. When they open their mouth the beauty should be complemented with intelligent talk. Otherwise the fool in the woman shows up quickly. Yes a good look makes people listen and if competent she can push her way through easily. In fact it is an asset that she can cleverly use to manipulate the admiring men to get things done her way. Is it not said that the whisper of a beautiful woman can be heard further than the loudest call of duty.
But then beauty is in beholder’s eyes and there are strangely a tiny few who consider an Angelina Jolie or an Aishwarya plain looking and skinny. Beauty again has nothing to do with age or social status. You can if you are lucky see in the fields of the rural hamlets unsurpassed beauties and chiseled perfections with nothing artificial about them. They may lack the formal education but can be simple, warm hearted with no guiles and unspoilt by the lures of the modern metros. Women endowed with such a beauty where accompanied with intelligence and competence are sure winners whatever calling they choose.