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Colfax was an enthusiastic Beta, having visited no less than 12 Beta chapters during his retirement. He even cut his vacation short and traveled miles to attend the General Convention in Chicago. He could disagree without being disagreeable, and stand on principle no matter the intensity of the storm. To that end, like Lincoln, he was one for the ages. The 14th Amendment is widely considered by legal scholars as one of the most consequential to this day, as it includes the Due Process Clause, Equal Protection Clause, Citizenship Clause and Privileges or Immunities Clause. Send the story to beta beta.

Olympic Team head coach. Home is where the heart is. Available in various garment styles. When Beta Theta Pi was established in , brothers were forced to meet secretly as the topics our members hoped to discuss and debate were thought too inappropriate by faculty and our operations deemed too mysterious. By joining, the earliest Betas faced the threat of expulsion.

Blaming alcohol abuse and hazing may be natural, but that view may be short-sighted. One need look no further than the Greek and religious philosophies that played such a critical role in our founding to identify that the problems stem from the immoral, shiftless and self-gratifying shortcomings inherent in us all. Since the Men of Principle initiative was launched in , the Fraternity has closed some of its chapters and colonies. Yes, a few of these decisions were made because of declining membership or failure to launch in a difficult campus environment, but the vast majority have stemmed from deep-rooted cultures of risk.

And while fraternities continue to exist facing near-constant scrutiny from the public, the reasons for such backlash are more serious, and therefore more justified, than ever before. A brotherhood, a house, parties, sports, philanthropy, service, academics. What are often its priorities? Probably not service. Truth be told, as undergraduates many Betas author included thanked their lucky stars for brothers whose amassed service hours elevated the chapter average. Beta Theta Pi is home to a number of the most coveted chapter facilities in North America.

But do custom basketball courts and multi-screen media rooms help us become the best fraternity on campus? What does a chapter gain by spending frivolously to have well-known bands perform at their parties? Extravagant formals spent in the mountains, hand-stitched intramural jerseys, the list goes on. Critically analyzing a chapter budget should be simple. Consider how far discretionary funds could go toward serving, educating or financially benefiting others.

Many chapters preach interfraternalism, yet raise dues each year to outspend one another and stay ahead of the pack. They claim to cherish inclusion, but their budgets reflect no effort to bring in members with diverse lifestyles and mindsets. Is a chapter suffering from greed? Take a look at chapter operations or house corporation budgets. The answer may lie in the numbers. Data on giving and volunteerism suggests most members leave their fraternity experience behind them as alumni.

Perhaps some would even admit that they largely severed ties to their organization before they even graduated — that they joined, reaped the benefits and split after their junior year. When fraternity men do not live up to their oaths and obligations, the brotherhood suffers. Lazy members might not clean the chapter house or care to recruit. Apathy results in constant pressure from never having enough members to adequately operate, the impossibility of self-governance after years of low accountability, and a slow and drab death as a few remaining members struggle to keep their chapter on life support.

Attending chapter meetings as a senior is the least a member can do, but working with young Betas as a mentor or as a chapter advisor upon graduation are great ways to battle sloth and develop mature leadership within chapters. President John F. What has been given in return? This sin goes by many names, but all are rooted in laziness. When lust takes over in a fraternity, chapters prioritize socialization with others — namely sororities — over the building of a brotherhood.

Soon, members are joining not to grow and develop alongside a group of like-minded men, but primarily as an easy way of meeting women. Creating deep, challenging and lasting relationships within the membership is at the core of the fraternal experience. Chapters faulter, then, when attendance at sorority mixers is greater than attendance at brotherhood events. This begins with how fraternity men talk about others over private social media channels like GroupMe.

And if inappropriate and derogatory words are accepted or laughed off, room for inappropriate and derogatory actions is sure to follow. Chapters should be diligent with their digital communications and hold one another accountable for inappropriate words or behaviors. Consider proactive educational events for the chapter or Greek community. Promote brotherhood above all else. There, you find post after post glorifying excessive alcohol consumption, outlandish pranks and grotesque acts of hazing.

A young man videoed vomiting in a drunken stupor is rewarded with , views. Practice moderation and deprioritize alcohol personally and as a chapter — starting in the chapter house. McCreary said. But because of the negative publicity and the promulgation of the negative stereotypes, students who are serious about both leadership and their academic pursuits and careers after college are becoming increasingly less likely to join fraternities and sororities. Research by Dr. Gentry McCreary of Dyad Strategies sees this contributing to a problematic trend: Students today are fully aware of stereotypes and problematic aspects of fraternity life, and they are signing up for the experience.

Or, in the case of fraternities, the wars engaged in with one another. In fact, a certain amount of rivalry is healthy in the classroom, on the intramural fields or during campus special events like homecoming. But how do chapters approach interfraternalism the rest of the time? Often with vitriol or indifference. Its rituals are grounded in the same goal — making its members better men.

Therefore, Greek organizations should desire opportunities for collaboration and expect mutual accountability when challenges arise. For colonies, wrath often surfaces as internal politics that leave membership divided and lacking the ability to operate and grow in harmony. In the cycle of hazing, this may result in verbal abuse or humiliation.

Not merely hearing them, but understanding them. Building an active partnership within the interfraternal community and a positive, supportive chapter culture goes a long way to promoting healthy relationships and stifling the cycle of hazing before it begins. He who envies others does not achieve peace. When envy sets in, one of two things happen — members either roll over and give up or engage in a dangerous trend of one-upsmanship. This cycle continues until chaos ensues and extremes become normalized.

To stay in the race, chapters must haze harder and drink more, and leaders and advisors feel forced to turn a blind eye to behaviors that would have once been unthinkable in order to maintain a reputation. Status on the social ladder will eventually change for those jockeying for position. At the fraternal table, there must be a seat for everyone. No ranks, no degrees, as Beta brothers know. The applications to fraternity here are endless, with groups grasping for top-tier social status almost immediately after their founding.

Young fraternity men, as members of an institution that carries at least some inherent social power, experience pride as a sense of entitlement and invincibility. With their lives outstretched to the horizon before them, they feel immortal. When faced with the dangers of drugs, alcohol or hazing, prideful chapters simply do not believe anything truly bad will ever happen to them.

And if tragedy does strike, pride gives a false sense of security that they are above reproach. Chapters with influential alumni and long histories may be particularly susceptible to this sin, refusing to recognize the need to change long-standing but outdated traditions. Instead, problems are ignored or managed through the persuasion of well-connected members. In their minds, these chapters are the kings of their domains, and kings make the rules. To be clear, not all pride is negative. These convey dignity, honor and respect — all traits worthy of a warm embrace.

But a person who is truly great is always willing to be little. But in this world of iniquity, there is hope. First, brothers must charge one another with ensuring they approach these Seven Deadly Sins with cognizance and moderation. Second, they must counteract their impulses by practicing the virtues of humility, kindness, patience, temperance, chastity, diligence and charity.

And above all else, they must attempt to understand what truly drives people in their more regrettable moments. We are hard-wired to be lustful, proud, envious, gluttonous, greedy, angry and lazy. Bridge Builders Just beyond a pair of handsome bronze dragons and six stately pillars, a familiar poem hangs outside the entry door of the brand new Beta house at the University of Kentucky.

But, without long-term housing options, and lacking a large, mature alumni base to draw upon for leadership and support, the chapter member-. Fast forward to the General Fraternity-led recolonization in and a reinvigorated Epsilon Omicron stood ready to fight for a different outcome. Resulting in seven new parcels, the young house corporation com-. C The dining room features seating for 80 and a hour coffee bar located just outside its commercial-grade kitchen. The men sit down for weekly formal chapter dinners at tables and chairs adorned with custom dragon detailing.

The decorative ceiling is in the shape of the original Beta badge from The home is named in honor of James K. Patterson, Hanover , who lobbied the Fraternity relentlessly for a Beta chapter throughout his year tenure as founding UK president To reinforce traditional Beta culture, donor plaques and interior doors throughout the house are etched with Fraternity insignia and inspiring Beta quotes.

Fitting for a chapter whose GPA routinely ranks No. Each bedroom also comes fully equipped with a sofa, arm chair, coffee and end tables, two dressers, desks and chairs, and high-quality Tempur-pedic mattresses. Custom drapes patterned with the Beta dragon can be found throughout the entire first floor. Phase two of construction will eventually complete the rest of the basement, adding a second large study hall, five small-group conference rooms and a Beta museum. Certainly a testament to interfraternalism. With tons of IT horsepower, elevated beds and semi-private bathrooms, the house matches modern expectations of students and parents.

Beyond the living quarters, members and guests enjoy access to the dramatic porch, entry Great Hall, formal living rooms, side yards for recreation, library and a large media room. To promote brotherhood, a stately dining room was created to seat 80 and a meal plan and weekly formal chapter dinners were instituted. A sense of having the best fraternity meal plan on campus has already taken hold. Of course, protecting this investment requires security via emergency systems tied in with. Epsilon Omicron, too, came from little, but now thrives as a four-time Knox Award winning chapter in just the last five years, a NIC Award of Distinction recipient and the.

Join by April 1. An industrial engineering student, he was one member of a larger multidisciplinary academic team in Southeast Asia working with local schools on topics selected by local leaders. Johnson also visited temples in Cambodia and spent Christmas with elephants in Thailand. As the men circled up to sing the Beta Doxology, he soon learned — we sure do. Oh you thought the biggest football game of the year was played in February? Think again. The biggest moment in football this season came in November when Dayton won its fifth straight intramural title!

In its first full year since recolonization, Alpha Psi now stands at 68 men strong. Check it out at beta. Cal Poly spent January basking in the California sun and celebrating the initiation of 12 new Betas, which grew the Epsilon Delta brotherhood to 73 men going in to winter recruitment.

The men of Eta Beta at Miami clearly felt that excitement after inducting 21 new members this spring! The new additions now make total Beta Canes heading in to spring semester.

Something big happened at Central Michigan last fall. With the November initiation of 24 new Beta brothers, Epsilon Gamma finished the fall term at 91 total members, officially making it the largest fraternity on campus! Turns out there was a hidden perk to the job. In the time since Beta Theta Pi was recolonized at Florida State in , the men have been nothing short of impressive. Now home to brothers and known across campus as leaders in the Greek community, delegates at the th General Convention in Norfolk, Virginia, saw fit to grant the colony its charter.

The men held a Breakfast With Santa program for children affected by Down syndrome in , and followed that up last fall with a day spent carving pumpkins with the local chapter of the Boys and Girls Club. For Texas at Arlington Betas, it came in the form of an impromptu brotherhood camping trip to a local state park. Whether on the field or in the kitchen, Betas can do it all!

Marine Corps Reserves and an Eagle Scout. In February, Somes held a campaign kickoff event for a seat serving his college town of Washington, Pennsylvania. The Beta Theta Pi will provide updates on his race as they become available. Good luck, brother! What an incredible group of men. They care. They work hard You should be very proud of this group of men. It says all anyone needs to know about his values. I have had a lot of challenges and my advice to young people might be as follows.

Listen to your friends and mentors and learn from them. Let others point out your virtues, your strong points. Give someone else a hand. When a friend is hurting show that friend you care. Out of adversity comes challenge and often success. Nobody likes an overbearing big shot. As you succeed, be kind to people. Thank those who help you along the way. Say your prayers!! Charles D.

George D. BETA or phyllis. Memorial Gifts The Fraternity is often asked how to memorialize a dearly departed Beta. Memorial gifts can be made at beta. In lieu of flowers, consider naming the Beta Leadership Fund in your own obituary. Cincinnati John C. Beyersdorfer Jr. Colorado Earl J. Bettencourt Jr. Idaho William G. Miami Gary G. Wade C. Silver Jr. Clay S. Melinda C. Mindy Brant Chi Omega Nov.

A year Beta Convention veteran, Mindy is survived by four children, two daughters-in-law and two grandchildren. Sarah D. Sally Stephenson Delta Gamma Jan. Kevin M. Ince Jr. Northwestern Duncan S. Eric M. Crow Jr. John L. Felix G. Cook Jr. Frank V. Hoke Jr. Loel G. Arthur E. Ohio Wesleyan Noel K. Purdy Jr. UC Berkeley William W. Blake W. Shotwell Jr. Wittenberg William W. He joins Chapter Eternal at age 58 following a short battle with lymphoma.

Loyd W. Benjamin V. Robert J. Brocker Jr. Richard P. Tinkham Jr. Today he is retired after a year career as an underwriter for three Lincoln life insurance companies: Ameritas Life, State Farm Life and Assurity Life. He has served the Beta Foundation as an honorary ambassador and is a loyal Alpha Tau, where he is a chapter advisor and a former campaign co-chairman. Bruce and his wife, Lynn, live in Lincoln, Nebraska, where they remain active in their church and have volunteered with several community organizations.

Life is full of progressive events: high school, college, work, marriage, children, grandchildren and the passing of friends are but a few. As I went through recruitment that summer, I had little information on just what a fraternity was, and how it would significantly impact my life in the years ahead. I seriously considered the chapters of four international fraternities, picking Beta because the men espoused the same values my parents had instilled in me. The upperclassmen and pledge brothers that I met were honest and valued integrity, and I was lucky enough to live in the chapter house all four years and develop close relationships with them all.

Becoming a UNL Beta continues to be one of my favorite life events, and I keep in contact with most of my pledge brothers and many other alumni today. Shortly after college, I was asked to contribute to the Beta Foundation. With appreciation, I looked back at what Beta had done for me by furthering my leadership skills, work ethic and meshing with multiple personalities — it was an easy decision to give. Yet at the time I donated without knowing the impact my gift would have.

Today, while my Beta Sweetheart, Lynn, and I support many great causes, Beta, our Lincoln church and the foundation of her employer of 41 years share the top spot in our hearts and are all recognized in our estate plan. Read Story. Page How Does One Get Published? It may surprise some to learn that it was because of his fraternity that Oliver learned to be comfortable confiding emotionally to friends in a way that he told me he would not have if his group were co-ed.

Some brotherhood rituals even script opportunities to express emotions and to ask for help. As colleges weigh whether to eliminate all-male groups, they should also assess whether their schools provide other safe spaces in which guys can comfortably open up to other guys. ORG Because of common expectations that men should be stoic, during adolescence, when masculine stereotypes sink in, many boys reluctantly distance themselves from intimate friendships.

Mental Health Support I understand how to change my coping habits if they become unhealthy. During the last year, have you missed class because of using alcohol? Her hypothesis also was simple: People of relatively equal "social desirability" would hit it off better than people mismatched in social assets. But what determines a person's social desirability?

Fortunately, all incoming freshmen had completed various kinds of personality assessment devices, so information on this score was available. These attributes headed the lists of all previous studies asking people what they looked for and valued in a date or mate. Thus, personality, social skills, and intelligence were to be combined into a "Social Desirability" score for each person buying a ticket to the dance. At the last minute, however, Hatfield had an afterthought. Needless to say, these impressions provided only rough assessments. In the general confusion surrounding the ticket sale and in the few seconds it took to take money, make change, and issue a ticket, the ticket-taker's impression could not have much reliability and validity and thus could not be expected to predict much of anything.

Nevertheless, the data were collected and analyzed. I was a graduate student in the Laboratory for Research in Social Relations at the time and remember well when Hatfield was asked how the computer dance study had "turned out". Her "matching hypothosis" had not been confirmed. People of equal social desirabilities did not like each other better than mismatches.

In fact, she went on, there was only one predictor of whether a person would like his or her date and, in the case of men, whether he would actually make an effort to contact the date again. That predictor was. The more physically attractive a person was, the more they were liked by their date. This predictor held true whether the person was a woman or a man. This news was greeted by total silence. Finally, someone said, "That was it? The finding was embarrassing. Among other things, it gave the lie to our collective professions that what we really valued in potential dates and mates was a good personality—honesty, kindness, and all the other sterling virtues.

The finding also mocked the advice, then routinely given to those who found themselves lonely and rejected, to wit: "Improve your personality and your character! It was not, of course, that we didn't suspect appearance played some role in how a person was regarded by others. But this was the early sixties—when appearance was almost universally regarded as a frivolous and superficial attribute. At this time people requesting plastic surgery to modify some aspect of their appearance were routinely subjected to tests to ascertain that they were free of psychopathology— a certification difficult for the candidate to achieve since a request for plastic surgery was itself considered a symptom of neuroticism.

All that, and more, has changed. The probability that a disfigurement also leaves the victim with impaired self-esteem and impaired social and economic opportunities is also considered. The dental profession now worries about more than whether their treatment will leave the patient with the perfect "bite".

Finally, therapists and counselors do not automatically conclude that social rejection is always the result of unattractive interior qualities. Many of these changes can be traced back to that first uncomfortable and embarrassing finding, and to the fact that Elaine Hatfield was not content to bury her data.

Against the advice of some senior colleagues, who believed the finding was "theoretically uninteresting" and therefore unworthy of consideration by professional journals, she wrote up her "serendipitous finding," as she called it then, and so the effort to trace the dimensions of this variable upon people's lives began in earnest. All good researchers must be willing to observe not only that the emperor's new clothes are not magnificent but, when necessary, to call. Fortunately, researchers are not often called upon to make such assertions.

Since providing better information for making life choices is the bottom line of all research, I was particularly pleased to see that the relative importance of physical attractiveness is not ducked in the final chapters of this book. I cannot resist concluding these comments with the most recent example of the effects of a single-minded determination to place beauty above all other considerations.

The example comes not from the United States, with its multibillion dollar cosmetic industry and infinite numbers of diet centers, fat farms, and physical fitness and rejuvenation spas. It comes from Communist China. Concerned with the growing number of unwed men and women in their country, the Chinese government recently sponsored a nationwide campaign to "pair them off". The government's campaign, however, was a failure. The People's Daily as reported by the Associated Press in The Minneapolis Star and Tribune, August 31, complains: "Men's and women's criteria for selecting mates are not practical.

The situation is unsettling. When matchmaking workers ask a man what kind of mate he desires, he says, T want a beautiful woman. Is this subject "theoretically uninteresting"? That apples fall down, rather than up, must have seemed just as theoretically uninteresting at one time.

But no one interested in predicting the trajectory of an apple loosed from its bough could afford to ignore that mundane fact, and. Ellen Berscheid. Minneapolis, Minnesota September, We all face a fundamental paradox. We have to admit that appearances matter. We know that small details of our appearance can be critical determinants of how well we will do in love, at work, and in life. And yet. Each of us knows we do not really "measure up," and we feel slightly ashamed that we expect other people to do so.

How can we deal with this dilemma? This book will attempt to address that issue. In chapter 1 we ask, "What is good looks? We examine whether there is any agreement both between and within cultures as to what is considered beautiful or handsome. In chapters 2 and 3, we review the evidence that, in the main, people believe "what is beautiful is good and what is ugly is bad. In chapters 4, 5, and 6, we discuss how well attractive versus unattractive persons fare in the dating, mating, and sexual marketplaces.

We review several studies indicating that although most people desire attractive partners most often, because of the dynamics of supply and demand, they end up pairing with someone of about their own level of attractiveness. We turn to more specific physical characteristics in chapter 7.

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We explore the impact of height, weight, and such incidentals as hair color, eyes, and beardedness on our social encounters. In time, most people come to see themselves as others see them— to act as others expect them to act. Eventually, good-looking and unattractive people become different types of folk in their self-images, personalities, and interactional styles.

In chapter 8, we examine this reality of physical attractiveness. In chapter 9, we trace the impact of beauty through the life cycle. We examine what happens to our bodies as we age and how this change affects other areas of our lives. We discover that beauty begins to matter in the nursery and continues to matter through old age. Throughout the majority of the book we discuss the pleasant aspects of being attractive. Yet every silver lining has its cloud. The ugly truth about good looks, the disadvantages, are discussed in chapter This discussion leads us to the question of what to do if we are unattractive.

Is it worth it to try every means to make ourselves more appealing? Cosmeticians, beauticians, orthodontists, and plastic surgeons would lead us to believe that we can and should do all we can to improve our looks. But such enterprises have serious costs even in the short run. They are expensive, exhausting, and require us to focus almost every waking moment on being something we are not. Worse yet, people banking everything on looks may find they have won the battle but lost the war. In the end, and in spite of evidence we have cited heretofore, factors other than beauty turn out to be important in producing life-long happiness.

In chapters 11 and 12, we present what social psychologists and therapists have to say about the advantages and disadvantages of trying to improve our appearance. We learn that most of us do our best if we engage in fulfilling activities—concentrating on sharpening our skills in intimacy, pursuing friendship, investing energies in our careers. Apparently, what is important is to accept ourselves as we are and to set out on a search for what life has to offer. Chapter 1.

When we were deciding how to write this book, our first step was to gather a great sampling of people. We sought people very different from one another—men and women of various races, ages 3 to 97 , and occupations; people strikingly good-looking to downright homely; people who had very different life experiences. A tribesman admires his ceremonial appearance. Photograph by Jack Fields, In this book, we will try to provide social psychologists' answers to all these questions and more. But first, we will have to begin at the beginning and discuss, "What is this thing called good looks?

Could you explain what a "beautiful woman" and "handsome man" are to a blind person? What makes them so appealing? What made him or her so unappealing? Webster's New World Dictionary defines good looks as:. Guralnik, Webster's New Simon and Schuster, ], , World Dictionary: Edition 2 [New York:. By physical attractiveness we mean that which best represents one's conception of the ideal in appearance and gives the greatest pleasure to the senses.

At first glance, it seems easy to say what is appealing, what is not. For example, early I.

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The Stanford-Binet Intelligence Scale edition asked children to look at two line drawings and to indicate which woman was pretty and which was ugly. The "pretty" face had fine, delicate features and a neat hairdo, while the "ugly" face had a large nose, a large mouth, and unkempt hair. Obviously, the test constructors assumed they knew what beauty was and that any "bright" child would agree with them. Unfortunately, however, things are not so simple. The search for a standard of beauty has been a long one.

The Search for a Universal Beauty. Thoughtful people have spent an enormous amount of effort trying to discover what is universal about beauty. Greek philosophers were convinced that the Golden Mean was the basic standard of beauty see Hambidge ; or Plato The Golden Mean represented a perfect balance. To be extreme was to be imperfect. So much for the rare and exotic. The Greeks' theory was elegantly, brilliantly simple. The Romans were more interested in the rarities of particular faces and persons.

Conceptions of ideal beauty resurfaced in the Christian era see Figure 1. In more recent times, Charles Darwin's efforts to define beauty are worth noting. Only then could they predict the course of sexual selection and, ultimately, human evolution. Darwin tried but failed. Henry T. Finck was the first early psychologist to pose a theory of beauty. Finck is a delight to read. It makes one feel smugly superior to encounter someone so self-righteous, so opinionated. Finck's singular thesis was that primitive people were nature's "experiments.

But humankind continued to evolve, becoming more perfect, better-looking, all the time. Finally, evolution and good looks reached a pinnacle in the upperclass English gentleman. Luckily, Henry Finck happened to be in just this category. This tendency—to assume our own group contains the best of everything—is common.

The only way to know whether orthodontics has helped or hurt is to have a standard of perfection against which to compare your work. Most orthodontic indices, beginning with E. Angles' classification in , have used an arbitrary classification standard. In each case, the test constructors selected their own face as the ideal! This unconscious chauvinism has had an ironic result. Since the dentists involved in scale development have been Europeans, when dentists in Hawaii tried to use the scales with Asian or black populations they soon discovered almost all their clients needed their teeth straightened.

Finckism strikes again! See Giddon [] or Uesato [] for a further discussion of this point. Finck attempted to provide a feature by feature analysis of what is good-looking. He began his dissertation with "The Evolution of the Big Toe" and moved slowly upward. The flavor of Finck's appalling Victorian smugness is recaptured in his opening passage:. Concerning savages, there is a prevalent notion that, owing to their free and easy life in the forests, they are healthier on the average than civilized mankind. As a matter of fact, however, they are as inferior to us in Health as in Beauty.

Their constant exposure and irregular feeding habits, their neglect and ignorance of every hygienic law, in conjunction with their vicious lives, their arbitrary mutilations of various parts, and their selection of inferior forms, prevent their bodies from assuming the regular and delicate proportions which we regard as essential to beauty.

Finck then itemized each trait—the feet, limbs, waist, chest, etc. In a short pages, he managed to insult every existing ethnic group. The Hungarians are "of a repulsive ugliness in the eyes of all their neighbors. The disadvantages of genuine separation are shown not only in the long, thick crooked nose, the bloated lips, almost suggesting a negro, and the heavy lower eyelid, but in the fact that the Jews have proportionately more insane, deaf mutes, blind, and colour-blind" than other Europeans p.

What about the Americans? Finck quotes Lady Amberley:. They all looked sick. Such was the tenor of Finck's scientific discussion. The problem with Finck's careful enumeration of ideal traits is that nowhere can we take him seriously. Clelland Ford and Frank Beach studied more than two hundred primitive societies. They were unable to find any universal standards of sexual allure. Different cultures could not even agree completely as to what parts of the body were important.

For some peoples, the shape and color of the eyes was what really mattered. For others, it was height and weight. Still others went right to the center of things—what mattered was the size and shape of the sexual organs. To complicate things still further, even if two societies agreed on what was important, they rarely agreed about what constituted good looks in that area.

For example, in some societies like our own , a slim woman is the ideal. The opposite, however, is true in most other societies—the fatter the better. Table 1. TABLE 1. Slim body build Medium body build Plump body build. Narrow pelvis and slim hips Broad pelvis and wide hips. Small ankles Shapley calves.

Upright, hemispherical breasts Long and pendulous breasts Large breasts. Large clitoris Elongated labia majora. Note: Although Ford and Beach discuss the impact of "man's" appearance on sexuality, in this case "man" means "woman. In many societies, the face—delicate boned or broad and sensual—is all that really counts.

Anthropologist Bronislaw Malinowski observed that, for the Trobriand Islanders: ",. It is a notable fact that their main erotic interest is focused on the human head and face. In the formulae of beauty magic, in the vocabulary of human attractions, as well as in the arsenal of ornament and decoration, the human face—eyes, mouth, teeth, nose and hair—takes precedence" pp. Those societies that are experts on the face do not agree as to what kind of face is best. Most peoples consider light skin to be most appealing. But many, like the Pima, prefer dark skin; some, like the Dobuans, consider albinos to be particularly repulsive.

For the Wogeo, things are even more complicated: tawny-colored Wogeoians prefer light-skinned mates; the cocoa colored prefer dark-skinned mates. In some African tribes, the women insert pieces of wood as large as plates behind their lips. Ubangi women. In many societies, good looks equals a good body. But again, even the societies that worship fine bodies do not agree on what constitutes a good body. In most societies, robust women are seen as possessing the most sex appeal.

Clelland Ford and Frank Beach observe:. She should have big hips, good sized but firm breasts, and a deposit of fat on her sexual organs. In fact, so desirable is corpulence as a sexual trait that I have frequently heard men make up songs about the merits of a fat vulva In many primitive societies, people are balanced on the fine edge of survival. A fat wife is a status symbol.

She graphically illustrates her husband's ability to provide The question "Are you a breast man, a leg, or an ass man? American men have long been fascinated by big breasts Morrison and Holden In , Francine Gottfried of Brooklyn—a twenty-one-year old whose measurements were —generated a riot among staid, Wall Street businessmen simply by walking to work in the morning. At first, only a few bankers, brokers, and clerks waited on the street corner to watch her walk by. Then the crowds grew. The news media began to report on the phenomenon.

The crowds swelled. Newspapermen and cameramen from as far away as Australia waited for pictures. Ticker tape floated down from the buildings. Police stood by with bullhorns. In the pushing and shoving, some in the throng were nearly trampled. There was the distinctive thumping sound as the metal roofs of four automobiles buckled under the weight of excited spectators, who had climbed on top for a better view. Francine Gottfried of Brooklyn did not enjoy the spectacle as much as the bankers. She failed to put in an appearance New York Times, 21 Sept.

Americans' obsession with breasts might tempt you to assume the fixation is a cultural universal. It is not. In different cultures, the "ideal". Some peoples prefer small, upright breasts. The Wogeo think breasts should be firm with the nipples facing outwards. A young girl with pendulous breasts, "like a grandmother," is pitied. Other peoples like long and pendulous breasts. For some peoples the external genitals, the labia majora and minora and the penis, are important.

In many societies, elongated labia majora are considered erotically appealing. Young girls are advised to pull the clitoris and the vulvar lips to enhance their sex appeal. Before puberty, girls on Ponape undergo treatment designed to lengthen the labia minora and to enlarge their clitoris. Impotent old men pull, beat, and suck the labia to lengthen them. The girls put black ants in their vulva so that their stinging will cause the labia and clitoris to swell. In America, most men are not particularly focused on this area. Pornographic magazines featuring "beaver shots" appeal to a minority.

In many societies, men's sexual organs are equally important. In the New Hebrides, men choose to emphasize their sexual appeal see Figure 1. Anthropologist B. Sommerville observed:. The natives wrap the penis around with many yards of calico, and other materials, winding and folding them until a preposterous bundle of eighteen inches, or two feet long, and two inches or more in diameter is formed, which is then supported upward by means of a belt, in the extremity decorated with flowering grasses, etc. In the s European men often wore codpieces in a similar effort to emphasize their assets.

Originally, a codpiece was a metal case to protect men's genitals in battle. Eventually it became a gaudy silk case of colors contrasting with the rest of the costume. Sometimes it was enlarged with stuffing and decorated with ribbons and precious stones see Figure 1. Elvis Presley often used a toilet paper tube under tight pants while performing on stage to augment his penis size Wallace As we have seen again and again, however, only a few societies focus on the external genitals, and those that do fail to agree on what constitutes beauty. The New Hebrides model and the Marlboro man are miles apart.

In the New Hebrides, men wrap their penes in cloth to form an impressive bundle, held in place with a leather belt. Today, scholars have admitted defeat in their search for a universal beauty. After a painstaking search, after numerous false leads, all their hopes of uncovering such ideals have been shattered. Anthropologists have ended where they began—able to do no more than point to the dazzling array of characteristics that various people in various places, at various times, have idealized. Reading this research, one feels a sense of irony.

Most of us spend so much time worrying about our bodies, trying to emphasize our "good points" and minimize our "bad" ones. It is disconcerting to realize that with a slight change of time or place all these standards would be turned topsy-turvy. Although anthropologists have also been unable to unearth any universal standards for good looks or for bad looks within any society, there is, however, considerable agreement on what is appealing and what is not.

The Search for a Local Beauty. In Western society, the media promotes a standard of beauty. Gerald Adams and a colleague Adams and Crossman describe television's image of beauty:. Masculinity is judged by overall appearance and impression. And depending upon the "type", he will drive a certain make and model of car, smoke a certain brand of tobacco, and above all, read "Playboy" magazine. Primarily, he must be trim, rugged but not too rugged, manly, and have a nice smile.

Unlike masculinity, femininity cannot be acquired merely by using the right deodorant and applying a number of external props. A woman must have hair with body and fullness that is marvelously highlighted. Each feature must be an equal contributor to her pretty face. She must have eternally young and blemish-free skin. Her figure must not only be trim, but meet certain "idealized" standards to be considered beautiful. Her hands must be silky soft and not too large. Her nails must be long and perfectly trimmed. Her legs must be shapely, firm, and preferably long.

To attain all this, she must "enter the garden of earthly delights" and use "Herbal Essence Shampoo"—hair conditioners scented with lemon, strawberry or apricot, which give marvelous body. Her skin must be nurtured with moisturizers and emollients so she can look eternally young.

As for her legs, "gentlemen prefer Hanes. She should know that "Blondes have more fun" and Lady Clairol blondes have the most fun of all. For a foundation, she should wear the "cross. Finally, above all else, her beauty must look natural, pp. Americans and Europeans agree with the media on what is appealing and what is not. In a typical study this one conducted in Great Britain , Iliffe asked readers of one of the large newspapers how "pretty" they thought twelve women's faces were. The photos where chosen to represent as many types as possible—they varied in slope of eye, coloring, shape of face, etc.

Thousands of readers replied, the critics ranging in age from eight to eighty. They came from markedly different social classes and regions, yet they had similar ideas about what is beautiful. Additional evidence that, within a society, there is consensus on what is beautiful comes from the work of Cross and Cross [] and Kopera, Maier, and Johnson [].

Here are some of their answers. A physically attractive woman is someone with beautiful hair, expressive eyes, high cheekbones, perfect breasts, great ass and legs. Beautiful people have distinctive features. A beautiful woman is someone with big eyes, a pretty smile, a thin tapered nose, oval-shaped face, perfect teeth. Usually women have to be perfect to be beautiful. Men don't have to be perfect. Distortions are ugly. I'm thinking of a man I know who is gorgeous. He has blond hair, light blue eyes, high cheekbones, a long face, and a perfect nose.

I don't like the 5'11" All-American blond with voluptuous curves. It's boring, I like the unusual—a German look When I think of beauty, I think of Vogue and high fashion. Since I don't like that, I don't know what beauty is. No fat chicks here. I think men whose bodies have gone to seed are a little disgusting. Beauty is perfection. That perfection can manifest itself in a variety of ways—first and foremost would be in physical aspects. Though there are differences among these statements, the similarities and agreements are more common.

Several studies have examined how people react to different body configurations. Nancy Hirshberg and her colleagues Wiggins et al. They prepared nude silhouettes like those in Figure 1. The first silhouette had a Golden Mean sort of body—she had average-sized breasts, buttocks, and legs. If the Greeks were right, men should have preferred her —they didn't.

The remaining silhouettes' assets were systematically varied. The silhouettes' legs and buttocks were varied in the same way. Young men were asked to pick the figures they liked best. The Golden Mean theory turned out to have some validity.

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Most men thought the women with medium-sized breasts, buttocks, and legs were more attractive than those with unusually small or large features. Similar results were secured by Beck et al. What about women? What do they find appealing in men? Paul Lavrakas followed the procedure we have just described in order to find out. He constructed nineteen different types of men's bodies on.

Very recently, a new type of ideal has begun to emerge—a more muscular, healthy, functional beauty. Time magazine Corliss devoted a cover story to this "New Ideal of Beauty. The new woman is natural—graceful, slim, and far stronger than before.


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Their bodies are streamlined for motion, for purposeful strides across the mall, around the backcourt, and into the board room. Ideals of beauty for women and men may be merging. For men, attractiveness has traditionally been equated with strength, stamina, fitness—all of which allowed men to be more functional. Women are finally joining men in the exercise gym and in corporate chambers See Figure 1. Scientists have found no universal beauties.

People in different cultures do not even agree on which features are important, much less what is good-looking and what is not. Within a culture, however, there is considerable agreement about looks. Luckily for the vast majority of us, there is not complete agreement. For example, Cross and Cross , after reporting that Americans and Europeans agree, to some extent, on what kinds of faces are most appealing, report: "The most popular face in the sample was chosen as best of its group by 6 of judges but there was no face that was never chosen, and even the least popular face was picked as best of its group of six portraits similar in age, sex, and race by four subjects" p.

The optimistic hope that someone, somewhere, sometime will think we are irresistible seems a realistic one. University of Hawaii, Janet C. Vidad, at a beauty and physical fitness contest, Make cruel comments about your looks? How do you react to such comments? Scientists have developed a variety of techniques for assessing "Body Image. We all know about "The Perfect 10". The front wall is solid glass.

Men sit on stools, drinking beer, "watching all the girls go by. Madison women, a bit fiercer than most, occasionally retaliate. One Friday afternoon, a student named Leslie Donovan went down to The Pub with her Alpha Chi Omega sorority sisters, each armed with a stack of flash cards numbered When a man shouted his rating, they held up a card indicating his score. Donovan once held up a flash card with a "10" on it plus a note attached which said, "My name is Leslie. You can reach me at Generally, researchers use a straightforward technique for finding out how people rate themselves.

They simply ask them. For example, we Hatfield [Walster] et al. In this study, most teens thought they were less than a perfect 6. Surprisingly, even though this method sounds simplistic, it is an effective way to find out what people think of themselves. Sometimes, simple is best. Usually, such rough and ready estimates have been enough. On occasion, researchers want to know more about the details of beauty. In such cases, they have proceeded to ask men and women how they felt about almost every feature of themselves—their face, height, weight, and other details.

For example, we asked readers of Psychology Today a popular magazine how they felt about their bodies Berscheid, Hatfield [Walster], and Bohrnstedt More then sixty-two thousand readers replied. Take a moment to answer our Body Image questionnaire. Body Image How satisfied are you with the way your body looks?

Overall facial attractiveness:. O E Quite dissatisfied. O F Extremely dissatisfied. Chest males , Breasts females :. Size of abdomen:. Buttocks seat :. Size of sex organs:. Appearance of sex organs:. Hips upper thighs :. O C Somewhat satisfied. O D Somewhat dissatisfied. Legs and ankles:. O A Extremely satisfied. General muscle tone or development:. Overall body appearance:. Now you know how satisfied you are with your appearance. Do you have more self-confidence than most? Let's find out. Lest We Forget: A Note. Not so for most people. Many people who responded complained we had neglected to ask about the very traits they thought were most important: "I thought your quiz very odd," wrote one New York man.

Granted we did not ask everything, but we can see how people feel about the things we did ask about. To find out how people in general felt about themselves, we selected a sample of two thousand questionnaires for closer scrutiny. We selected a sample that came as close to the national statistics as possible. It consisted of 50 percent men and 50 percent women. Forty-five percent were 24 years old or younger, 25 percent were between 25 and 44, and the rest were 45 or older.

American society places so much emphasis on looks. How do most people feel they measure up overall? Only about half the people are extremely or quite satisfied with their looks. Slightly more men than women 55 percent versus 45 percent are this satisfied. One California man, who was extremely satisfied with his looks, observed: "I have to admit that I consider myself to be a gorgeous person.

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Your questionnaire made me aware of my body, not just a finely crafted machine, but as a being that is beautiful in an artistic way. A trivial 4 percent of men and 7 percent of the women are quite or extremely dissatisfied with their overall appearance. The following replies are typical of people in that category:. What we ugly people need is a special book of etiquette that advises us how to behave under the following circumstances: How to respond to remarks like "you sure are ugly.

What are you supposed to do when people stare at you? When little children run when they see you! When, as a child, you have to listen to people say that your parents must have committed some grave sin. When people mistreat you and accuse you of being evil. And finally, how are you equipped to behave, when you cannot see any evidence that God loves you? At the age of twelve, I realized that I was a homosexual. To relieve my tension, I ate and ate until, at the height of five-seven, I weighed pounds and became known as "Fats. The next month I lost 30 pounds.

It worked. I am now 23 and am 6 foot and weigh I have a lover for the first time in my life who is more than a one-night stand. I am glad that I had that experience. I somehow appreciate inner beauty more than the plastic, store-bought, television ad beauty that drives so many in this world. My lover is beautiful. I refuse to answer if I was attracted to his inner or outer beauty first.

In general, then, men do have better body images than do women. For most women, the longing to be beautiful runs deep. I am nearly thirty years old, a "success" in a field few women enter, a "good" speaker, conversationalist, and clown, in a mild sort of way. I am happily married and feel "valued" by my family, but I'd chuck it all if some Mephistophelian character offered me the option of the kind of long-legged, aquiline, tawny beauty praised in myth and toothpaste ads.

A few women noted they were trying to overcome their obsession with beauty:. At a consciousness-raising session, several friends and I decided to go around in a circle and name our most hated features. Hearing each other, we realized how minutely our "ugly" features were noticed.

It was definitely a good thing to do. One's Face Is One's Fortune. Almost everyone was happy with his or her face; only 11 percent of the women and 8 percent of the men expressed any dissatisfaction. People were not uniformly delighted with every aspect of their faces, however. Given Americans' preoccupation with sex and sexual performance, we thought it possible that most men would be worried about the size of their penises and most women would complain about the size of their breasts. Sex researchers have often observed that couples are unduly worried about just that Masters and Johnson ; Zilbergeld In fact, Masters and Johnson were so apprehensive that if word leaked out as to what constituted the "average" breast or penis size, those who fell short would have great difficulty dealing with the facts.

Thus, these advocates of academic freedom refused to publish this information. Ann Landers receives many, many letters from women worried that their breasts are too large or too small. In she ran a letter from a woman in Cincinnati who was painfully self-conscious about her small breasts.

A boyfriend had just taken a look at her breasts and told her to "put some calamine lotion on them and they would be gone by morning. Her letter stimulated a flurry of letters from women suffering from too much of a good thing. Men were only interested in one "or should I say two" things. She had to dress carefully, avoiding low necklines, clingy fabrics, and knits. Her brassiere required special padding on the strap, and the straps still cut into her shoulders. Ann suggested surgery for breast reduction. We received many such letters, but they are the exception.

Only 9 percent of women are very dissatisfied with their breasts. One woman in four is dissatisfied. What about men's concern about their sexual endowments? Evidently, only a few men worry about such things. You ask men how they feel about the size of their sex organs. But this is not the crux of the problem.

No doubt millions of men, and I among them, have fretted endlessly over the size of their penises, but after all,. It is a secret that can be fairly well kept. There is one secret that can't be kept—how masculine your secondary sex characteristics are—the amount and distribution of your hair, the broadness of your shoulders, narrowness of hips, etc.

When I was an adolescent, I had the misfortune to see a sex manual which showed male and female-pubic hair distribution. Horrors—my own pubic hair was the perfect model of the feminine pattern—and still is! I am going through severe depression, for the following reason: I am extremely unattractive. By 22, a man should look very different from the opposite sex.

I don't. My beard growth is nil. The texture of my skin on my face is, if anything, softer and smoother, more "feminine" than most women's. Indeed, on first glance, I am often mistaken for a girl by store clerks and others. This has had a devastating effect on my life. I am a musician, and until I was about 18, when I still looked like a kid, I was able to play with musicians older and more experienced than I, because of my talent.

It was assumed that I would "grow out of it. Needless to say, my social life is just as depressing. In fact, I have none to talk about. I am truly desperate! There is, however, one group of men exceptionally concerned with their looks and with penis size: gay men. Those men who had never experimented with homosexual activity were likely to have a higher body image score than were gay men 33 percent versus 25 percent. Fully 45 percent of the gay men had below average images of their penises on a two-item measure "satisfaction with size" and "appearance of genitals" , compared to only 25 percent of the other men.

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Apparently, gay men, because of men's emphasis on looks in sexual encounters see Hagen ; Symons , become unusually concerned about their bodies. Unlike other men, gay men may have discovered how important beauty is in attracting men; thus, they become as concerned as women have always been about "measuring up.

Lesbians are as likely to have a positive body image as other women. Are women concerned about their genitals? Only 3 percent of the women were dissatisfied with the size of their sex organs. Only 7 percent were dissatisfied with the appearance of their sex organs. A few women worried about having a vagina too small or too large for. One woman complained that, while having a pelvic examination, her gynecologist observed: "Your husband must complain about sex with you.

You are very large, you know. To say that most people are generally satisfied with their bodies overall is not to say they are happy with every aspect of their looks. Society places an enormous emphasis on a trim figure. One man volunteered: "As for me, FAT people make me sick. I've never had a fat friend or bedded a fat woman.

Twice as many women as men were very dissatisfied 21 percent versus 10 percent. Perhaps because excess weight tends to settle in the mid-torso area—abdomen, buttocks, hips, and thighs—people worried about their weight were also unhappy about these particular body parts. Some 36 percent of the men fret over that spare tire problem. Women worry about the size of their hips—49 percent were dissatisfied. We will discuss this issue in greater detail in chapter 6. Women are sensitive to the issue of weight.

Wardell Pomeroy, who collaborated with Alfred Kinsey in their early interviews Kinsey et al. When women try to ignore their weight problem, the "bare" facts can suddenly strike them, as Ellen Goodman describes:. In my life as a clothing consumer I have been subjected to a series of sudden visions known as Dressing Room Revelations. Most of them were unpleasant.

It was in a dressing room, for example, that I discovered what I look like from the back. This is something I really didn't have to know. There is a great deal of evidence that, in our society, height—especially for men—is extremely important. We will discuss this issue, too, in chapter 7. We had expected to find widespread dissatisfaction with height—we thought men would want to be taller and women would be afraid of being too tall. Not so. Only 13 percent of both sexes expressed any discontent with their height, and actual height was not related to body satisfaction.

When you filled out the Body Image questionnaire, you had a chance to say how good-looking you think you are. Would most people agree with you? To find out how objective men and women are about themselves, researchers' first step was to develop an "objective" measure of looks. This test turned out to be surprisingly difficult. After several false starts, scientists finally settled on a well-worn method—the method of consensus see Berscheid and Hatfield [Walster] Researchers simply ask a number of judges to rate men and women's looks.

Judges have their own biases, of course. One judge may like tall, Nordic types, another, short, athletic types, but if you get enough judges, these biases tend to cancel out one another. The method of consensus may be a form of shared ignorance. Scientists have asked, "Do people see themselves as others see them? Two contradictory processes—the Modesty effect and the Henry Finck syndrome—combine to reduce our ability to see ourselves as others see us. The Modesty Effect. Cavior asked fifth-grade girls and boys how they rated compared to other boys and girls in their classes.

He found that 75 percent of the girls thought they were the least attractive girl in their class! The girls were not just being modest. They were simply focusing on defects in their appearance that the more objective judges thought were trivial. The girls had adopted an absolute standard of attractiveness—they compared themselves to a "perfect 10" and concluded they did not measure up.

The judges, less ego involved, had adopted a relative standard. Cavior also found that fifth- and sixth-grade boys' and girls' guesses as to how their classmates would rank them were almost always wrong. These eleven to twelve year olds had little idea how they rated with their friends. They had a slightly better idea about how relative strangers would feel about them. The Henry Finck Syndrome. Sometimes false modesty is not the problem—sometimes it's just the opposite.

Like Henry Finck, we take it for granted that our country, our race, our family look as people ought to look. For example, Malff reported in Huntley found that young adults rated their own thinly disguised profiles, hands, faces, etc. These two opposite processes—false modesty and unconscious arrogance—both contribute to people's inabilities to see themselves as others see them. As we get older, we do get a little wiser. With age people get to be somewhat better at guessing how others see them. Somewhat better. For example, Berscheid et al.

Other researchers have found only a minimal relationship see Huston ; Murstein ; Stroebe et al. So, if you want to know what other people like or dislike about you, you better ask them. A Note: If you arrange things properly, you can guarantee you will rate a "perfect 10". Ask people with high esteem what they think of your looks. Scientists have found that people who rate themselves highly are equally generous in rating others Morse, Reis, Gruzen, and Wolff Avoid beautiful people.

They have been found, to be harsher in their judgments. They consider themselves to be the Golden Mean and, in contrast, you lose Hatfield [Walster] et al. Avoid critics who spend a lot of time thumbing through movie magazines, watching "Charlie's Angels" on television, etc.

When they compare the stars to you, you lose out in luster. The contrast effect again Kenrick and Gutierres ; Melamed and Moss This observation may be reason enough to cancel your date's Playboy or Play girl subscription. Ask men or women who are sexually aroused what they think of you.