Do looks matter in real life?

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It doesn’t matter what you are on the outside, it’s what you are on the inside that counts. So goes a much stated saying when applauding inner virtues above external looks. But pause for a moment and ask yourself “Is it true? Don’t looks matter at all?”

Well, the answer is ideally and theoretically “Yes” but practically “No”, especially in a country like ours where beauty is judged by the color of skin. What is the first thing you notice when you meet someone? It’s the person’s eyes or hair, his/her complexion or height or simply smile. All these things are features of one’s external beauty, not internal. Given that we’re all brought up with the notion that first impression is the last impression, looks definitely do matter.

Teenagers today are mostly carried away by looks and only few try to peer into one’s persona. For instance, most guys would want their girlfriends to be beautiful. Of course “beauty with brain” would be a preferable choice, but if asked to choose either of them, most would opt for the former.

Not only personal life, your looks highly influences your professional life as well. I don’t only mean professionals like models and air hostess where physical ‘beauty’ is almost mandatory. Even if you are some other professionals like singer, nurse, engineer, teacher, doctor or any other profession for that matter, the respect you get will depend on your appearance. This might not definitely apply for the experts – those that are well established and command highest authority – in different fields. But it immensely does for those in the lower rungs. Accept it or not, a key to Selena Gomez ‘s popularity is her beauty (though I’m not implying that she doesn’t sing well). But the fact is there are many who sing better than her but are not as popular. All of us who watch Hindi movies know that Nawazuddin Siddiqui is one of the finest actors in Bollywood. But we don’t keep him at the level of Khans or Kapoors. I bet, this has to do with him not being so attractive and appealing physically.

As you read this, you might be portraying me as a kind of girl who accords top priority to external looks. But this is completely false. I’m writing this because now and then I felt that I’m victimized due to this conception in people. I’m a third year medical student. Having a barely five feet height and a lean body, I feel that I’m treated differently by patients in comparison to my colleagues. While they address my classmates as “doctors”, they don’t even answer my questions while I’m noting their history. It’s clear that they feel a novice kid is interrogating them.

There are a lot of young girls who are depressed and mentally disturbed because they think they are not pretty enough. They harbor an inferiority complex within themselves. The time that they should spend on studies and pursuing their passion is indeed wasted on petty worries about their looks. You rarely find a dark lady on Facebook. Thanks to new android phones and photo editors, everyone looks fair and white. People are reluctant to show their real faces. Many girls don’t eat adequately and are on a diet because they think having a zero figure makes them beautiful. Boys too are more concerned about their hair style and outfit.  And we hear stories of celebrities squandering millions in plastic surgeries to stretch a muscle of their lips to make them look thicker and sexier or to stretch the eyelashes.

Having a beautiful soul is more important than having a beautiful face. We should stop judging people by their looks but should rather judge them by their inner attributes and their talents. Uprooting a stereotypical belief is indeed a tough nut to crack. But change should begin from oneself.

Feel good about yourself. Always remember Bruno Mars’ lines “…you're amazing/Just the way you are”.

(Subedi is a third year student of MBBS at KIST Medical College)

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