A writer has come with one of the most self-deprecating introduction to a story ever.
“[My looks don’t light up a room,” Lauren Libbert wrote for British newspaper The Telegraph. “It would be more accurate to say they have the impact of a one-bar gas heater in an ice-cool lounge; slightly insipid yet perfectly effective.”
It’s a jokey sort of intro, but she’s addressing a everyday issue in an interesting way.
Libbert’s point is that she’s never been a ‘looker’, and that her life’s been all the better for it. Being sufficiently normal-looking to not scare the horses, but not so beautiful that one’s face is a distraction, is a good thing in the long run, she says she’s realised in her late 40s, and not the disaster it felt like in her teens.
“I colour my (grey) hair every three months, book a brow tint every month and splurge every season on a few key pieces at my favourite shops,” the writer explains. “But my looks aren’t intimidating.” Because of that, other school mums felt comfortable with her, and bosses were happy to have her visit clients, knowing the focus would be on her skills, not her looks.
These are the big questions where you can have your say. We’ll be addressing one each day. This is an open space for discussion about some very confronting debates in out society. How do you feel? What do you think?
And as she’s got older, people have started noticing that she can be funny and clever, as wit, character and intellect start to count for more than the drop-dead gorgeous looks that are the be all and end all for many a young person.
Libbert’s points are all at odds with the reams of research that show that attractive people get jobs faster, are promoted more quickly, and earn more. We also assume that beautiful people are smarter, nicer, healthier and more competent, as plenty of studies have found.
But the key, Libbert says, is that she’s not ugly – people who are notably unattractive often face discrimination, as has been widely noted – she’s just not pretty.
“It took me a long time to understand my power as a woman and how it related – or didn’t – to my looks,” she concludes. “When I catch sight of myself in the mirror now, I’m happy with what I see … Beauty is built from within and I’m a bloody good architect.”
Although a lovely sentiment, it’s not something everyone believes to be the case. Stories of discrimination against people who’re overweight abound, and some say that having allowed their hair to go grey has changed the way people treat them.
“When I was working , I always noticed that the gray haired staff were treated badly/ignored, and often I’d hear people describe them as ‘that old lady’,” one commenter called Stella wrote on Yahoo Answers. “People would imply that the gray-haired ones were ‘past their use-by date’ and not to be entirely trusted to do their job properly.”
Studies even show that adults unconsciously favour cute babies over less-cute ones.