Why Do We Always Assume Beauty And Intelligence Are Related?

Flickr / nmoong
Flickr / nmoong

Whether people assume smart means ugly or pretty means stupid, I’m tired of people making the association of appearance and intelligence. Why do we often assume if you care about what you look like it is the only thing you care about or give time and effort to? Who says that a girl or guy who looks good on the surface has nothing beneath it? Appearance and intelligence are not necessarily related, but people often assume that they are.

You won’t know what’s beyond a person’s outer appearance until you get to know them.

After all, your outer appearance is just that, an appearance. It is the cover of the book, and you know what they say, “Don’t judge a book by its cover.” So then don’t judge a person based on their looks. Most people don’t judge an “average looking joe” and say oh that person must be dumb and superficial. So then why would you assume these qualities on a blonde with big boobs? Or a man with bulging biceps? Until you have a conversation with that blonde bombshell, or that muscular hunk you don’t truly know what’s below their surface. That big-breasted blonde may be a mathematical prodigy, a lyrical genius, a brilliant botanist, or maybe she will confirm your assumptions and be a bore, but until you delve further beyond her outer shell you’ll never know.

Reality television: a not so real representation.

Media may be shaping our attitudes to make such assumptions. The rising popularity of reality television may have a lot to do with why people associate appearance and intelligence, or lack there of. One of the earliest reality television shows, “The Simple Life,” starred Nicole Richie and Paris Hilton working on pig farms in stiletto heels with full hair and makeup saying phrases like “That’s hot.”

For the sake of entertainment, we are presented with this image of superficial celebrities who seem to spend a lot of time on their appearance, and they are thrown into situations that make them appear to be nothing more than their hair extensions and fake eyelashes. But these representations projected by reality television are damaging to our assumptions about intelligence and beauty. I don’t know Paris Hilton or Nicole Richie personally, but when I see these attractive women shoving their hands up a cow’s butt saying, “That’s hot,” it doesn’t exactly leave me with the impression that they have a lot going on upstairs. So then I’m left to associate glamour with a lack of intelligence. We shouldn’t use these socialites as examples to form opinions that associate outer appearance with inner stupidity. Let’s step into the real world and get to know people and then form our opinions.

Beauty may go skin deep but a good heart or good brain doesn’t always reach the surface.

Intelligence is beautiful. Everyone has different opinions of what beauty really is. So why are beauty and intelligence separate things? Maybe beauty is intelligence and vice versa. Why is it a rare occurrence for someone to be “beautiful” and smart? This is all a bit cliché, and asking people to not judge others based on their appearance is like asking for world peace. But if you can take the extra minute to look beyond the surface, for just a moment, you may realize that there’s a lot more to a person than their external appearance. So next time you see the nerdy guy with Dad shorts and a goofy smile maybe take a minute to chat with him before you assume he’s a dud. We all know ourselves inside and out, but others often see the outside and don’t bother to discover deeper. TC mark

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