Effects on Society


The film Malena, an Italian drama/romance film made in 2000, is set in Sicily in 1940 during World War II. The silent, engagingly beautiful outsider one day hears that her husband has been killed in the war. Malena becomes sad and attempts to cope with the loss of her husband. At the same time, the local town’s folk try to come to terms with this beautiful woman who receives the attention and lustful stares of all the local men. However, notwithstanding the villagers' gossip, she continues to be faithful to her husband. However, she suffers from loneliness and grief. Malena is shunned by the townspeople and especially the unattractive, envious women of the Italian village, who begin to believe the worst things about her, solely because she is beautiful. She gradually falls on hard times and eventually has no money. Malena's poverty ultimately forces her to give in to the greed and malice of the townspeople in that she is forced into prostitution, so enabling the wives' fantasies about her to finally materialise. When the war ends, the women of the village get together and, with feelings of jealousy and hatred, beat and humiliate Malena for all to see. Soon after this episode, she leaves for Messina and obscurity.

There are many examples in history in which an individual may also be singled out for harassment simply as a result of their beauty. This is poignantly depicted in Malena, who is forced into poverty by the women of the village who refuse to give her work for fear that she may "woo" their husbands.

Research studies have indicated that good looking students receive higher marks for their work than do those students whose appearance may be regarded as ordinary. In much the same way, attractive looking patients have been shown to receive more individual care from their doctors. Taking this to a surprising conclusion, studies have even concluded that handsome offenders receive less punitive sentences than their less attractive counterparts.

The aspect of physical beauty may even be influential in respect of how much money an individual earns. This is the focus of one particular study which came to the conclusion that those who were regarded as being physically unattractive earn, on average, 5-10% less than so-called ordinary looking people. Furthermore, the study showed that those who were considered as being good looking were able to earn 3-8% more than ordinary looking people. Such discrimination against individuals solely on the basis of whether they were attractive or not is known as “lookism”.

The concept of lookism is defined as prejudice against other individuals on the basis of their physical appearance. Viewed from another standpoint, it relates to preconceived notions of beauty and cultural stereotyping based on outward appearance as well as expectations and gender roles (which is defined as a set of perceived behavioral norms, associated particularly with males and females, in a given social group or system). Some relevant economic considerations involve the matter of income gaps based on worker’s looks, as well as increased or decreased productivity from workers who are considered to be either beautiful or ugly in the eyes of their co-workers.

St. Augustine is quoted as having described beauty as "Beauty is unquestionably a good gift from God. However, the good may not regard it a great good since God hands it out it even to the wicked."

Beauty – How To Succeed

Author's Bio: 

Peter Radford writes Articles with Websites on a wide range of subjects. Beauty Articles cover History, Human, Society, Mathematics, Philosophy.

His Website contains a total of 75 Beauty Articles, written by others and carefully selected.

View his Website at: beauty-how-to-succeed.com

View his Blog at: beauty-how-to-succeed.blogspot.com