In a world where we can change our appearance with the click of a button here, or the drag of a slider there, how much does physical attractiveness matter in Second Life?
This is our topic for our next Basilique Salon – Wednesday at 1PM SLT. (SLurl)
You might ask, do looks even matter in the real world? Well, like it or not, if you measure what ‘matters’ by job prospects and income, appearances matter greatly.
In the US, an attractive person (male or female) has a 16.6% better chance of getting a call back after a job interview than someone judged less attractive. On the job, attractive people earn 10% more than unattractive people. Over a lifetime, attractive people earn $230,000 USD more than their unattractive workmates.
Researchers have established that attractiveness ratings are positively correlated to facial symmetry – how similar our features line up on either side of your nose. Statistics show that people earn 8% more salary with each standard deviation increase in facial symmetry.
The average weight of women in the US is 164.7 lb or 74.7 kg. Women who weigh 30 lb (13.6 kg) less than the average earn 33.7% more than women who weigh 30 lb more than the average. Women weighing 70 lb less than average earn $62,000 USD whereas women that weigh 70 lb more than average earn $21,500 USD. While you can chalk that up to other factors (e.g in the UK, for instance, lower education correlates with a higher BMI in nearly the entire female population), consider that the average salary for an adult who is 6’0″ (182.9 cm) is $51,880, while the average salary for an adult who is 5’1″ (155 cm) is $40,000 USD.
The style of make-up you wear affects how you are perceived in the workplace. Women who wear “glamorous makeup” are considered more competent, more reliable, more attractive, and even more trustworthy than women who wear natural or no makeup at all.
No doubt about it, appearances matter, and barring healthy lifestyles or plastic surgery, there is little we can do to trade in our genetic lottery ticket.
In a virtual world, however, we can be as attractive as we want to be. Virtual plastic surgery is as accessible as the appearance window. Flawless skin is as expensive as a cup of coffee. Is this the future we crave, where perfection is actually attainable, even if only skin deep?
How has the power to make ourselves ideal affected our Second Lives? Are attractive avatars more successful, more social, or happier? How do we perceive attractiveness in the virtual world? Are we aware it’s a facade? How do we perceive ourselves when we can look as perfect as we want? Are we fooling ourselves? And why, do some reject this notion, and not bother with appearances at all, or even go the other way? Do they know something the rest of us don’t?
Join me on Wednesday, 1PM at the Basilique Club where we’ll discuss these questions, and more. Both men and women are welcome to have their say, on attractiveness and Second Life.
- Statistics quoted from the American Psychological Association, Smart Money, Princeton University
- The photo above was generously taken by Wendz Tempest, and is part of a special project I’m working on to collect photographic expressions of a single subject (me) by amateur Second Life photographers – more to come later.