Physical Appearance

What Constitutes Physical Appearance?

Physical appearance or the combination of facial features that constitute a person’s individuality is a significant factor in determining how the person is perceived in human society.

Physical appearance is often regarded as a measure for judging attractiveness and sensual appeal and recent studies show that it is instrumental in maintaining relationships, making new ones, getting a job, inspiring confidence or other feelings of either positivity or negativity and also for individuals to decide their self-worth.

Aspects of Physical Appearance

Physical appearance is an amalgamation of special features or qualities that confer superiority, distinction, merit, perfection, virtue and beauty to a person.

Sociological Aspect

Physical appearance can determine the attractiveness of a person and is dependant of an individual’s perception of the physical traits of an individual human person or a group, race, or type of people. This judgment of attractiveness is based on physical appearance as a whole or individual feature and distinctive traits and is partly universal to all human cultures, and partly decided by individual preference.

Anthropological Aspect

The difference observed by humans in judging their male or female counterparts on a day-to-day basis is largely dependant on their physical appearance. In fact, anthropologists believe that these observations, made in context with humans in society are an important factor in the development of personality and social relations, especially the factor of physical attractiveness. They claim that even though there is a relatively low sexual dimorphism between human males and females in comparison with other mammals, human beings are acutely sensitive to variations in physical appearance. Some anthropologists link this with the theory of evolution. Darwin’s theory of evolution laid emphasis on the individual variation within a species and defined the function of that person within a social setting.

Psychological Aspect

Psychologists have taken a leaf out of Darwin’s book and furthered this thinking by introducing to the world enamored with physical appearance, the Trait approach. This trait theory focuses on the heritable traits, which determine behavior and result in particular characteristics developing and types of individuals. According to Gordon Allport, a 1937 or thereabouts existing scholar, physical appearance initiated, guided and formed adaptive and expressive behavior.

The most capable source for understanding how people's natural or existing traits affect the responses of the society lies in the examination of the traits with which people are born and physical appearance is the most notable among these. Psychologist believes that physical appearance affects the environment and determines how people in society will treat an individual in much the same way as their personality does. In fact, studies prove that specific elements of appearance like hygiene and selection of clothes that are also functions of personality, determine physical appearance, which in turn affects the environment that in turn affects personality.

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