[off topic] the beauty ideal

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[off topic] the beauty ideal

Postby Lia S » Tue Mar 12, 2013 11:33 am

Here’s a “fun” experiment: if you’re not at work, do a google image search for “handsome boy” or “pretty girl”.

I learned the following about what might be the average ideal of people with internet access:

  • Beatiful people may be any race, but almost never African-American/black/whateverthepolitewordiswhereyoulive. In fact, more results are dogs (by which I mean the animal). It might be over the top to conclude that the average person with internet access considers dogs more attractive than black people, but still... I’m surprised. I was looking for weight not race.
  • If you change the searches to “handsome man” and “pretty woman”, you get almost only white people. No idea what that means in comparison to the above.
  • Beautiful people are practically always skinny. More often than I expected, even.
  • Beautiful women tend to wear fewer clothes than beautiful men. That was expected but still worth mentioning. Also, “safe search” isn’t perfect.
  • The only famous (enough to be recognized immediately by me) beautiful people in the boy/girl results are Emma Watson, Justin Bieber, and Paul McCartney. I’m not listing all the recognized man results because the woman results are full of Julia Roberts and Richard Gere (guess why) which messes up any comparison one might try to make. Also, there’s a lot of them and I’m lazy.

What do you notice if you try the same searches?

Google is known to adapt search results to what it knows about you, I wonder if others get very different ones.

If anyone has different ideas for easy ways to learn things about the beauty ideal in our culture(s), or just wants to say something about it, I’m interested.

Anyway, humanity kind of sucks.

Val is much better at starting this type of threads
Last edited by Lia S on Thu Mar 14, 2013 11:09 am, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: [off topic] the beauty ideal

Postby mikbuster » Tue Mar 12, 2013 5:15 pm

handsome boy: lots of asians and other light skinned people, few black people, notable celebrities Michael Jackson and Ashton Kutcher, also a few women
pretty girl: similar to above except all light skinned, celebrities include Jessica Alba and a photoshopped Bieber
handsome man: mostly caucasian and it took me a while to get to a celebrity I recognized even though I couldn't name him
pretty woman: you're right, not very useful :)
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Re: [off topic] the beauty ideal

Postby Valerie » Tue Mar 12, 2013 10:35 pm

Lia S wrote:Val is much better at starting this type of threads


Lia S wrote:Anyway, humanity kind of sucks.


Nah, that sounds a lot like me. You're doin' great. <3

Okay, so, what I've noticed, to conclude with your "where are the black people," is that, "Holy crap, where are the black people?"

I searched for "pretty girl," and I swear to you there were only like four black women on that page, and one of those was a singer who has a song called "Pretty Girl Rock," so I think we can count that one as a technicality (though she is pretty).

Meanwhile, OH MY GOD, ASIANS EVERYWHERE. Just in the first six rows, I'm seeing eight Asians. As opposed to like four black women on the entire page.

To drive that point home, here are the demographics for the U.S. (assuming a lot of these results are from the U.S.):
Black or African American: 12.6%
Asian American: 4.8 %
Lia S wrote:Valerie is right.

As usual.


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Re: [off topic] the beauty ideal

Postby Lia S » Wed Mar 13, 2013 4:40 am

I know that in many cultures lighter skin is considered more beautiful than darker skin, but then shouldn’t we at least see some more “light black” people?

Assuming the results are mostly from the USA, could it be that the majority of black people are so poor they’re not talking on the web about attractive people? Or would they use different words than “handsome” and “pretty” and then what might those be? Even so, I’m disappointed by the own race preference people of all colors would have to have to make those explanations possible. It’s more likely that according to the dominant culture black =/= pretty, and I wonder what’s up with that.

OK, I just tried the combinations of hot/beautiful and man/boy/woman/girl, there’s a little more equality in “beautiful woman”, but ONLY in that one. Also, lots of Emma Watson in “beautiful girl”... Apparently she’s the new ideal.

I would also like to discuss weight vs beauty, but that can wait until after figuring out the skin color thing.
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Re: [off topic] the beauty ideal

Postby Valerie » Wed Mar 13, 2013 7:24 pm

Apparently, what I typed up earlier didn't post. :x

You'll just have to settle for what I posted to Facebook.

Go to Google Images (if you're not at work). Search for "pretty girl." You'll see mostly white, quite a few Asians, and about four black ladies. Now search for "sexy woman." Most of the Asians are gone, and now you've got more diversity. More black ladies, Hispanics, and Indians (from India), and still lots of white people.

Apparently, Asians are good enough to be pretty and "above" being considered sexy. Meanwhile, the other minorities are "below" being considered pretty and are only good for fetishizing.

Also, as was expected (sadly), there's a very specific body shape present in both of these sets of search results with little variation.

There is a big difference between being "pretty" and being "sexy," and that is alarming


I also noticed this under "sexy woman." Just uh. To drive home the impossibility of weight standards.
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As usual.


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Re: [off topic] the beauty ideal

Postby Lia S » Thu Mar 14, 2013 11:00 am

Oddly enough google gives me less diversity when I use the term “sexy”, so I guess that the evidence for anything more detailed than “white people are considered the most attractive and black people are considered the least attractive” is inconclusive.

I wonder if there’s a way to push back against this type of racism without objectifying anyone. People who are considered attractive tend to get better jobs and get paid more in equal jobs, and that’s just one of the many advantages of being pretty. On the other hand, maybe the whole problem will go away if people try harder not to judge each other by their looks.
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Re: [off topic] the beauty ideal

Postby Trefle » Thu Mar 14, 2013 11:46 am

in 10 lines of the search results...

pretty boy: Koreans, Zac Efron, Leonardo Dicaprio, David Beckham, Chris Hemsworth, Bieber a lot of white guys... some androgynous guys...There are 4 black guys, and two Indians.
handsome man: Some Indian, an Arab male stock picture, Robert Pattinson, Adam Lambert, Dean from Supernatural, Daniel Dae Kim, some Latino random guys (or guys that looked Latin), a ton of white guys.
hot man: gay kissing! *runs* well, there's Jake Gyleenhall (sic?), Brad Pitt, a Filipino, an Indian..and the rest, all white.
beautiful man: .. One black-ish man, one latino-ish man, and the rest, all white / white-looking. There's Daniel Radcliffe, Brad Pitt
beautiful boy: mostly white; a Korean, there's Zac Efron
sexy man: ...All white, or white-looking. Spied Bradley Cooper, Adam Lambert, Brad Pitt, Ryan Gosling..and Kim Kardashian. WUT.
hot stud: 2 black male, one Indian male, the rest all white / white-looking. There's Nick Lachey
pretty guy: Zac Efron, Brad Pitt, Ron Weasley (...who played him?), two Asian guys, Wentworth Miller (sic?), one Indian guy, one black guy, the rest all white.
sexy guy: One black male. The rest, all white. There's George Clooney, Brad Pitt, Justin Timberlake,
sexy stud: one latin-looking guy, one black guy, Nick lachey, the rest all white. And somehow there are a lot of girls pictures here.
I noticed the word boy tend to evoke less buff guys, while stud, guy, and man basically all muscle and wide shoulders; probably some athletes thrown as well.

pretty girl: White girls, Aishwaraya (sic) Rai, some Asian girls, Justin Bieber with makeup. A black girl. One or two Latina / Latin-looking women.
beautiful woman:
hot woman:
sexy woman:
beautiful girl:
handsome woman:
hot chick
sexy chick

I'll update the post tomorrow, goign to bed now. >_<
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Re: [off topic] the beauty ideal

Postby blue.bear » Mon May 26, 2014 12:35 pm

Haha great experiment :D
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