READING THE COMPASS: Figuring Out What It Is That Makes People Attractive to One Another – Or Not

It’s more complicated than you might think. That’s the conclusion The Decision Shop, a research subsidiary of Backer Spielvogel Bates, comes to in assessing what constitutes ‘attractiveness’ today. Good looks certainly matter, especially when men are rating women. In fact, 58% of men and 71% of women agreed with the statement, ‘How I look is an important part of who I am.’ But the research (surveying the Consumer-Link HBA Consumer Panel) concludes that ‘attractiveness is a very complex issue indeed, and far from one dimensional.’ The report says people assess each other (and themselves) by an ‘Attractiveness Compass’ composed of nine elements: Outer Beauty, Inner Beauty, Body Image, Creativity, Power, Fantasy & Aspiration, Confidence, Physical Fitness and Individuality. On the matter of Confidence, men and women had quite similar responses: 82% of men and 78% of women agreed with the statement, ‘I can do just about anything I set my mind to’ while 81% of men and 83% of woman said, ‘I have a great deal of self-respect.’ Since we value in others the qualities we value in ourselves, says the report, it becomes clear that a good body and a dazzling smile get us just so far toward rating as ‘attractive’ unless the non-physical virtues are present as well. So how important do men and women feel their Inner Beauty to be? We’ll save that morsel for next week’s issue.
Copyright Adweek L.P. (1993)