Ugly Londoners

According to research published in the Guardian carried out at the University of Westminster by a couple of psychologists, Viren Swami and Eliana Hernandez – perceptions of wealth are linked to perceptions of beauty.

And according to the article  I am among the ugliest people in London!


Of course, the study is interesting from the point that the wealthiest boroughs were most favourably perceived.

The findings shed light on how people come to think of others as attractive, the researchers claim. “There are two things this brings out. First, perhaps people in affluent areas have fewer disadvantages in life, smile a lot more, are less stressed and maybe they are seen as more attractive because of that. But secondly, the more important thing is that the rich get to control perceptions of what is attractive. Extreme thinness shouldn’t be attractive, but the rich in this country propagate that ideal through the media. The rich usually decide what is attractive for us culturally,” said Swami

The research paper can be read here, but for a price I couldn’t afford to pay – still I don’t need to, I can already see that where I live is right at the bottom of the list! I shouldn’t say this, but I’m almost proud.

Image via Wikipedia

Francis Galton.

The research was inspired partly by Francis Galton which was considerably less scientific as he writes in  his autobiography (the quote from which is directly taken from The Galton Institute)

“I may here speak of some attempts by myself, to obtain materials for a ‘Beauty Map” of the British Isles. Whenever I have occasion to classify the persons I meet into three classes, “good, medium, bad,” I use a needle mounted as a pricker, wherewith to prick holes, unseen, in a piece of paper, torn rudely into a cross with a long leg. I use its upper end for “good”, the cross arm for “medium,” the lower end for “bad.” The prick-holes keep distinct, and are easily read off at leisure. The object, place, and date are written on the paper. I used this plan for my beauty data, classifying the girls I passed in streets or elsewhere as attractive, indifferent, or repellent. Of course this was a purely individual estimate, but it was consistent, judging from the conformity of different attempts in the same population. I found London to rank highest for beauty: Aberdeen lowest.

“Memories of My Life”, p 315

So it could be worse I could be living in Aberdeen…

8 thoughts on “Ugly Londoners

  1. Hmmmm….now I know that if I see a man standing around poking holes in a piece of paper, I should put on a little lipstick and smile! : )

  2. Thanks Reas 🙂 I wouldn’t like to comment, Wardbunny – the Scottish side of my family might not appreciate it – although saying that, I’m absolutely sure Aberdeen is much wealthier than it was in Galton’s day thanks to the oil… so it possibly wouldn’t be faring so badly now.

    And that’s funny, Lady – I’m not entirely sure that Galton would be someone I’d be desperately keen to impress though 🙂

  3. I was going to make a smart comment about Galton and prick in the same sentence but thought it would be juvenile. I wondered if he ever looked in the mirror with his cross at the ready? Perhaps the idea that affluence affects beauty is as much to do with the fact that in the upper echelons of society there’s more effort made to appear in the way you think you should (whether that’s how you are or not), rather than appear as you are (behaviour as well as looks)?

  4. i think the article explains that it isn’t about beauty as much as perception of beauty. People think that people who are wealthy are more beautiful – and people from areas that they are from!
    As for Galton, well, apart from him pin-pricks he was also is the originator of the idea of eugenics so I don’t feel any great sympathy for him..

  5. Well I am bloody gorgeous and I am from Yorkshire!! (OK I lied but I really am from Yorkshire!) 🙂

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