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Tuesday, October 27, 2020

A social experiment: What if I told you that you are beautiful?

The reactions of this selfie generation when called beautiful will surprise — and move — you.

Updated: December 13, 2015 8:38:10 pm
beautiful experiment screenshot correct (Source: YouTube screenshot)

The word ‘beautiful’ has so much power that it carries the burden of marketing the entire cosmetic industry. Some feel beauty lies in the eyes of the beholder, while others in made-up, photoshopped images of celebrities. There has also been a huge backlash against the word as feminists set out to bridge the looks divide. And when was the last time you heard a man being called beautiful?

As an 18-year-old high school student, Shea Glover got an insight into the complex psychology of beauty, through a device as simple as a camera. She just set out to capture the beauty of the people around her. Over time she noticed something interesting in their reactions. She decided to record their reactions on video without them realising it. See the result here:

Being called beautiful was received with embarrassment by some subjects, and gracefully accepted as a compliment by some others.

“That is so nice,” said one girl. “Now you’re making me blush,” came from a boy. Most smiled sheepishly — clearly self-conscious. One girl’s reaction was one of total disbelief.

The element of surprise, though, was present in almost every reaction.

“A lot of people don’t like to think of themselves as beautiful beings, especially adolescents, so it made them visibly vulnerable,” Glover discovered.

“Unfortunately ‘beauty’ as in physical appearance is valued so highly in our society, yet talking about our own beauty is taboo.” Glover — now a university student — rued.

In a generation that has been described as the most narcissistic — thanks to the barrage of selfies on Instagram — their reactions were surprising indeed.

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