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Aromanticism and lookism


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Lookism and the halo effect

Before I start let me briefly explain lookism, this post won’t make much sense without some context. For those who don’t know, lookism is a word used to describe the societal importance that looks have in the dating and sexual marketplace. Lookism is also closely tied with the halo effect, basically people tend to believe that looks also determine good personality, physicality, financial security etc. This article goes in depth on the effect https://alchemisjah.medium.com/the-halo-effect-is-ruining-your-love-life-e26e86f3bd9

 

Friendship vs Romantic relationships

I have some articles and studies linked below about the importance of lookism and it’s effect on dating.( It seems to me a lot of the info studies hetero/allo relations) What’s the point of all this? Well, I wanted to pose a question, Do you think aromantics might be more likely to avoid lookism and the halo effect? Do you think lookism and the halo effect would have no significant difference between romantic and aromantic relationships?

 

My opinion

First off it is very difficult to find data on this lookism vs friendship question, not just because you know (the aro part) but because people care more about romantic relationships instead of friendships, therefore they study one more than the other. Qprs and polycules, forget about it, needle in a haystack to find that information. With that being said all I can do for the moment is hypothesize. It seems to me romance has always thrived off of lookism, I mean love at first sight, all the Frank Sinatra songs about a woman's looks I was forced to listen to when I was young at the dinner table, all the rock songs objectifying woman's looks. Also a lot of men probably start working out to get laid, or date someone. 

My limited experience, as a guy who has been friends with other guys, looks never came into the equation. There is a beauty to childhood friendships that enter adulthood now that I compare them with romantic pursuits people take when they get older. I never considered someones look, what mattered was if I got along with them, enjoyed their company, shared similar interests, could be myself around them, mutual respect, etc. I also got along well with my older brother, and that had nothing to do with looks. I am not trying to rat on all romantic people and say they are all superficial. I just think that allo people appear to have a stronger tendency to lookism, and being aro may possibly reduce the evolutionary bias of lookism. We all have some evolutionary biases based on our biology, but it seems to me that since aromantic’s don’t experience romantic attraction, they generally don’t look for romantic partners, and therefore these biases don’t factor in as heavily when compared to allos. 

 

That’s about it... What do you think?

 

(Articles and research on lookism)

(Lookism not just in men, also in women) https://www.livescience.com/58607-mens-looks-may-matter-more-than-personality.html

(okcupid experiment) https://qz.com/241479/okcupid-experimented-on-users-and-proved-everyone-just-looks-at-the-pictures/

(Importance of looks in dating) https://psycnet.apa.org/record/2005-11095-001

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Very good question. You may have a point about aromantic people paying less attention to looks because we are generally not looking for a romantic partner. Personally I don’t care what my friends look like, as long as they are happy with themselves :) 

I remember a conversation with a couple of girls at my gym, about a girl that was not present at the moment. She is insanely fit, barely breaking a sweat when we are all fighting for our lives during warmup. One of the girls complained that she feels so inadequate compared to her and another replied with: ‘Yeah well thankfully she is ugly’. And the rest just… agreed? I was kind of shocked so I asked if they were serious or just jealous. And all of them agreed to being jealous but that this had nothing to do with the fact that they found her ugly… 

I find that hard to believe, but maybe their brains really are wired different to mine?

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On 4/3/2022 at 6:35 AM, Nix said:

Very good question. You may have a point about aromantic people paying less attention to looks because we are generally not looking for a romantic partner. Personally I don’t care what my friends look like, as long as they are happy with themselves :) 

I remember a conversation with a couple of girls at my gym, about a girl that was not present at the moment. She is insanely fit, barely breaking a sweat when we are all fighting for our lives during warmup. One of the girls complained that she feels so inadequate compared to her and another replied with: ‘Yeah well thankfully she is ugly’. And the rest just… agreed? I was kind of shocked so I asked if they were serious or just jealous. And all of them agreed to being jealous but that this had nothing to do with the fact that they found her ugly… 

I find that hard to believe, but maybe their brains really are wired different to mine?

I think that's very much also just being unashamedly rude! Just what?

I definitely believe that it must have some effect - perhaps it's different for aroaces compared to aroallos? I know I've been a bit dumbstruck over a pretty face once or twice...

I think also aros are more likely not to overlook character traits because we're feeling all loved up. I've certainly seen friends over the years either talk someone up or dismiss someone entirely based on some undefinable 'compatability.'

There's also the societal bias we have, just culturally, about certain physical traits. If you've never taken the implicit bias test, I would recommend it:

https://implicit.harvard.edu/implicit/takeatest.html

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3 hours ago, merlindfluorite said:

I think that's very much also just being unashamedly rude! Just what?

Yes, very rude indeed. It still surprises me how harsh people can be about others, I mean why?

3 hours ago, merlindfluorite said:

There's also the societal bias we have, just culturally, about certain physical traits. If you've never taken the implicit bias test, I would recommend it:

https://implicit.harvard.edu/implicit/takeatest.html

Great point! Certain knee-jerk reactions are drilled into our minds since childhood, so they are difficult to surpress but I suppose your ‘second reaction’ is the one that matters. After all, that is the one you express after apllying your own views.

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I think it would make sense if aromantics were less affected by lookism.  Aromanticis is lack of attraction (insert disclaimer about aromanticism being a spectrum), and attraction is based on looks right?  Less attraction = less effect a person’s looks have on our intitial first impression of them.  I don’t think aro antics are entirely immune to lookism though, because society is filled with the idea that looks matter.  It is ingrained in us sort of (that doesn’t mean it’s good tho).  I’m not sure I phrased that right but I hope it makes sense.

I think this is a very interesting conversation and I’m also sort of curious how it relates to asexuality as well, because that is also lack of attraction (again insert disclaimer it’s a spectrum).

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On 4/6/2022 at 5:27 AM, merlindfluorite said:

I think that's very much also just being unashamedly rude! Just what?

I definitely believe that it must have some effect - perhaps it's different for aroaces compared to aroallos? I know I've been a bit dumbstruck over a pretty face once or twice...

I think also aros are more likely not to overlook character traits because we're feeling all loved up. I've certainly seen friends over the years either talk someone up or dismiss someone entirely based on some undefinable 'compatability.'

There's also the societal bias we have, just culturally, about certain physical traits. If you've never taken the implicit bias test, I would recommend it:

https://implicit.harvard.edu/implicit/takeatest.html

I tried it but it seems mostly a concentration exercise

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9 hours ago, Holmbo said:

I tried it but it seems mostly a concentration exercise

Definitely a big part of it - bias can be linked to common pathways in the brain & easiest reactions, which can be linked to concentration. There's some fun explanation on the statistical analysis which I will try to find...

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