In Ancient Egypt fashion was a sign of wealth and upper class. However, their beauty had a more significant reason. For example, French researchers suggest that the ancient Egyptians’ heavily painted eyelids did more than attract admirers—they also protected against eye infections. According to ancient Egyptian manuscripts, the eye makeup was believed to have a magical role, in which the gods Horus and Ra would protect wearers against several illnesses. Evidence from ancient Egypt in documents and artifacts showed that men and women from servant to queen all wore black and green powders around their eyes.i Fashin was very important to Ancient Egyptians, it was showed in the tomb scenes that the clothing and styles were worn and adopted by lower class people.
Just like Ancient Egyptians, today’s culture is also obsessed with beauty, but the biology of the brain and how humans process beauty explains the reason. Anjan Chatterjee in his TED talk explains that our visual brain that is tuned to processing faces interacts with our pleasure centers to underpin the experience of beauty. These studies suggest that our brain automatically responds to beauty by linking vision and pleasure. These detectors that help us recognize beauty rise as we see something or someone beautitful.iii This natural response to beauty can influence humans to seek after beauty and try to become more beautiful.
However, he also gives two examples of how beauty can be stereotyped to two different classes, “beauty is good” and the ugly side of beauty. We automatically assume if something is beautiful it is good, or a person that has as good look is smart, intelligent, kind, hard working. Unfortunately, if someone has a minor problem with their looks are assumed to be less good and not as intelligent or smart or hard working. Because of the stereotype, attractive people receive all kinds of advantages in life. Given that they have good looks, they’re regarded as more intelligent, more trustworthy, they’re given higher pay and lesser punishments, even when such judgments are not warranted, whereas the uglier side is the opposite. We need to understand these kinds of implicit biases if we are to overcome them and aim for a society in which we treat people fairly, based on their behavior and not on their looks.