I recently switched from the stock version of Whatsapp to one of the  many modded versions that give you enhanced functionality (GBWhatsapp). One of the added features is that it informs you the moment your contacts come online, when they change their status message, profile picture, etc.

Since moving to this enhanced Whatsapp version, I have noticed that many people change their profile picture quite often. I can tell because GBWhatsapp informs whenever one of your contacts does this. Before you assume, this habit cuts across both females and males.

I hardly ever look at profile pictures, so this is a kind of revelation to me.

The Aim Of Art Is To Represent Not The Outward Appearance Of Things, But Their Inward Significance… Aristotle

Why so much fixation on appearance.?

Back when I was finally convinced to join Facebook about five years ago, people had to keep pressing me to add profile picture (yes, my face is very likely to give the faint of heart nightmares. Being kind hearted, I wanted to spare people that ordeal). 

Someone said,

You can’t be on FACEbook without a FACE! Add a picture of yourself pronto !

Since adding a less scary picture to my Facebook profile, I have not bothered to ever change it in my years of Facebook activity. This could also explain why I don’t understand the purpose of an insanely popular service like Instagram! Or, why an impassioned salivation about the photography prowess of the latest cameraphone  leaves me decidedly nonchalant!

This unending penchant for uploading pictures online is quite surprising. And this prompted me to ask the question, Why We Are So Obsessed With Physical Appearance, As Humans?

Sayings like..

  • You Don’t Get A Second Chance To Make A First Impression.
  • He Who Has A Long Face Should Not Open A Shop
  • You Shall Be Addressed The Way You Are Dressed.

    .. etc..

    .. show us the importance people ascribe to physical looks / appearance.

    I once wrote about the effects of appearance on How You Are Perceived / Treated

    Appearances count for many people because they are the primary source of information we have about a person, especially if we do not have any other information about them (like, at a first meeting).

    Others judge us (subliminally) based on our physical looks, and we do the same, even if subconsciously, say, in the first moments of meeting. This is instinctive.

    Things are not always as they seem; the first appearance deceives many… Phaedrus

    Very true!

    Sometimes our physically_based, or intuitive perceptions / assumptions fade when we get to know the person more … but sometimes our first impressions are confirmed. Our initial perception (for example, “he is arrogant “) becomes confirmed / reinforced, or on the contrary, gets dispelled, depending on subsequent behavior.

    Should You Really Judge A Man By The Strength Or Limpness Of His Handshake?

    We must constantly keep in mind that we can not control some of our physical attributes, just like we can’t always control what others think of us! Whatever our physique (endomorph, ectomoroph, mesomorph), others will think what they want of us (good or bad!). For this reason expending too much  energy in shaping others’ opinion – through too much attention to looks – is often fruitless..

    Why exactly would one be changing one’s avatar on social media perpetually?

    Rather than focus so much attention on outward looks and perception, it may be more profitable to devote much more energy to inner beauty.. developing attributes like dependability, honesty, empathy, integrity and the likes  These, I believe shine through and leave much more lasting positive impression than superficialities like the brand / cost of your apparel, the make of your smartphone and the model of the car you drive!

    I may of course be alone in these introspective musings. Or may be that all the warped thinking is a result of old age, or a dated outlook.

    The Good Part About Getting Older Is You Stop Trying To Prove Anything To Anyone, Including Yourself. All You Are In The Pursuit Of Is Collecting Experiences – Beautiful, Fragile Little Soap Bubbles That You Store In Your Heart, And Every Once In A While You Pull One Out And Gaze At The Delicate Pictures It Shows You… Twinkle Khanna

    Nevertheless, I believe we place too much premium on appearances in judging people, and this could be why the news of people spending a small fortune on cosmetic surgeries may not be so surprising!

    Perhaps I should take a look at Instagram one of these days, and see what’s up? Who knows, one could just get hooked on the trend and start loading pictures too…

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