WOW Word-Of-the-Week #368: Vanity

August 24, 2011 by  

Vanity – extremely proud of one’s appearance or accomplishments.

Do you remember Carly Simon’s song, “you’re so Vain?” Do you think vanity is a good thing? If you exercise regularly would you say you do it for your health? Or to keep your weight in check? Or both?

Ironically in this week’s LA Times Health section they featured an article titled, “Vanity Can Be Healthy Asset: Exercising to maintain good looks is great because it helps you stay in shape.” James Fell writes, “The desire to look good can be a powerful motivator for achieving health and fitness.”

Gordon Patzer, a professor of business administration at Roosevelt University in Chicago, is the author of six books on the physical attractiveness phenomenon. He says, “People are hard-wired to strive to look better because it brings benefits throughout life, be it in mate selections, employment opportunities, salary or life in general. There is actually a ‘beauty premium’ paid to good-looking people. On average in the U.S., they make 5% more than average-looking people, who in turn make 10% more than those deemed unattractive. So anyone who transforms from hippo to hottie can expect to earn nearly 16% more a year. No wonder beauty is such big business.”

“While many people state they are pursuing fitness for health reasons, the truth is that these are often secondary to their desire to look better.  In the back of their minds they’re killing two birds with one stone. And it can be a lasting driver. It will keep us going back to maintain our new look.”

Then today in the Business Section of the San Diego Tribune another article titled, “Turning Back the Clock: Baby boomers to spend billions to counter aging in a potential bonanza to industry,”  talks about the 70 million baby boomers who have the “forever young” mindset and  “who are seeking to keep the dreaded signs of aging at bay” spend $80 billion a year on anti-aging products. They predict it will jump to $114 billion by 2015.

This week’s focus is on vanity. Is it time to start exercising so you will look and feel better? Are you concerned about keeping the “dreaded signs of aging” at bay? Are you looking to make a career change? Do you see any way these predictions can help you in your business?

Reader Responses

“We all like the idea that people compliment us on our new haircut, shirt, shoes, etc. It is human nature that we enjoy having people pay attention to us every day. Vanity is not a problem until it becomes narcissism. That is when our attitude gets in the way of relationships. American society has always prized the thin and the young. None of us likes to let ourselves go, where our bellies are hanging over our belt buckles. Let’s face it, that is not attractive. People who do take care of themselves and have a positive self image are more likely to look good physically and to dress well. It shows that they care and take pride in their appearance. As for aging, we can still look continue to look good and take care of ourselves as we age. Frankly, I look forward to the coming years. Now, my wife, Kristen, worries more about my graying hair. But I don’t really worry about it. As I remind her: “I’m just growing into my good looks!” Susan, we are a part of the largest demographic in the U.S. And while it is an aging demographic, it is one that is living much longer and has many more disposable dollars than any other segment of the American population. And some of us can use those extra dollars to have some surgery done. And if they choose to do so, that is their prerogative. For me, I will just let myself age gracefully and naturally, while taking care of myself and appearance at the same time. Life is great. Let’s have some fun! Great word, Susan. Take care.” – “Warrior” Joe


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