Lookism, and how to reframe physical unattractiveness as an opportunity

There’s widespread awareness about racism, sexism, ableism, ageism. What about lookism?

I’m surprised that I almost never hear about it. It even has a wikipedia entry: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lookism

When trying to build a personal brand, lookism is a very real thing.

Physically attractive people have a much easier time with getting likes, comments, shares, building fans, getting subscribers.

…as well as getting clients and keeping clients. People want to hang out with physically-attractive people.

A client of mine was just mentioning how she found a fellow career coach on Instagram: a gorgeous woman, yet her tips & advice aren’t that good. Even so, she has many, many followers.

It’s natural for humans to want to give our attention to good-looking people.

Yet that leaves out at least half the population who are, by definition, below-average in looks… such as myself.

I’ve come to terms a long time ago (since middle school) that physical attractiveness is not one of my strengths… it’s one of my weaknesses.

I’m short (5 feet 5 inches) compared to most American men. My (lack of) height probably surprises you because you can only see my face in videos.

I wasn’t born with a perfectly proportionate face. And since I was young, I’ve always had many more wrinkles than other people my age. Even worse now.

As a kid, my personality didn’t help either — I was super shy, scared to speak up in class, was considered nerdy and dorky, and made fun of.

So I’ve had many years to learn to accept myself.

Over the years, I was lucky to be involved in various class situations and groups where I was encouraged to speak up, and to be myself courageously and authentically. That made a huge difference in my ability to build and grow a successful “personal brand” business today.

If you’re able to get into a group class or program of some kind that is exceptionally supportive and nurturing, it will help your confidence if that’s what you need to work on. This is one of the reasons I provide a supportive group program for my clients.

My fans (especially those who watch my videos) overlook my physical appearance and “see” deeper into my message and my spirit.

So I prefer to reframe my weakness as a blessing in disguise:

To succeed, those of us with below-average looks have had to compensate in life by developing our inner attractiveness — our strength of personality — to become more caring, or funnier, or smarter, or more diligent than average.

In marketing, we are given the opportunity to gather true fans who are deeper people — they see past physical appearance, and appreciate the value of our inner characteristics.

It’s no surprise that whenever I gather a community of fans or clients, they always remark how caring one another are. I draw people together who see and care more deeply.

Compared to our outside appearance, developing the attractiveness of our inner self is much more sustainable. While outer appearance keeps deteriorating, inner growth can get stronger and wiser with age.

Admitting to having below-average looks, and learning to accept myself, has liberated me to be more authentically “me” in my content and marketing. I don’t have to try hard to “look good.” I can focus my energy and time on improving my message and delivering it with more impact.

If you were raised with people praising your looks, you might feel like you have to always keep up with your outer appearance, or risk losing people’s appreciation or your value.

There’s a balance to human development.

One weakness can be compensated by another strength.

So instead of lamenting your weaknesses, focus on growing your strengths.

Reframe your handicaps or setbacks as opportunities, and you’ll always keep growing.

Written by

Authentic Business Coach & Author of 4 Books including "Authentic Content Marketing" and "Joyful Productivity" https://www.GeorgeKao.com

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store