Social capital maintained based on appearances???
This week’s articles really got me thinking about the kinds of relationships and social capital I maintain, keep and/or manage with my friends, families and acquaintances on and offline.
Starting the Hancock (2007) article on online dating I was concerned about what the gender differences might represent on the values we prefer as a society. However, I was pleasantly surprised to find out females, no more than males, tended to deceive their counterparts only slightly that the deceptions (such as height and weight) would not even be recognizable by the naked eye. Though it was interesting that women lied more about their weight more so than men did and men lied more so about their height than women did. I believe this is because there are different kinds of expectations for women than men in our society. Females are expected to look thinner, tidier, prettier, cleaner, etc. more so than what is inherently expected for males in modern society, at least, in my opinion. As a female I catch myself in surprise judging females if they are overweight, sloppy at times and making up excuses for men if I spot them with a beer belly, with a stain on their shirt, with a bushy, unkempt hairstyle in the morning, etc. What does that say about what we came to believe whether consciously or subconsciously of how we are “expected to appear in public?”
“Extensive research in sociobiology and evolutionary psychology suggests that men and women use different strategies for enhancing their reproductive fitness, according to the requirements of their biological makeup. In general, men look for youth and physical attractiveness in their partners, whereas women look for ability to provide and indicators of social status, such as education and career” (Hancock, 2007, p. 450).
This is EXACTLY why women are more likely to care about their appearances because that is what men, in general, look for in women. Ahhhh what a pity! However, such an interesting study, I must say.
As I started to tie Hancock’s article with Ellison’s (2007) article I wondered if we were more likely to try harder to maintain a relationship and therefore social capital with people based on their appearances. And then I got a little scared.
FB is a unique tool for me and obviously many people find it fascinating, useful, fun, etc. I find it useful because it allows me to maintain many “weak ties” and bridging social capital as Ellison (2007) describes. When I took a closer look at whom I maintain the online to offline relationship with I realized that a lot of my friends were attractive, accomplished men and women. Obviously the scale of attractiveness is very different person to person but it made me wonder…am I self-selecting whom to hang out with because of what I might be perceived as by hanging out with certain types of people with certain looks and resumes?