Thursday, May 05, 2005

On The Mark -- Ugly Duckling

One has to wonder about some of the “mediagenic” research studies that are conducted. I remember a study of corn-on-the-cob users several years ago that cost something like $350,000. How do you eat your corn-on-the-cob? If you eat it straight across in rows then, according to this study, you’re a thinker and reserved. If you eat it in circular fashion, then you’re the creative type. If you eat chunks of the cob randomly, well, you’re psychotic. The next time you’re at a singles BBQ, you might want to see how the person you’re checking out is eating their cob. Otherwise, I really don’t see where this kind of study merits that kind of dough.

Anyway, the latest one is on beautiful vs. ugly children. “Ugly Children May Get Parental Short Shrift” is the headline in the current issue of Science Times. Basically, the ugly kids were not watched as carefully and got into trouble, while the beautiful kids got all kinds of supervision and attention (particularly boys). I believe the study is supposed to show how this affects kids as they grow older.

Admittedly, I haven’t seen the study or reviewed the methodology. But I’d really like to know what the criteria were for determining a beautiful kid vs. an ugly kid. Was it an American Idol kind of thing where judges determined which category the kid belonged in? Were the researchers ugly or beautiful? I can remember many times in my life when I’ve said, “Wow, that woman is gorgeous,” and a friend would say, “I don’t think she’s that great” and vice versa.

Plus there’s the issue of ugly kids who grow up beautiful. How many of you have experienced the moment when you see a niece or nephew for the first time in 10 or so years (7 vs. 17 years of age, for example) and can’t believe it’s the same person because they were cute as a kid but ugly now or the other way around?

So this study gets lots of press because it’s “mediagenic.” But who cares?


B2 said...

My three daughters are all shining examples of gorgeous children, and will (therefore?) be overwatched, oversupervised, overparented, and oversheltered -- lucky them!

The Misanthrope said...

It would be very interesting to see who granted them the money for such a study -- maybe a cloning company or cosmetic surgery co-op.

The Misanthrope said...

I just heard on NPR this morning that the survey was done in supermarkets for a four year period. They observed how parents interacted with their kids. This study does not even deserve mention by the media. You nailed it once again, this is just a mediagenic study that means absolutely nothing.