Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Comeliness vs Charisma

Comeliness - the quality of being good looking and attractive
Charisma - a personal attractiveness that enables you to influence others

Besides being two of the attributes one rolls for in Dungeons & Dragons, what is the significance of the two. What is the difference. And more importantly, which is a more valuable personality characteristic to possess. While these questions are, by definition, gender neutral, I would like to discuss them as they pertain to women. But first, the standard disclaimer:
I am a guy. I have been a guy for over 44 years. While I have known women throughout the span of my lifetime, like all men, I have never really known women. Therefor all of this is conjecture on my part.
Now that that's done, let's to it.

Do women who look attractive attain higher status than those who don't? The answer to that is, of course, yes. It's been known for quite a while that we, as humans, tend to favor attractive members of both genders. But how far can you get on looks alone? Can a woman with an abundance of charm, whit, intelligence and social skill achieve a high status? Let's take the two extremes and theorize some results.

1) A woman with exquisite beauty, like Sophia Loren or Halle Berry and an ordinary, pedantic personality
2) A woman with a plain, unspectacular appearance and the personality of a Bette Davis or Katharine Hepburn

One way to judge this might be to look at historical and current women in positions of power. If we take a sampling do we find anything of interest?Here we have four powerful women who are, to put it politely, not known for their attractiveness. They are, however, powerful personalities. On the flip side of the coin, would someone like Paris Hilton or Anna Nicole Smith[2] be able to achieve positions of authority and power like the former? And what about women who have both great physical beauty and charismatic personalities? One would think that they would have the greatest potential of all. However, it seems that this is not the case. You don't find many drop dead gorgeous women in positions of great power. Why is that? Could it be that even with a Charisma of 15 or better, women who have high Comeliness scores are never seen in the same light as women with average (or lower) scores[3]? My belief is that this is, indeed, the case. Women can get so far on beauty but at a certain point, that very same beauty becomes a hindrance. This is the same phenomenon as the stereotypical "Dumb Blond" or "Dumb Jock" in my opinion. We, as humans, classify people by how they look more than anything else. It happens to both genders but it seems to me that women have it a bit harder in this area.

It would be intriguing to get the thoughts of some women on this topic. To bad only Erat and I read this blog.

[1] That article is the inspiration for this post.
[2] No, I'm not providing links. Google is your friend. Besides, you can't turn on the TV or radio without hearing about them or others of their like.
[3] Character ability scores in D&D are Strength, Dexterity, Constitution, Intelligence, Wisdom, Charisma and Comeliness. They usually range from 3 to 18, discounting any modifiers.

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