How Noticeable are Your Flaws… Really?

What is a flaw really? Okay, Okay we all know what a flaw is, I guess the question I am really asking is when does a flaw, turn into something else? Something like a signature- I cite
Lauren Hutton’s gap between her teethimages-1


or Padma Lakshmi’s scar on her arm,
or singer Seal’s facial scars, images-3
or Joaquin Phoenix’s hair lip, images-5
or Tina Faye’s facial scar. images-6
Cindy Crawford was told by several modeling agents that she would never work with that mole on her face (go figure).
For these people things once considered unsightly, have with time been transformed not merely identifying signatures, but also carry a bit of mystique with them. They set these people apart, give them an edge and draw us in, begging the question “How did that happen?”
Now for the average person who does not make millions of dollars to be in the public eye, it might translate into a different story altogether. These “flaws might us self conscious, we might devote a great deal of time and money devising ways of camouflaging them.
I recall how shocked I was when just after the end of Sex in the City, It girl Sarah Jessica Parker got her mole removed. I thought to myself “Why after all of these years, and years in front of cameras would she get it removed now?”. I felt a little betrayed, here’s why:
Sarah Jessica Parker is less than a “classic beauty”.  In her early career she was often cast as the nerdy girl (Square Pegs), but she has that soft, vulnerable, wispy voice and a waifish but hour-glass, buxom figure so, as she matured even though her face was not classically beautiful she had an allure, she was quirky and sexy (think The First  Wives Club) she played a quirky sex kitten. Then she became the icon of a generation of women who were single, sexual, and wore open toed shoes all year round in NYC, with Sex in the City and Carrie Bradshaw, Sarah Jessica Parker made a quirky, oddly attractive, Jewish girls Hot! (not to say the weren’t before – but in entertainment). I liked the fact that she (both Parker and Bradshaw) were not Hollywood, model girl “perfect”. Okay but let me look at that, she was blond(ish), skinny, big, boobs,….well you know what I’m saying, her face threw the whole equation off- it’s longish, with a long nose (a Hollywood no-no) kind of masculine, and then there was the mole…Blogs called her all sorts of horrible things, horse face, witch, you name it. But the thing that I loved about SJP is that she was like the Teflon actress, no matter what mean spirited cyber-bloggers said about her, women (and men loved her). Women wanted to be her (or at least her size so they could raid her closet) and men wanted to date her, or at least sleep with her. Either way “horse” face or “witch” mole- SJP was the girl to be…
In my mind, being that IT girl, being on the cover of fashion magazines, scoring coveted beauty campaigns that she would feel…perfect, or at least be fine with her appearance… but then she had the mole removed. I have been at this body image thing long enough to know that no one no matter how thin, tall, beautiful, rich or famous is immune to having issues about their appearance… but that having been said, I have to admit I took it personally.
But here’s the thing… After a few months when it was award season or what have you, there were a slew of red carpet pics of SJP, there she was swathed in couture and mole-less, and I didn’t even notice… for all the emotional upheaval, I completely forgot that the “signature” flaw was absent! Which leads to the subject at hand, how noticeable are your flaws ….really?
Clearly our flaws are things that mainly bother us. Often when pointed out to other people they almost always say they had never noticed it until, well until we pointed it out (and we always think that they’re lying). If you think about it there things that when you first meet someone you might notice, but after getting to know them they fade away behind their personalities and the relationship. That overlapping tooth, scar, mole, even acne (if that can be considered a flaw) can disappear when they become the familiar. If we look at “flaws” and things that are just different, instead of imperfections then perhaps they might not hold so much power, and instead of limiting us they can make us limitless and singular!!!!
check out the study
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The Study:
The spotlight effect in social judgment: An egocentric bias in estimates of the salience of one’s own actions and appearance.
The Researchers:
T. Gilovich, V. H. Medvec, and K. Savitsky
Published In:
Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, Vol. 78(2), pp.211-222, 2000

Others rarely notice our flaws.

You know that hugezit you’re obsessing over? Stop worrying. According to this study on a psychological phenomenon called the “spotlight effect,” people don’t notice your self-perceived flaws as much as you think they do (if at all!).College students were asked to wear t-shirts plastered with images of “embarrassing people” like Barry Manilow and Vanilla Ice (which sound rather awesome to us), and walk into a room full of people. The students thought the others would notice their shirts much more than they actually did. But if students were given time to get used to wearing the embarrasing t-shirts, they thought fewer people noticed them.It seems that our self-perception stems from how much we’re thinking about our looks and actions: the less we’re thinking about it, the less we believe that others are thinking about it.
Beauty connection
Ever agonize over a bad hair day, or hold back in a conversation for fear of sounding stupid? Just remember that others will notice these things less than you think they will. If you’re worried about your appearance, step back from the mirror for a while and let yourself go through your regular routine—getting your mind off of it will reduce your self-consciousness.

Click here to read the full study.