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  • Neil: Hello and welcome to 6 Minute English. I'm Neil.

  • Alice: and I'm Alice. Have you er... gained some weight, Neil?

  • You're not looking in great shape.

  • Neil: I'm afraid so! My New Year's resolution is to get in shape

  • or to get fit through physical exercise. I look fat, don't I?

  • Alice: Well... er... Did you overindulge during the Christmas holidays, Neil?

  • Neil: I'm afraid I did, Alice.

  • Overindulge means to have too much of something nice like all that lovely Christmas food!

  • Alice: Yes, lovely. Why do you think appearance is so important to us, Neil?

  • Getting in shape is a very popular New Year's resolution

  • that's a decision to do or stop doing something at the beginning of the New Year.

  • Neil: Good question. Well, I think we all judge people according to the way they look.

  • Alice: The subject of today's show is appearance or the way we look.

  • Did you know Neil that better-looking people tend to be judged by others as more intelligent?

  • Neil: That sounds unfair!

  • Alice: I know. Well, show us you aren't just a pretty face by getting today's quiz question right.

  • From a study done in the UK, which physical aspect of their appearance were men

  • most likely to say was their favourite? Was it...

  • a) their hair? b) their face?

  • Or c) their height?

  • Neil: OK, I'm going for a) hair. I like my hair.

  • Alice: You have lovely hair, Neil.

  • Neil: Thank you.

  • Alice: And a lot of it.

  • Neil: Yes.

  • Alice: Anyway, we'll find out later whether you're right or not.

  • Now, it's not only people who make quick decisions about others based on the way they look.

  • Some animals do this too.

  • Peahensthat's a female peacockprefer male peacocks with lots of eyespots on their tail.

  • Neil: Why's that?

  • Alice: Well, one theory is that a male peacock's tail is a sign of his genes.

  • Genes are part of the DNA in a cell that controls the physical development and behaviour of an animal.

  • It takes lots of energy to grow a big tail, and to carry it around, so only the strongest,

  • healthiest males can afford to do this.

  • Neil: So what do men need in order to attract women, Alice?

  • Alice: A deep voice and a square jaw, according to research.

  • Neil: Well, let's listen now to fashion historian Amber Butchart describing what men used to do

  • to enhanceor improvetheir physical appearance.

  • Amber Butchart: Men quite often would wear corsets throughout [the] 18th Century even

  • into the 19th Century. It was possibly concerned with displaying status and rank rather than

  • what we now define as physical attractiveness but I think the two were very bound up together.

  • Alice: This was Amber Butchart. A corset is a tight-fitting piece of underwear that squeezes

  • you in and makes your waist look smaller.

  • Neil: I didn't know men used to wear corsets!

  • That might make you talk in a high voice

  • and that wouldn't be very attractive, would it?

  • Alice: Well, no, Neil. It's a very interesting look and sound for you...

  • On a more serious note, Amber says that men weren't wearing these uncomfortable garmentsor clothes

  • just to look more physically attractivethey were also doing it to display their status and rank.

  • Neil: Status means the professional or social position of a person in relation to others.

  • And rank is another way of saying the same thing.

  • Do you think we still dress to impress, Alice

  • or are things a bit freer than they were in the 18th Century?

  • I'm a jeans and T-shirt man, as you know.

  • Alice: Well yes, indeed, you don't have to be suited and booted for our job

  • and that means smartly dressed.

  • But I think the way we dress is still important.

  • But for women, particularly, I think we dress nicely for ourselvesnot for anybody else.

  • Sometimes I put on make-upnot because I'm going outbut because it makes me feel good.

  • Neil: You always look nicewith or without make-up, Alice.

  • Alice: Thank you, Neil! That's very nice. But let's listen now to academic Philippa Dietrich

  • from the University of the West of England, Bristol, talking about valuing ourselves

  • for all our attributesnot just our appearance.

  • Philippa Dietrich: This focus just on appearanceon looksreally sends people the

  • ideas that their bodies are just objects to be looked at.

  • Having a belief system

  • or focussing on your values in life or other attributes or personality characteristics or interests

  • or anything else that's not to do with appearance is really important.

  • Our bodies are not there to be looked thatthey have functions.

  • Neil: What Philippa Dietrich said makes sense to me. We need to focus on our inner beauty.

  • What do you think, Alice?

  • Alice: Well, I think you should stop posting selfies on social media then, Neil!

  • Now here's the answer to today's quiz question.

  • I asked: From a study done in the UK,

  • which physical aspect of their appearance were men most likely to say was their favourite?

  • Was it: a) their hair? b) their face? Or c) their height?

  • Neil: And I said a) hair.

  • Alice: And you were wrong I'm afraid, Neil! It's c) height.

  • A poll conducted by ComRes for BBC Radio found that when it comes to appearance,

  • men were most likely to mention their height

  • 21% of them in fact said it was their favourite physical attribute

  • whereas for women, 35% of them said their hair was their favourite thing.

  • Neil: Well, forget about my hair, Alice - I'm tall too, OK, so... you can tell us the words

  • we heard today, please?

  • Alice: Here they are:

  • get in shape

  • overindulge

  • New Year's resolution

  • appearance

  • genes

  • corset

  • garments

  • status

  • rank

  • suited and booted

  • Neil: Well, that's the end of today's 6 Minute English.

  • Happy New Year everyone and we hope

  • you keep your New Year's resolutions! Please join us again soon.

  • Both: Bye.

Neil: Hello and welcome to 6 Minute English. I'm Neil.

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A2 UK alice appearance hair physical amber rank

BBC 6 Minute English December 31, 2015 - The Way We Look

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    Adam Huang posted on 2016/02/09
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