(Note: what follows is NOT an opinion piece, nor is it supposed to be a debate)
It is NOT a product of "civilization" or "society" or even an acquired taste or moral, it is a part of our instinct, deep entranched into our genes. And social psychology has studied it to such lengths that it would be foolish now to claim otherwise.
For instance, it has been demonstrated that newborns react better to attractive faces than to unattractive ones.
It is, indeed, unfortunate and immoral, however it's just another instance of life sucks ... well, depends whose life, of course.
To add insult to injury, it has also been shown conclusively that:
- The power of attractiveness ranges way beyond sexual issues
- Its power is largely inconscious
- People tend to attribute completely unrelated qualities to attractive people, and deny them to ugly ones -- such as honesty: most con artists are good looking. It's part of how they gain the trust of their victims.
- Children, from their early age, may be extremely prejudiced by their ugliness without anyone realizing what they're inflicting on them
And the reason for this lies, of course, in natural selection, because attractiveness *somehow* reflects reproductive potential.