The Downside To Being Attractive? It Might Work Against You In Male-Dominated Workplaces
It's probably true that attractive people have an easier existence. Not only are they treated better by the masses, but good looking people make more money, are more likely to receive bank loans, and they benefit from increased confidence that leads to higher levels of success. I mean, would you rather lend a couple thou to Hodor or Candice Swanepoel? Exactly.
Turns out, though, that being attractive does have its disadvantages: a study set to be published in the Journal of Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes suggests that in traditionally male-dominated fields, being a hot lady is a detriment, and there's really only one way to combat it: by acknowledging out loud the biases that could be lurking in someone else's head.
Several decades ago the "beauty is beastly" effect proved that, within the workforce, a pretty face and a traditionally male-dominated field didn't mix. The more attractive (whatever that means to you) the woman applying, the less likely she was to be hired for that position, despite her capabilities.
This new study has shown that one way to neutralize this effect is to own it verbally, touching on the fact that less women might work in that industry or that one's appearance differentiates her from other workers a la, "I'm aware I'm not what you typically see 'round these parts Fred, but..."
Here's where things get a little fuzzy.
To carry out the study, two women participated in a controlled setting; one who the study described as "unattractive" and another described as "attractive."
Let's just pretend for a moment that that's appropriate.
When the two women handled the interview without acknowledging stereotypes, the "unattractive" woman was favored, but when she acknowledged her gender, she was less favored. It was only when the "attractive" woman acknowledged her gender and appearance that she gained a notable edge on the competition.
There are other social ramifications of hotness: it's been proven that when judging people of the same sex, we tend to see more attractive people as less talented. We also often attribute success to the physical attributes of others as opposed to their abilities, stripping them of legitimacy and competency they may deserve.
So here's the issue: while this study is openly discussing and analyzing the very real social implications of either being hot or not, it's also validating the fact that it's a woman's job to counter the stereotypes herself, as opposed to the interviewer's job to check his biases at the door.
We all know it's a pain in the arse when gorgeous people complain about said gorgeousness: "Oh man...I'm so not looking forward to the Christmas season. I just hit 125.6 pounds. Not good, teeheehee." Their hair is likely blowing in the nonexistent wind and glowing in the moonlight as they utter comment after eye roll-inducing comment. So could acknowledging attractiveness really get people on your side? No matter what their motives, the ultimate verdict when bearing witness to such blatant displays of false self-deprecation is best described as fifty shades of nope.
So are we supposed to validate and respect this behavior in the workplace?
It's true that this study is interesting and informative, but it's also perpetuating the same idea that there are multiple campaigns out there trying to combat: why are women always apologizing?
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