If You’re Pretty, You’re Hired

“Your résumé is impressive, ma’am, but we regret to inform you that you are too pretty for this job.”  We’re all aware that beautiful women have certain advantages in society, but could beauty be a burden when it comes to job hunting? Not as much as the media hype would like us to believe, a recent study proved looking good helps both women and men. The research determined that the only time attractive females may find themselves at a disadvantage is when applying for blue collar male-dominated professions, such as a truck driver.

In the ’70s and ’80s, researchers put forth the “beauty is beastly” theory, which asserted that beautiful women were handicapped when it came to obtaining traditionally male careers.  Because these results are still disputed, professors from three American universities sought to obtain more conclusive data on the topic.

The professors recruited a couple of groups of university students to serve as the subjects.  Provided with a list of jobs, the first group estimated the gender breakdown of each career by percentage. These subjects then rated the importance of a candidate’s physical appearance for each job. Meanwhile, the second group examined photos of Caucasians from a college yearbook, ranking each individual on a 1-7 scale of attractiveness. Afterwards, they rated the suitability of these same people for particular jobs based solely on their appearance in the photograph.

The study conclusively showed that attractive people were considered better for employment for all of the jobs on the whole. Attractive men are the most fortunate group of people, deemed suitable for all jobs regardless of whether the jobs are considered feminine or do not require good looks. As for the women, the research did not support the “beauty is beastly” effect; overall, the subjects gave pretty women high ratings for their aptness in even masculine careers.  However, researchers did notice that these women scored more poorly at stereotypical male blue collar jobs in which attractiveness was not important.

Attractive people need not worry: overall, beauty is helpful to both men and women when applying for the majority of jobs. Nonetheless, on the occasions when beautiful women apply for stereotypically male careers that do not require good looks, such as construction workers, they are more likely to be considered an unsuitable candidate. Beauty may not be as “beastly” as previous research suggested, but it can be a burden for women attempting to defy gender norms in the workplace.

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5 Comments

  • I worked a manufacturing job a while back where the manager did this. Hired and promoted females he thought were attractive (several of them were not). It didn’t matter if they worked hard, or even knew anything about their own jobs. It was easier for him to praise all females in general, and yell at the guys for not working hard enough. Don’t get me wrong. We had females that worked very hard and are still my friends a year after leaving that job, but when a manager creates a new position that never existed before because a “pretty” girl cannot perform in any other area? Then you terminate the worker next to her that knows what he/she is doing, works hard, and has a family just like you? Don’t even try to tell us you care about the company or production efficiency at that point. We know. Anyway, I heard he was fired yesterday for sexual harassment or something along the lines of that. Had he not been fired, I imagine stripper poles would be installed in the shop within the next few years. 2 more cents.

  • there is nothing wrong in my book when a stunning woman wants to work. it’s when they are painfully aware of their physical beauty it becomes old news. i’ll stick with a woman that is decently fit with some curves and a down-to-earth personality over the barbie doll anyday. i’ve already been in my share of professional environments with the super model types, and you can’t hold a regular conversation with them most of the time, and you will never get anywhere with them personally… if you were interested. of course there are those that break the mold, i just haven’t found one yet. $0.02

  • I think attractive males/females do have an head start while they are young. And the study appears to have used university students, whom I assume are mostly young approximately 18 – 25 give or take. However I wonder if this study would hold up with attractive females in the 35’s & up. My bet is that if a man is attractive in his mid 30’s all good, but if a women is attractive she could be viewed as an ‘attractive alternative’ thus either a potential home wrecker or competition? Therefore would it not be reasonable to suggest that an equally competent but more average female would be preferred at this age group, as she wouldn’t rock the boat for both female & male employers and other employees.

  • I never believed in multi vitamins. Recently, however, I was having an anxiety attack (Due to stresses of life) and my wife made me take the Dr. Max Powers Men’s Multivitamin. Within an hour it had calmed down my brain. The first day I took it I started to feel much better: thinking clearer, breathing deeper (didn’t expect that to happen)feeling just plain better. I must’ve been very defeicent (spelled wrong?) in vitamins! I had no trouble swallowing them though they are big pills. (sip some water, hold in mouth, add pill to mouth and swallow! Works better than dry swallowing.) I love the digestive enzyme effect because it really works. Oh, and I’m only taking one a day.

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