When Being Beautiful Might Count Against You

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By Bettina Chang

Beautiful people, as a rule, have it pretty good. They tend to have more self-confidence, higher income and better financial well-being than plain-faced or downright ugly people. They’re also rated as more socially and intellectually competent. But one way attractive women, in particular, suffer is when applying to jobs that are stereotypically masculine.

While this phenomenon (known as the “beauty is beastly” effect) was first discovered 30 years ago, researchers didn’t exactly scramble to find solutions for this not-so-oppressed minority. Luckily, the modern sexy woman need not despair — a new study shows that simply acknowledging your attractiveness can hold this type of discrimination at bay.

Researchers discovered that acknowledging one’s sex and attractiveness causes evaluators to rate women as more masculine.

It may sound trite, but the “beauty is beastly” effect “demonstrates a subtle form of sex discrimination,” according to a paper currently in press, to be published in Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes. Researchers used a technique that has been shown to mitigate discrimination against those with disabilities–by simply acknowledging the stereotypes that evaluators may hold.

In the first study, undergraduate students rated “employment suitability” of four different candidates for a construction job, one of whom was a woman, —> Read More Here


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