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Wednesday, August 17, 2011

"Face" It: Beauty - Truly - Is Power

And this is borne out in research.

(Photo above courtesy of

This post represents a fitting complement to my previous one. (

After all, while I generally scoff at how physical attributes are valued over one's intellectual capacities or emotional maturity, it is a (sad) fact of life that having this currency - beauty - makes the bearer's life much easier, richer (and I mean that in a financial sense) and more exciting - compared to someone who doesn't carry the "cash".

We've all known this fact since we were young: People who were on the attractive side tended to get much admiration and leeway from authority figures, and were probably the most popular kids from our memory vault: It's rare that someone was well-known back then other than for beauty - unless you were the school druggie who dropped out (you can achieve fame or notoriety, which would be flip sides of the same coin). When we pore through yearbooks or discuss school nostalgia, inevitably we find ourselves thinking about who were the most good looking ones.

It's a good thing to learn that fact early on, because even as adults, we remain ensnared with the potency of beauty's touch - and what this actually translates to in real-life terms.

 As Ken Eisold, Ph.D., writes in Psychology Today, quoting research conducted by Newsweek, ""Handsome men earn, on average, 5 percent more than their less-attractive counterparts (good-looking women earn 4 percent more); pretty people get more attention from teachers, bosses, and mentors." (

And here I thought the only way beauty was translated to actual monetary gain was either through beauty pageants or the escort service industry.

Besides, who could forget the claim of  90's "supermodel" Linda Evangelista, who (playfully) claimed, "We don't wake up for less than $10,000 a day."? ( Is it a wonder then that countless others wish to partake of the "modeling pie", where you are basically paid for how you look, walk or are seen in designer clothes? When I hear of models whining about how hard their "job" is, I have had to stifle the urge to get a barf bag: How hard can a job be when it only demands that you be the luckiest person in the genetic lottery? Where's the "work" in that? Either you have it or you don't, period.

If you aren't part of "the lucky ones", don't despair: Beauty is available in a jar - or so they claim. Cosmetic companies - with revenues in billions of dollars - promise to wipe away the years off your face - for a fee, of course, this isn't a charitable project. Slick advertising portrays the opportunities and doors that will be opened to you if you are considered "beautiful". And just like what PANA (Philippine Association of National Advertisers) claims as its' byline, there really is "Truth In Advertising".

Directly quoting from the Newsweek research mentioned above that surveyed 202 corporate hiring managers, as well as 964 members of the public, this is what they found: "Fifty-seven percent of hiring managers [said] unattractive candidates are likely to have a harder time landing a job, while more than half advised spending as much time and money on ‘making sure they look attractive' as on perfecting a résumé. When it comes to women, apparently, flaunting (our) assets works: 61 percent of managers (the majority of them men) said it would be an advantage for a woman to wear clothing showing off her figure at work."

This reminded me of the survey that my friends from the UP School of Economics conducted - they won that year for the best undergraduate thesis university-wide - where they presented actual HR (Human Resources) managers with two equivalent resumes, one with a more obviously physically attractive appearance - and overwhelmingly, the "prettier" candidate always got  the (hypothetical) job when asked "which of these 2 candidates would you hire"?

I have had to think twice about knocking those who lean too much on their beauty to get ahead in life. When scientific research is practically unanimous in announcing that beauty is an actual advantage in the workplace - other than the jaw-dropping awe everyone exhibits upon seeing a near-perfect specimen of humanity - it may be time to stop writing beauty off as a factor that is merely trivial or frivolous.

Upon closer inspection, it may spell the difference in getting the job or not.

1 comment:

  1. sad but true.

    This is why people who are not lucky with genetics tend to work harder and turn out to be the better worker/employee.