In America 1 in 3 women think the way they look is more important for their self-esteem than intelligence or job performance.
Students said they would rather marry an embezzler, a shop lifter, or a drug smuggler than someone who was obese.
And 11% of them would abort a foetus if they knew it was genetically disposed to obesity. It’s perhaps no surprise then that fat women are 20% less likely to get married than slimmer ones.
Now Deborah Rhode, the Director of Stanford University’s Institute for Research on Women and Gender, has published a book; “The Beauty Bias: The injustice of Appearance in Life and Law”. In it she asks such searching questions as why they spent more on Sarah Palin’s makeover and personal shopper than on a foreign policy advisor? She discovered that good looking teachers are considered better educators and that attractive lawyers earned 12% more than their plainer colleagues despite being no more competent.
I’ve posted on this topic before, about tallness, attractiveness and earnings and about “erotic capital” and how (usually) women can exploit their looks. Taking a slightly different view Rhode refers to the “bloopsy” effect which is where beautiful women, especially those with big breasts, are considered dumb even if they have a PhD. Attractive women have been known to be sacked for being too attractive.
But so have unattractive or ugly people and research shows that ugly criminals get longer sentences – one way to beautify the neighbourhood I suppose. Now it’s being suggested that you could be sued for calling people ugly or not attractive enough for a job. Don’t HR people and the diversity police have enough to do?
Updated 14 July 2010: Anyone watching last night’s Channel 4 programme “The Ugly Face of Beauty” would have been horrified by the sight of operations that went wrong. Or of an England footballer’s relative wanting to have the UK’s biggest boobs (double J) plus an unnecessary liposuction on her size 8 body.
But the really scary part was that 50% of 16-21 year olds say they would like plastic surgery. “Boob jobs” are the most popular in the UK at around £3,000 (but only £800 in Cuba) with many unscrupulous, not to say unqualified, clinics offering surgery as part of a holiday package. Next week: “tummy tucks” that end up looking like shark bites!