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Wednesday, July 13, 2011

The Beautiful People

At the pool yesterday, I was laughing with my neighbor about "the beautiful people" and their preferences when it comes to dating.  I'm seriously impressed by the self-confidence; as well as a little mystified by some of the expectations, that come along with beauty.  Did you know there's a dating site just for Beautiful People?  A few years ago in Dallas, the 'Beautiful People' had "The Beautiful Room" - where if you were a guy willing to shell out some $$$?  You could hang out with women that had been voted in as beautiful (and also pd $$) based off of skimpy photos... and meet-up around Dallas to drink/have drunken photo shoots.  The thought process with both aforementioned organizations is that 'beautiful people' wanted to be around 'beautiful people.'  I only knew a couple members - the girl wasn't beautiful, in my opinion.. but she was a drug-addict.  Seemed an expensive price-tag to pay to be surrounded by a very superficial, fleeting version of beauty.  In my own dating life I've noticed a major uptick in the number of strangers (2) who see fit to address me as "gorgeous," "beautiful," and/or "sexy." (3)  In dating, I think this trend to the Beautiful is a) nothing new and b) basically Social Darwinism.  I guess the truth is that people want to be around beauty... whatever we each consider that to be.

Moving on, recently I was talking in a Recruiting Chat about how so many people these days are misguidedly sending in photo resumes... do they do this in an effort to connect?  Do they think they're among the "Beautiful People" & think Hiring Managers will think so, too?? While studies show that if you are indeed attractive, you're more likely to be hired... Hiring Managers I talk to?  HATE. THIS.  Personally?  I just might be pretending like your resume never hit my desk to avoid a the potential of a discrimination suit, thanks.  In a #TChat on diversity, I had a side-conversation via direct message regarding how being Beautiful seems to get one a leg up when applying for Sales roles... It's definitely a different slant on diversity hiring.. eek!  Shoot, in some of the employment agreements I've seen? (1)  Appearance standards for hair, paws, claws, and makeup were written into the agreement.
It's the Beautiful People They Want... 
The Beautiful People They Love...

In truth, I think we all know it's a stereotyping of sorts.  Social Psychologists have noted this effect as "what is beautiful is good" - it runs along the same lines as the "halo effect." Basically, it's this:  We believe that those are good looking are good in other areas - career, virtue, cooking, whatever... we impress upon them characteristics we desire in ourselves and want them to have.  We form an impression that they're good, happy, BETTER based off the level of their attractiveness.  On the positive side, this can be something of a self-fulfilling prophesy; if we think someone is good, smart, and has a great personality - ya know, the INNER beauty... we treat them differently.  We naturally expect they'll live up to our expectations and so, well... they do.  #Winning!  ... Right????

This social bias towards the beautiful will help you get ahead in your career, too... if you're considered to be among them!  I read an article recently where I learned that for every added inch of height, employees can earn an additional $789/yr. See Friends?  I told you those 5" heels would help me get ahead in my career... ha!  Incidentally, I also learned that it wasn't male interviewers that tend to foster 'beautiful biases' in hiring.. it's actually women.  As a gender, we're guilty of being more apt to give favorable packages to those that could be considered 'eye candy.'  ;)  (4)  Conversely, hiring managers of the male gender tended to give out more 'low-status' job packages overall & only had an emotional response when giving an attractive woman a lower-status package.  Wonder why that is??  Whatever the reason, does this mean I should hope a woman interviews me if I ever need to interview again??

All of the beautiful people...Shining like diamonds
They got no problems...

Yes, being beautiful can have some fantastic perks in the workplace - make more money, advance faster  in their careers, and people go out of their way to help those they find attractive.  (5)  So, where does that leave those that are decidedly less than "glamazonic?"  Not out in the cold, fortunately.  The truth is that the same study found that "business legends" were of 'average height' and deemed 'average looking' & almost anyone can "improve their attractiveness" through the asserting confidence, maintaining eye contact, listen well, and my personal favorite?  Dress well.  Yes, I DO see this as yet another excuse to go shopping for cute new shoes from White House Black Market... that will add another $3k or so to my annual earnings. ;) (6)

Those? Are some Beautiful Shoes!!

(1) NOT the ones I've consulted on/helped draft, btw
(2) Read:  strange men I don't know
(3) Lest you people think I'm totally stuck-up? -I- do not consider myself to be among the ranks of "The Beautiful People" from an appearance standpoint.  Don't get me wrong, I know I'm cute; but I'm not a glamazon. :p
(4)  Read about the Study  This study is the first application of EDR to examine the influential role of beauty, status and sex during job negotiations. “From a business point-of-view, there is a need for leaders/managers to be aware of their assumptions in decision-making processes, be they strategic or operational, and that they may be prone to emotion and bias,” say the authors.  From http://www.blackwellpublishing.com
(5) up to 18% more than those people deemed "Plain" - Thank you CNN
(6) What? I love White House Black Market!  For 6 more ways to capitalize on "the Beauty Premium?"  Read This

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