Beauty Works

Friday, July 23, 2010

In a struggling economy with more people competing for the same jobs, how much does the "beauty premium" matter? Jessica Bennett, senior writer at Newsweek, explores the effects of physical attractiveness in the Newsweek special report "The Beauty Advantage".

Tell us what you think about the role of looks in the workplace. Do you think attractiveness is ever a disadvantage? How much do you think it matters when you're job-hunting? Leave your comment below!


Jessica Bennett

Comments [18]

Ryan from Las Vegas

There is a difference in discriminating against someone because they're not good looking and not hiring someone because they don't know how to put themselves together. Male or female.

Jul. 23 2010 01:21 PM
wynn from NYC

I'm a professional female who works for a company, where appearance something takes precedence over other things, because its believed to generate more sales. Something this superficial does become transient if proper demeanor does not follow. A sexy woman has more to prove, such as actually having a brain, but this can be used to ones advantage with tact and grace. Seeking sexuality is inherent in human nature, and held at even higher regard in the American culture. This endowment comes with a responsibility that should women should embrace, rather than feeling victimized in a male dominated workforce.

Jul. 23 2010 11:40 AM
Susan from Manhattan

My cringe-o-meter is off the charts with this show. It is embarrassing to actually listen to sounds like a mediocre undergrad paper and you've opened the doors to a gang of narcissistic callers who want to announce how attractive they are. Please!!!!! Beauty is an smarts, strength, wisdom, education level, etc etc and may actually be more of an equalizer than less. Looks may get you through the door but don't keep you in the room. Enough said. Begging you for better shows than this lightweight nonsense. Move on to matters more worthy of discussion. Please.

Jul. 23 2010 11:31 AM
LJota from NYC

So, what has feminism gotten women/girls? The privilege to talk about porn openly and to wear almost nothing and for young women to sexualize themselves through clothing, etc, and call it all empowerment? The pressure for older women to get plastic surgery so they look younger for the workforce and dating? For young girls to drink as hard as and behave as aggressively as frat boys and call it "gurl power?"

Jul. 23 2010 11:31 AM
Sera from Hoboken

Yeah, but ears aside, Obama is QUITE good looking, you must admit. And how about height? Tall people are notorious "winners" too. An inordinate number of successful salespeople are tall (and often good looking).

Jul. 23 2010 11:28 AM
milna bo from NY metro area

I am a woman who left my job after years of abuse/bullying by a woman boss. She behaved as though she were jealous of me. While I do not think of myself as beautiful, I know there are people who do. My conclusion, after a great deal of suffering and soul-searching, is that she was one of them. She assigned me simpleminded, dead-end assignments, she arranged that I was not able to learn and progress, she withheld raises and bonuses, she publicly made disparaging comments, etc. My overweight women colleagues were not treated that way.

Jul. 23 2010 11:28 AM
Mickey from New York

While this issue is undoubtedly sexist, recall that male politicians like Chris Christie and Bill Clinton were regularly ridiculed for their weight, Obama for his ears, etc.

Jul. 23 2010 11:23 AM
FranciL from New York City

I do believe that if you are young, goodlooking and slender, you will be picked over an older, plain-looking and plump person.
A sad state of affairs, but that's what it is, especially in New York City.

Jul. 23 2010 11:22 AM
Becca from Brooklyn

I had a boss who put up a barrier beside his desk so he wouldn't ogle me from across the room. He told me this much later after we became friends.

Jul. 23 2010 11:21 AM
Estelle from Washington Heights

Beauty or attractiveness is definitely an advantage - I actually was hired for a job that should've gone to another, younger woman who was 10 years younger than I. When I asked my boss, he said he was embarrassed by my colleague and he was afraid of how she would come across when meeting outside contacts. Mind you - this was a behind the scenes job with some schmoozing involved. I am now looking for work and in my mid forties and to up the ante, I've gotten cosmetic surgery and laser eye surgery. I also religiously dye my hair.
I'm also an Ivy League graduate so the combination hopefully makes me even more attractive than someone who doesn't have all of those aspects.

Jul. 23 2010 11:21 AM
jay from ct

what about women who discriminate against other women who are viewed as too attractive?

Jul. 23 2010 11:20 AM

Is this really new? I have a Chemical Engineering degree from MIT. I know when I was hired in the 80s and 90s that my relatively good looks were key.

Jul. 23 2010 11:18 AM
Maaza from Johannesburg, South Africa

I have a generally gender sensitive and enlightened friend who runs an organization in South Africa. He recently told me that he did not hire a qualified woman as his assistant because he thought she was really hot. He figured that if he did hire her, he would have to give up the option of asking her out. So he preferred to give the job to someone else in order to be able to ask the cute woman out on a date afterwards. In this case, looks did not work to her advantage.

Jul. 23 2010 11:18 AM

Did race factor in this? There are good looking people in each race, but there are different standards of beauty and sex appeal among races and ethnicties.

Are we talking about Gossip Girl/Sex and the City white women types in terms of defining what is good looking?

Jul. 23 2010 11:16 AM
elle from brooklyn

I had breast reduction surgery to be free from having an image/being seen as too sexy or sexy in lieu of anything else.

Jul. 23 2010 11:15 AM
WendyWriter from East Village

I remember being at a meeting where someone said, "It's strange to think that the policies and business decisions of the past three years at Company X were mostly based on the fact that everyone had a crush on Tall, Gorgeous Woman Z."

Jul. 23 2010 11:12 AM

So if I am constructing an offshore oil rig or a nuclear power plant, or creating a sophisticated computer program. I am going to hire a good looking average person over a really smart person? And cause a disaster? As Dirty Harry said in the Enforcer "That is a hell of a price to pay for being stylish"

Jul. 23 2010 11:12 AM
Sera from Hoboken

Old news... Looks matter, always have. Good looking people win.

Jul. 23 2010 11:11 AM

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