Why Pretty People Really Do Have It Better

Posted: October 11, 2012 in Other
Tags: , , , , , ,

Every woman knows how hard it is to get ready in the morning. Between the shaving, the plucking, the moisturizing, the fluffing, and the polishing, making yourself beautiful is a big commitment to make before you’ve even had your first sip of coffee. Once you start calculating the amount of time you’ve spent straightening your hair and putting on makeup, you start to wonder if all the effort is really worth it. After all, it’s what’s on the inside that counts. Right?

Of course, but that doesn’t mean we always know it. It’s a stereotype that pervades movies, television sitcoms, and stand-up routines–pretty people are treated differently than their average-looking peers. Unfortunately, this cultural belief has some truth to it. People tend to ascribe positive attributes to the people they view as attractive, rating them as more sociable, happy, and successful than their less attractive peers, a phenomenon known as the “what is beautiful is good” stereotype. This short-cut in thinking can lead to real-world consequences; the effect has been observed with teachers’ perceptions of students, voter preferences for candidates, and even in simulated juries.

Good-looking people are often seen as more intelligent than other people, which can help explain why the “what is beautiful is good” stereotype applies to evaluations of job applicants. The more attractive a job candidate, the greater the likelihood that they will be hired. Though this effect has been shown for both men and women, there are some catches for female candidates. When applying for traditionally feminine positions, pretty women are rated more highly than less attractive women, even when participants are told that their qualifications are the same. However, when applying for positions that are typically viewed as masculine, attractive women are seen as less capable than less attractive candidates.

I guess this means all the fluffing is worth it. Until you get your dream job, at least.

  1. seakist says:

    As an aging woman who was once very attractive and now just a normal looking middle aged lady, I have to put my two cents in.

    Yes, in many ways I did get more opportunities for being attractive, but on the flip side also a lot of people being jealous and always trying to make me out to be a “bimbo” — which I certainly wasn’t.

    I can honestly say now that I’m a middle aged woman, it’s a bit of a relief that I don’t have men hitting on me left and right anymore and that I’m more “invisible.”

    I also love that as an older woman I developed my personality more and I’m funnier and more positive than when I was younger and insecure when people acted jealous (always blaming myself thinking I was doing something wrong because I was so nice and how could that be?) Now I realize some people are just miserable — period and whether it’s looks, or just happiness,

    My point it — jealously goes beyond good looks, so some people (if they aren’t happy with themselves) will think you have it better no matter what, just because they see you as someone who has something they don’t.

  2. Staffan says:

    Good looks correlate with good health and probably intelligence too:


    And obesity, normally thought of as ugly, is not just a matter of health but is also linked to impulsivity which predicts a lot of bad outcomes, like accidents, drug abuse, violence – even when adjusted for intelligence.

    That said, the funniest people are usually very impulsive.

  3. thekittchen says:

    Not to brag about my looks at all, but in my experience a lot of men have assumed I am an idiot because I am attractive. My husband is a successful banker, and many people assume that I am a trophy wife. Often men who have just met me talk down to me. Once my husband’s friend went as far as saying, “We should change the subject to something less complicated”, so I could participate (when I really just don’t care to discuss the economic crisis although I understand it quite well). I think that how you look can be a blessing and a curse, but I promise you that no one has ever told me that I look intelligent. Many people over the years have told me that I am smarter than they thought I was at first glance. (For the record I don’t dress like a bimbo, or talk like an airhead, but I am a natural blond).

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