Are Beauties Bad for Business? Ban the Bias

Could beauty be a business liability? According to a recent edition of Harvard Business Review, it just might be. Well, if you are a woman that is. Professor Lead D. Sheppard of Washington State University and Stefanie K Johnson, an associate professor of the University of Colorado Boulder, published a study that showed how people will rate more attractive women in the workplace as “less truthful, less trustworthy as leaders and more deserving of termination than their ordinary-looking counterparts.” (“For Women in Business, Beauty is Liability”) Haven’t we heard that beautiful men and women have a leg up in business? I’ve written about this in a number of past posts (“Hotties Get More For Free” and “Did Newsweek Get It Right?” to name a few.) The article does point out that other studies have shown women rated high on the appearance scale did benefit from being seen as more competent. While that too reflects bias, I can see how that makes sense, i.e. if you assume those women who care for their appearance may also care for their work. But to assume anyone, based on their looks alone, is more or less truthful and honest, is disturbing, to say the least.  

Was it the methodology that was out of whack? Doesn’t appear that way. The professors had participants in the study read fictional articles about certain people with their photos attached, and then these participants were asked to rate the honesty of the people featured. The articles were quoting leaders explaining why certain people were laid off due to economic conditions (vs anyone’s failures). While the content remained the same, the pictures changed. There were pictures of more or less attractive men and women. Attractive men were regarded the same as unattractive men with regard to the different attributes. Not so for women.

The professors attribute some of this bias to our long history of believing women use their attractiveness to lure men. (Scary that this STILL is so deeply embedded in us.) Another reason for this bias is the long history of some women using their attractiveness to compete for men to climb social and economic ladders. Think beauty contests for example.

Many would argue that attractive people have it easier in life. There have been studies showing how attractive people get more attention, higher salaries for example. But that’s based on bias too! I’m so thrilled to say that we are now living in time of pushing to bust our biases, and a call for inclusion ALL people — all genders, ethnicities, backgrounds, in our schools, offices and media. But there are many other forms of bias we have to be aware of too. And women’s appearance, especially, is one of them. Let’s start by recognizing this is an issue, and remind ourselves that ALL people deserve a fair chance. Sexism is NOT ok. End of story.

Weekend Observations: We Really Do Look Younger as We Age!

Take a look at this pic!  Yes, that’s me in 1995.

Yikes!

My mom found this photo from my college year book.  She was surprised that she had never seen my it.

Hmmmm, I wonder why!!!!!

Look at the suit and pearls…I’m 20-something going on 50.

Wow, there’s no question styles (and photographers) are better today.

I have nothing more profound to say on the subject other than if you want to feel really good about how you look today, there’s probably no need to go shopping, get a haircut, or get a make-over.   Just go through some old photos.  You’ll be amazed at how sexy, cool, and beautiful you are now!

Weekend Observations: It’s Time for a Make-Over!

No, I’m not going on “What Not to Wear” or anything like that (th

ough I am getting my semi-annual haircut this week, yippee).

Beautyskew is getting a major make-over!If you’ve been following the blog, you probably have noticed some delay with the posts.  Well, we’ve moved hosts and soon we’re going to be changing our look.

Why a makeover?  For one thing, it’s the American way.  We Americans love progress.  We believe in the power of transformation.  Make-overs are examples of that.  We can go from ho-hum to beautiful with a few snips, a couple of new outfits and a change of lipstick.  (See our post, Britney: An American Icon for further dicussion on that topic.)

Another, more functional reason?  Upgrading the theme, i.e., the look of the blog, will both enhance the feel of it and permit us to do cool stuff on the back end which will help us understand how to improve the user-experience for you.

Please be patient with any weirdness you may encounter with the blog as we prepare for the big reveal in a day or so.  Hopefully you won’t notice many differences until then.

In the meantime, I’ll post my new “do” after my haircut on Tuesday.

Hope you’re looking forward to our new look!

🙂

Weekend Observations: It's Time for a Make-Over!

No, I’m not going on “What Not to Wear” or anything like that (th
ough I am getting my semi-annual haircut this week, yippee).
Beautyskew is getting a major make-over!If you’ve been following the blog, you probably have noticed some delay with the posts.  Well, we’ve moved hosts and soon we’re going to be changing our look.
Why a makeover?  For one thing, it’s the American way.  We Americans love progress.  We believe in the power of transformation.  Make-overs are examples of that.  We can go from ho-hum to beautiful with a few snips, a couple of new outfits and a change of lipstick.  (See our post, Britney: An American Icon for further dicussion on that topic.)
Another, more functional reason?  Upgrading the theme, i.e., the look of the blog, will both enhance the feel of it and permit us to do cool stuff on the back end which will help us understand how to improve the user-experience for you.
Please be patient with any weirdness you may encounter with the blog as we prepare for the big reveal in a day or so.  Hopefully you won’t notice many differences until then.
In the meantime, I’ll post my new “do” after my haircut on Tuesday.
Hope you’re looking forward to our new look!
🙂

Weekend Observations: What Women Have That Men Don't

If men have sports, we have beauty.  In other words, even if they don’t know one another, men can strike up a conversation around sports and it could last hours.  Whereas women from all walks of life can launch into discussions about beauty and it can keep them chatting for the rest of day.
OK in many ways this is SO cliché.  After all, plenty of men actually ready this blog…a big “thank you” to all of you!  And I’ve written about the growing interest among men in their beauty.
But, let’s face it, there’s still a difference between men and women in the attention they place on and the excitement they have for all things beautiful.
What I didn’t expect, though, is how bonding the topic of beauty is among women.  In fact, when I first launched the blog, I was sensitive that maybe a lot of women would shy away from wanting to discuss it because it could be regarded as old fashioned or superficial.  And, indeed, a few do change the subject when my blog comes up.
But for the majority, the blog and the topic of beauty is an ice breaker.  For example, while I realize the importance of networking, I wouldn’t call myself a “natural networker.”  But I had one of my typical Luxury Marketing Council networking events this weekend, and I had to play the part.  The first hour or so felt stiff, but as soon as I was able to gracefully (or maybe not so gracefully) work my blog into the conversation, the vibe loosened up and a sense of excitement, passion, and authenticity among the different women I met started to materialize.
You could argue we women bond around beauty because society oppresses us all with the expectations on how we should look and smell.  But my take is that beauty binds us because it’s creative, transformative and fun!

Weekend Observations: What Women Have That Men Don’t

If men have sports, we have beauty.  In other words, even if they don’t know one another, men can strike up a conversation around sports and it could last hours.  Whereas women from all walks of life can launch into discussions about beauty and it can keep them chatting for the rest of day.

OK in many ways this is SO cliché.  After all, plenty of men actually ready this blog…a big “thank you” to all of you!  And I’ve written about the growing interest among men in their beauty.

But, let’s face it, there’s still a difference between men and women in the attention they place on and the excitement they have for all things beautiful.

What I didn’t expect, though, is how bonding the topic of beauty is among women.  In fact, when I first launched the blog, I was sensitive that maybe a lot of women would shy away from wanting to discuss it because it could be regarded as old fashioned or superficial.  And, indeed, a few do change the subject when my blog comes up.

But for the majority, the blog and the topic of beauty is an ice breaker.  For example, while I realize the importance of networking, I wouldn’t call myself a “natural networker.”  But I had one of my typical Luxury Marketing Council networking events this weekend, and I had to play the part.  The first hour or so felt stiff, but as soon as I was able to gracefully (or maybe not so gracefully) work my blog into the conversation, the vibe loosened up and a sense of excitement, passion, and authenticity among the different women I met started to materialize.

You could argue we women bond around beauty because society oppresses us all with the expectations on how we should look and smell.  But my take is that beauty binds us because it’s creative, transformative and fun!