Let’s talk about fairness.
I just read a post in the New Yorker (Does Beauty Drive Economic Success?) about a new study that correlates the good looks of newly appointed CEOs to a rise in their companys’ stock prices. This study follows a long line of studies that show how better looking people enjoy more economic success than less attractive folks.
The post proceeds to add comments by cultural theorists, like Naomi Wolf, condemning the “unfairness” of looks-ism in the workplace.
Now, come on.
Successful business people share a lot of qualities beyond looks that I find unfair too! I bet you most successful people have a knack for making friends, telling jokes, and speaking in public. I wish I could have some of these traits.
EVERYONE is going to have a set of gifts that will raise them to great heights. Is that fair? Just today, as I was watching my daughter kick ass at fencing, I thought to myself: “Wow, I wish I had her ability to maneuver my body the way she does.” She was born with a physical intelligence that I will never have. Is that fair? Of course!
Being better looking isn’t something we should be judged on exclusively, of course. But having it be a component of our overall package isn’t shameful.
And if you want to talk about fairness, being 20 lbs overweight or bald does not nearly compare to being raised in an underprivileged household, being born in a poverty-stricken country, or being severely disabled. Think these folks will have it easy being successful in business? Now that’s unfair!
Let’s get real here. If we’re all so worried about not being successful because of how great (or not) we look, then hone another talent or skill. Nobody gets by via looks alone. It’s a package.