Discrimination Based on Beauty


I am here for the interview

I am here for the interview - when can I start

There is a picture of a pretty girl on the front page of the job section in a newspaper today. This girl will be employed at the drop of a feather and it doesn’t matter how padded her resume is, or how well she blows her interview.

Pretty girls are always employed before plain looking ones and you only have to look around most offices to prove this. Hundreds of papers and articles on beauty discrimination  have been written by mainly not so good looking women. These jilted women are crying discrimination and are calling for a level playing field and not a big chest. Psychologist claim the bias towards beauty is caused by the halo effect where beauty is automatically associated with intelligence, competence and a good time. “Never underestimate the ‘halo effect,'” says Janice Guler, Ceridian’s director of staffing. “Attractive people are assumed to be intelligent and successful, and it’s been said that as many as 50 percent of managers make their hiring decisions within the first 30 seconds of setting eyes on an applicant. While this is unfortunate, it’s human nature. People have a real tendency to trust their gut, rather than trusting the empirical data.” But less attractive women are also employed since somebody has to do the work and do it well. The less attractive is normally the engine that runs successful companies but the beautiful are always more fun to have around.

An after work Friday lime with the boss

An after work Friday lime with the boss

Some employers facing beauty-discrimination lawsuits are training their managers in the art of  ignoring beauty but short skirts and tight tops are proving hard to defeat. HR Departments are making interviewers aware of  beauty bias but some managers insist life is too short to go ugly.

It’s unfair to ask pretty girls to be attractive, and to strut their stuff from desk, to copier, to the boss’s desk plus do work. It is just too stressful and the last thing anybody wants to do is to stress the beautiful. It’s almost a sin. I am not saying pretty girls are not competent but nobody notices or cares. That is probably another curse of the beautiful.

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16 thoughts on “Discrimination Based on Beauty

  1. Those who hire should have a checklist of job requirements which should include the applicants ability to work with and get along with others. I personally haven’t seen a hire based on attractiveness over qualifications in my 25 years of work. I have, however, seen offices where an attractive woman wear’s an outfit that flatters her figure but within the dress code yet she gets uncomfortable stares from other women in the office who can’t pull off wearing such as outfit. The conclusion I’ve drawn from my experience is that if the majority of women are average looking in the office and there is one who is attractive, the women in the office will ostrasize the attractive woman. If the reverse holds true where a majority of the women are attractive, the attractive women have no need to ostracize the average looking women. This pattern has held true at multiple work locations. It can even go a step further if men talk with the attractive woman because they are then subject to rumors of being ‘sweet’ on her even going as far as stating that their having a “discreet affair” as retribution for talking with the attractive woman. That is why its important to hire based on a job requirements checklist, have a woman in HR also interviewing the candidates, treat everyone equally, have a respectful workplace environment policy where everyone is respected and an effective rumor control policy that addresses unsubstantiated rumors about the company or its employees.

  2. I have seen hiring based on beauty but I won’t say it is common since I have no evidence. But I have seen tons of evidence where hiring is based on who you know, aka a powerful relative. That might not be so bad if the person hired is competent but it seldom is. Competence counts in the end but in the beginning it counts for next to nothing. Beauty and connections are the most important factors in gaining employment for the inexperienced.

  3. HR handles the screening process, only providing us with those applicants that match the job skill sets. No one sees a picture of the applicant prior to this screening process. I see your point, perhaps in family owned businesses there could be some filtering but I have never worked for a company that filtered favorably towards beauty. Perhaps in sales positions a pleasant appearance is a qualification but beauty has not prevailed over competency, not in our sales organization. If your in a competitive market, you can’t afford not to hire those with the skills and ability to perform a function within your organization. I’ve seen under-performing directors cause a loss of not only their job but also the two job levels above, VP & President, this has happened twice! So, it pays to have a good check and balance system to insure that those with only the skills and ability move forward in the hiring process. Does it sometimes pay to know someone in the organization? Sure, but it happens regardless of attractiveness again in my experience. But the real battle is after the hiring process, how well will the new hire fit into the current employee environment. I call it the likeability rule. If certain smaller groups within an organization do not like a new employee for reasons only known to them, they will eventually resort to negative tactics: the silent treatment, veiled comments, insinuations, misrepresentation of the facts, talking over the person in group settings, leading/loaded questions that imply something unfavorable about the new employee, evading answering a question from the new employee, snappy replies, hijacking the conversation, name-calling,etc, it all happens and it happens mostly against attractive women. Why does it happen? I don’t know for sure. One person suggested that its because other women feel threatened that the employee will get more attention than they will in casual office settings. That is just one theory. Luckily, I work for a company that has a “No Negative Tactics” policy. You cannot use a negative tactic period which I really like. Years ago, office sub-groups sort of ruled the grapevine but not anymore! 🙂

  4. I see your point and competence is the factor which should always decide. I imagine if a selection committee had to choose between two candidates (female) and both appear to have equal competence but one is much more attractive than the other the more attractive will be choosen. This may not be a deliberate choice but a subconscious one because we think beauty is goodness and goodness in the workplace is a good thing 🙂 I work in an industrial environment among techie engineers and the turnover rate is high because the work is demanding and requires talent and dedication. There is no room for beauty in this selection process for engineers. At the entry level of say the banking industry, beauty may score some subconscious points in all the interviewers.

  5. Eric and Aka, you both have valid points. Discrimination based on looks does exist just like any other type of discrimination. It does however not exist everywhere, nor will anybody admitt to it.
    Eric you are right, if the majority of women are average looking and there is one atractive woman employed, she will have to face all sorts of negative tactics. There’s nothing worse than a bunch of smallminded jealous women.:-)
    Aka, have you ever thought about that you might support this type of discrimination by posting only pics of beautiful women??:-)

    • 🙂 I had to laugh because I am as guilty as hell. I said on previous post or comment that very soon “ugly” people would go to the Equal Opportunities Commission and cry discrimination by the Miss Universe or Miss World selection committee. Some jobs, like my website, requires beauty and some jobs don’t. But beauty is subjective as is ugly 🙂

  6. LOL aka….its okay…we know your posting pictures to support the premise of discrimination based on beauty and I’m sure its happened I just don’t know the frequency. In my view, someone would have to work at every company to truly know because I believe survey’s would just identify someone’s bias as to what they THINK is happening during the hiring process based on their subjective bias versus actually knowing the selection criteria & results as to why one candidate was chosen over another. But I’m sure it has happened. Again, I think the checks & balances within the hiring process: an HR recruiting staff member selecting the most qualified applicants based on skills and experience, three different individuals interviewing the candidates and strict adherence to following the selection criteria for the given job will keep the candidate selection process relatively free from bias and admittedly, when I look at most offices I’ve worked at this holds true because the employee environment is made up of an equal representation relative to beauty in the population(ie. more non-beauty to beauty in our offices). By the way, my definition of physical beauty is like the beauty pageant types meaning no physical flaws. Attractiveness is another definition for me which is a woman with a pleasant look, a positive attitude, a problem-solver, open-minded, sense of humor, confidence in who they are and seems to love life. She might get down occasionally but she copes and moves on fairly quick. Many of these qualities are the make-up of those who connect well with others in the organization. If I hire a woman with these qualities would I be considered bias? 😉

    • Some might consider a job interview to be a formal form of discrimination where the suitable candidate is selected based on criteria the candidate is not aware of. Technical competence is just one criteria in the selection process and how a person comes across to the interviewing panel is another. No system is perfect and not every competent person will do well in every organization they may work for. It is an organization culture thing. As much as people try to make the system fair, personal bias always creeps in. In the end, the boss rules 😉

  7. The hiring process has both objectivity & subjectivity, no question. You have to be consistent with your subjective evaluation criteria for all candidates by asking those questions that will reveal the answer to the area being evaluated(coping & conflict resolution skills, emotional intelligence, fairness, etc). With three different individuals interviewing the candidates you most likely should have some common conclusions however, beauty or attractiveness is not part of the subjective criteria discussed.
    Mostly, I disagree with your premise “Pretty girls are always employed before plain looking ones and you only have to look around most offices to prove this”. Looking around offices actually shows , in my view, there are way more average to below average looking women in offices than pretty ones.

    Here is my theory: Most non-pretty office women are addicted to drama. They make life difficult on the pretty women. It gives these non-pretty women an adrenaline rush to see the confidence of a pretty women reduced to at or below their own level of confidence. They also like to spread false rumors about any guy who speaks to a pretty woman at any length. The goal is to get the guy to not speak as often to the pretty woman which further ostracizes her.

  8. Men need something from women and woman need something from men.

    Something that not all girls know, is that, for men might be very easy to lie speaking sweet words without feeling guilty. And this is not known until some bad consequence occurs.

    In my case, I think that girls support this falsehood, if just searching vain stuff as outer beauty.

    I note with sadness how some girls just listen, and trust in a false reality, and they choose to do so.

    There are so many “little things” that stimulate the man that many women do not have the slightest idea of “all messages sent through them”

    Men are stimulated visually. Since the trend in women is more to romance, feelings, when the man on the other hand tend more to react to what they perceive their eyes. I do not want to say this man is not romantic, or that do not give importance to their feelings, no, I want to emphasize is that their sexual response is much faster than the women with what is perceived visually.

    The design that God created for man and woman is written in the Bible.

    The importance of knowing the nature of our bodies and their reactions is not excluded in the Bible, this design does not dispute any of our special physiological needs.

    so, what is wrong with beauty?: Nothing.

    The Bible says:

    “There is nothing outside a person that by going into him can defile him, but the things that come out of a person are what defile him.” Mark 7:15

    so, what come out from men? All what they see is publicity, “beautiful” faces and bodies around the world.

    Perhaps the desire to be with that person, but not love.

    and, What come out from Women? Just doing this, (I’m not sure), and I’m sorry about many girls hide, forget, or don’t take care and pay Attention to the Important Things.

    What a woman need from a man?
    (Surely Not Exactly a muscle man, it could be common into our Minds. Who put this in our mind?. ) .

    I’m afraid, because I think that someone or something is blinding all those girls, many men found something special into girls and they are afraid that girls will to leave that aside. I’m sure I’m not the only one.

    God teach us:

    The LORD God said, “It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a HELPER SUITABLE FOR HIM” Genesis 2:18

    In this Same Way, Their Husbands ought to love wives as Their Own Bodies. He who loves His wife loves Himself. Ephesians 5:28

    Wives, submit to your Husbands as to the Lord. Ephesians 5:22

    Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and Gave Himself up for her
    Ephesians 5:25

    Women (For the spiritual state) before God is equal to man.
    The Bible does NOT say that the role of man is more important than the role of women.

    Ok, it is all about Husbands and wifes, but, what God teach us is too close similary to what we really need, because God knows what is good for us. He made us, and it is his model.

    Now answering the question: what a woman need from a man?

    God says:

    “After all, no one ever Hated His own body, but he cares about it and feeds, just as Christ does the church.”
    “For We Are members of His body.”
    “For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh.”
    Ephesians 5:29-31

    I know I can do it, with the love that God gives me, to give this to people, without cheating or making false promises, because the human feelings are fickle and weak.

    The Bible describes good women, like, prudent, suitable helper and many other adjectives.
    I believe in that and I really pay lot of attention to this. Now I know it’s what I really need.
    I would like to know from a woman, if a man like bible describes is the right one for women.

    God says:

    “Your beauty should Not Come from outward adornments, such as braided hair and the wearing of gold jewelry and fine clothes.
    Instead, it Should Be That of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, Which is of great worth in God’s sight. “Peter 2:3-4

    Also in the bible:

    “Your cheeks are beautiful with earrings, your neck with strings of jewels.”
    Song of Solomon 1:10
    “How Beautiful You Are, my darling! Oh, how beautiful! Your Eyes Are Doves.”
    Song of Solomon 1:15

    When we give our life to the Lord we are saved and we can learn what the Bible teaches us to love with love that He gives and teaches us.

    “” For God so loved the World That He Gave His one and only Son, That whoever Believes In Him Shall Not Perish But Have everlasting life. “John 3:16

    “For the Wages of Sin is death, But the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus Our Lord.” Romans 6:23

    “That if you confess with your mouth,” Jesus is Lord, “and believe in your heart That God raised him from the dead, you will Be saved” Romans 10:9

    There are many Attitudes toward beauty, some of which are harmful (INCLUDING RACISM, DISCRIMINACION ETC.) (Again Mark 7:15)

    This is God’s perspective.

  9. I look forward to an article just like that! Thanks. Now hopefully we see iOS five sooner rather than later. This article will come in handy! powerpoint to flash converter You can try addition to video converter, it is a free tool. It allows you to convert video files between every format.It can convert video to iPad, iPod, iPhone and other portable devices.

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