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UC Denver study finds beautiful women face discrimination in certain jobs
Date:8/6/2010

umor, the magazine reported.

But in one narrow aspect of life, beauty can be a hindrance, something researchers have called the "beauty is beastly" effect.

"In two studies, we found that attractiveness is beneficial for men and women applying for most jobs, in terms of ratings of employment suitability," according to the study. "However, attractiveness was more beneficial for women applying for feminine sex-typed jobs than masculine sex-typed jobs."

In one experiment, participants were given a list of jobs and photos of applicants and told to sort them according to their suitability for the job. They had a stack of 55 male and 55 female photos.

In job categories like director of security, hardware salesperson, prison guard and tow truck driver, attractive women were overlooked. In each of these jobs appearance was perceived to be unimportant. Attractive women tended to be sorted into positions like receptionist or secretary.

"One could argue that, under certain conditions, physical appearance may be a legitimate basis for hiring," Johnson said. "In jobs involving face-to-face client contact, such as sales, more physically attractive applicants could conceivably perform better than those who are less attractive. However it is important that if physical attractiveness is weighed equally for men and women to avoid discrimination against women."

The study chided those who let stereotypes influence hiring decisions. Given the importance of hiring and the consequences of making a wrong choice, the authors said, managers need to rely more on information from the individual rather than on stereotypes about physical appearance.


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Contact: David Kelly
david.kelly@ucdenver.edu
303-503-7990
University of Colorado Denver
Source:Eurekalert

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