News & Politics

Study: Women Who Put Effort into Their Appearance Do Better at Work

A new study, to be published in the June issue of “Research in Social Stratification and Mobility,” reveals that “attractiveness is a key factor in how well young professionals between the ages of 24 and 32 do at work.”

Both men and women benefit according to their degree of attractiveness, but for women that includes how they groom themselves. In other words, you may not be traditionally “pretty” but if you take care of yourself with make-up, clothes and tend to your hair style, you will benefit in the work place.

“Although appearance and grooming have become increasingly important to men, beauty work continues to be more salient for women because of cultural double standards with very strict prescriptions for women,” the paper says.

The Huffington Post writes, “For women, the premium they make for looking good at work is almost entirely explained by how well-groomed they are. For men, it has a little to do with grooming and a little to do with being naturally good-looking.”

Jacyln Wong of the University of Chicago told HuffPo: “This really highlights how much work that women have to do to be considered attractive.”

Is it a lot of work to look “attractive”?

A savvy shopper can find good deals on stylish clothes and drugstore make-up works as well as expensive department-store brands. There are numerous videos on You Tube demonstrating how to do a quick morning application of make-up or a quick professional hair style.

“The economic returns aren’t being given to people who have a certain kind of body, but rather to people who present their bodies in a certain kind of way,”Andrew Penner of the University of California, Irvine said. “Attractiveness is not something that you have, but something that you do.”

This should be heralded as good news. This scientific study says that those of us who present as plain or average can achieve professional success merely by taking care of our grooming.

However, HuffPo disagrees.

But that’s not necessarily good news for women. In fact, it has troubling implications that go even beyond the workplace. For the most part, Wong said, “these findings suggest that we care a lot more about monitoring women’s behavior than we care about monitoring men’s behavior.”

What behavior “monitoring” Wong is taking about is unclear. People who go to work looking like a slob will be regarded as less competent than their tidy, pulled-together colleagues. Is it a stretch to say that if you can’t manage to keep groomed or don’t care enough to do so, you won’t care about other things like your work or job? And it’s not so much a monitoring of behavior as it is merely perceiving the obvious. Do employers care how much time you spend getting ready or do they care that you look like you have your act together? It may take 10 minutes, it may take an hour, but the study is not about how long you must spend getting ready for work, only that you look well-groomed.

What do you think?