WIG SHOP, Reagan Charles Cook
I'm a graduate student and creative consultant in Los Angeles. My academic research focuses on international affairs, social psychology and human behaviour. I am also interested in technology, politics, economics, security studies, foreign policy, literature, film, fine art, mathematics, physics, biology, history, design, professional sports, astronomy, agriculture, linguistics and education.
Posts tagged beauty
WIG SHOP, Reagan Charles Cook
Catherine Hakim, a professor of sociology at the London School of Economics, has shattered the last great taboo of the workplace, that professionals should use their “erotic capital” — beauty, sex appeal, charm, dress sense, liveliness, and fitness — to get ahead at work.
And rather than believing old notions that beauty has only a trivial, superficial value, workers should change the way they use the “beauty premium” and not be ashamed of using it to get ahead.
Hakim argues that while we have no problem exploiting our other advantages — money (economic capital), intelligence and education (human capital), and contacts (social capital), people still shirk from using erotic capital.
Yet, according to Hakim, the ”beauty premium” is an important economic factor in our careers, citing a US survey that found good-looking lawyers earn between 10 and 12 per cent more than dowdier colleagues. Moreover, she says, an attractive person is more likely to land a job in the first place, and then be promoted.
“Meritocracies are supposed to champion intelligence, qualifications, and experience. But physical and social attractiveness deliver substantial benefits in all social interaction — making a person more persuasive, able to secure the co-operation of colleagues, attract customers and sell products.” she writes in a column for a London newspaper.
In France, Hakim’s ideas are seen as little more than common sense. The reception when the book debuts in the US is likely to be quite different. An early interview in Slate exposes Hakim’s bracing opinions on discrimination, obesity, and the harsh realities of life. And a recent article in the New York Times points out that while being good looking has its obvious advantages, there is another side to the story, one of ugly prejudice and unspoken discrimination against the less physically attractive or socially competent. This can translate into real economic disadvantage, the author says, citing one study that showed that an American worker assessed as being in the bottom one-seventh in looks, earns on average 10 to 15 per cent less per annum than a worker in the top third.
So how complicit are we in all this? Do we naturally prefer to be served by good-looking salespeople or be led by attractive politicians? Do we naturally gravitate towards the most attractive and charming people in the office? Is it just simple common sense that those who work harder on their appearance, fitness and social skills should be rewarded accordingly?