Thursday Tossup: Average but Good-Looking Trumps Brilliant, Sorry

By Voxy  

DSCN1012 by marko8904.Is there any more room under that bed? I think I’d like to crawl under there with y’all.

From Newsweek: “The Beauty Advantage”

Fifty-seven percent of hiring managers told NEWSWEEK that qualified but unattractive candidates are likely to have a harder time landing a job, while more than half advised spending as much time and money on “making sure they look attractive” as on perfecting a résumé. When it comes to women, apparently, flaunting our assets works: 61 percent of managers (the majority of them men) said it would be an advantage for a woman to wear clothing showing off her figure at work. (Ouch.) Asked to rank employee attributes in order of importance, meanwhile, managers placed looks above education: of nine character traits, it came in third, below experience (No. 1) and confidence (No. 2) but above “where a candidate went to school” (No. 4). Does that mean you should drop out of Harvard and invest in a nose job? Probably not. But a state school might be just as marketable. “This is the new reality of the job market,” says one New York recruiter, who asked to have her name withheld because she advises job candidates for a living. “It’s better to be average and good- looking than brilliant and unattractive.”

::is stunned::

“It’s better to be average and good-looking than brilliant and unattractive.”

Between this and the Dutch government giving makeovers to newly-unemployed women so they can find rich husbands and get off the dole, I want to stab myself. Of course, that would probably make me less attractive…

I am wondering if buying cosmetics can now be classified as a tax-deductible business expense.

The picture for this post illustrates my proposed response to this lunacy. (I like her satisfied expression.) This is so irritating it makes me not even want to post this week’s Sales. So I will do it in very very small print. Fortunately there is only one new one.

HauteLook has POP Beauty starting today at 11 am Eastern/8 am Pacific.
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  1. avatar marigolds
    Posted July 24, 2010 at 1:01 pm | Permalink | Reply

    No, it’s mostly because people already have their own opinions and don’t want to hear me blather on about my actual research into it.


  2. avatar marigolds
    Posted July 23, 2010 at 1:25 pm | Permalink | Reply

    And some of you may have written books on it.  

    My dissertation’s on fashion. :) (I try to stay off the “why do academics dress so badly?” threads for that very reason.)


    • avatar a biologist
      Posted July 23, 2010 at 10:20 pm | Permalink | Reply

      Is that because you know the answer and it’s not very flattering or because academic couture is just too depressing when you know how to appreciate beautiful designs?


  3. avatar Francie
    Posted July 23, 2010 at 10:32 am | Permalink | Reply

    The most dangerous creature in all of human history is the beautiful, intelligent female. She terrifies the men and angers the women. Wars and revolutions begin because of her. But should that keep us away from the lipstick displays? Should we keep throwing veils, real or metaphorical, over ourselves? NO, I say!


  4. avatar Relationalista
    Posted July 23, 2010 at 10:08 am | Permalink | Reply

    Perhaps a slight sidestep, but here’s a story from about six weeks ago that bears on dress standards at the (non-academic but high-powered and professional law) office:

    There are lots of things about this story that drive me to distraction beyond the tightness of the litigant’s clothing (pssst: the article has pictures). One of them is her apparent assumption that she couldn’t possibly have been dismissed for any reason other than her beauty and sexiness and desire to loudly announce that sexiness through clothing choice (not that the article discusses the nature of her work, her qualifications to do it or her performance in that work, so clearly appearance trumps professional role which is entirely incidental).

    There may be much to say about men’s capacities to keep eyes off the prize (cf international debate over the burka/niqab), and this woman may ultimately have been dismissed because of her clothing choices, but here the sense of entitlement makes me apoplectic. Mind you, reading the comments below the article does that with even greater speed — back to ab_grp’s astute note about what “average” (whatever that is) people can control/access versus what they can’t.


  5. avatar a biologist
    Posted July 23, 2010 at 12:14 am | Permalink | Reply

    There is plenty of room under the bed. Let me just skooch the cat over.

    I have a lot of (unformed and/or incoherent) thoughts about beauty, especially with the beauty/brains issue for academics. Life sciences are at a very socially awkward point now. Though half the grad students and postdocs in life sciences are women, 80% of the full professors are men. Let’s just say choosing attire for important meetings and interviews makes me supremely anxious.

    I have put a lot of thought into appearance issues lately. I pursue my glamorization project at the same time as I become a more vocal and informed feminist. I try to be mindful of each phase to be sure that I really, really, REALLY want the UD Naked palette for my own enjoyment and not to present some fake beauty ideal. I try to be conscious of what message I want to convey and how best to do so. I enjoy things like shiny red lipgloss.

    The brains/beauty dichotomy, it is always a challenge, isn’t it? That’s what I like about this site. Y’all get it.


    • avatar a biologist
      Posted July 23, 2010 at 12:15 am | Permalink | Reply

      And some of you may have written books on it.


    • avatar Voxy
      Posted July 23, 2010 at 7:23 am | Permalink | Reply

      “I have a lot of (unformed and/or incoherent) thoughts about beauty, especially with the beauty/brains issue for academics.”

      I think that most of us are in this state most of the time, which is to say that it’s an ongoing process of reflection. Which is great by me, since humans are complicated, multifaceted creatures who may feel the need to have one kind of self-concept today and a different one tomorrow (or, ten minutes from now) in order to satisfy the changing needs of the psyche as we go through day-to-day life.

      “And some of you may have written books on it.”

      Well, I don’t know about that, but I do think it’s safe to say that whatever FV readers have written on the subject, it’s probably not in Newsweek. ;)


  6. avatar Francie
    Posted July 22, 2010 at 9:42 pm | Permalink | Reply

    Interbloguality Alert

    Well, now we know. Newdochere left academia for a career in journalism. I wonder if the secretaries at Newsweek are massaging themselves?


    • avatar a biologist
      Posted July 22, 2010 at 11:39 pm | Permalink | Reply

      Hmm. I’m missing out on a blog here. Francie?

      I do know about the massaging secretaries–that thread is what started my Chronicle fora addiction.


      • avatar Francie
        Posted July 22, 2010 at 11:52 pm | Permalink | Reply

        Yes, I was referring to that thread. And I, Francie, was the very first to call the OP out as having fabricated the story. Of course, I know the CHE fora are not blogs, but there sometimes appear trollish types who insist on calling them such to the dismay of the regulars.

        “Interforafoxybloguality” then? : )


        • avatar a biologist
          Posted July 23, 2010 at 12:10 am | Permalink | Reply

          Sounds good to me. :)


  7. avatar ab_grp
    Posted July 22, 2010 at 8:32 pm | Permalink | Reply

    The average folks have the numbers, so they make the story. It’s no surprise that most folks (i.e., those with average levels of natural intelligence and average educations) would place more value on assets that they have some avenue for attaining (e.g., “beauty” through whatever means) than on those that they do not (e.g., brains). Besides, school is hard!! Wouldn’t it just be easier to pop open a button or two?

    Lucky for me, I’m both brilliant and hawt. ;-)


    • avatar Voxy
      Posted July 23, 2010 at 7:24 am | Permalink | Reply

      That is so sad to me. I mean, not the part about you being both brilliant and hawt. The other part.

      Idiocracy, here we come.


  8. avatar chaosbydesign
    Posted July 22, 2010 at 6:15 pm | Permalink | Reply

    JD, I was just thinking that maybe I should buy a nice low-cut top and push up bra for my next interview. (Ew)

    I don’t actually find this all that surprising. Yes, it is completely and utterly wrong and I do not agree with it at all, but it doesn’t shock me. Possibly this is because I have witnessed such hiring ‘techniques’ in a previous job, along with obvious favouritism shown towards staff who flirted with the boss in comparison with those of us who did not.


  9. avatar JD
    Posted July 22, 2010 at 9:47 am | Permalink | Reply

    In that case, maybe I can show my next interviewer I can multitask by listing my qualifications while I seductively strip down to my best lingerie.


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