When the nail sticks out

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Beauty Pays. Why Attractive People are more successful by Daniel S. Hamermesh

They say a picture paints a thousand words. Well, how about I give you six pictures?

Beauty Pays. Why Attractive People are more successful by Daniel S. Hamermesh. Yakult girl photo courtesy of Buzzpinas. Carrotman photo courtesy of Edwina T. Bandong. Badjao girl photo courtesy of Topher Quinto Burgos. Used without permission.

Beauty Pays. Why Attractive People are more successful by Daniel S. Hamermesh. Yakult girl photo courtesy of Buzzpinas. Carrotman photo courtesy of Edwina T. Bandong. Badjao girl photo courtesy of Topher Quinto Burgos. Used without permission.

 

Beauty Pays. Why Attractive People are more succesful by Daniel S. Hamermesh. Taiwanese bean curd seller, pork butcher and fruit seller. Photos taken from the Dailymail. Used without permission.

Beauty Pays. Why Attractive People are more successful by Daniel S. Hamermesh. Taiwanese bean curd seller, pork butcher and fruit seller. Photos taken from the Dailymail. Used without permission.

Why have they become a social media sensation?

It’s not because of their philanthropic activities or that they have discovered the cure for cancer.

I am not saying they are not smart – but initially, in the absence of any other information about them except their photos, it is safe to say that they became a sensation because they are pleasing to look at.

But isn’t beauty only skin-deep, you ask. Well,  let’s face it- whatever words of wisdom you come up with- the reality is that the rest of the world DOES like looking at a pretty face.

Beauty Pays. Why Attractive People are more successful by Daniel S. Hamermesh. Beauty is only skin deep, but ugly goes clean to the bone - Dorothy Parker quote from  quoteseverlasting. com . Used without permission.

Beauty Pays. Why Attractive People are more successful by Daniel S. Hamermesh. Beauty is only skin deep, but ugly goes clean to the bone – Dorothy Parker quote from quoteseverlasting. com . Used without permission.

Browsing Reddit, I came upon a post asking  :

What happens to the ugly badjao girls or ugly carrot men?

Beauty Pays. Why Attractive People are more succesful by Daniel S. Hamermesh. Reddit Question : What happens to ugly Badjao girls? Image screen-capped from Reddit. Used without permission.

Beauty Pays. Why Attractive People are more succesful by Daniel S. Hamermesh. Reddit Question : What happens to ugly badjao girls or ugly carrot men? Image screen-capped from Reddit. Used without permission.

Here are some interesting answers :

The ugly ones are only noticed if they achieved something like sports, academics,…etc in short they need special talent or skills to be look up by the masses.

Edit: i’m also not an attractive fellow 🙂

From Reddit user LivingEntity

 

Well the world is pretty shallow and superficial. I mean we have facebooks celebs for god sakes. Most them arent even creative or talented, they just look good and if your unfortunate enough to be unattractive, you get to be the butt of everyone’s jokes and people will bash you cause you don’t look Gwapo

From Reddit user Zacharey01

still begging for alms and farming for carrots i guess. this only confirm to me the filipinos are truly shallow creatures.

whenever there are “blue collar” working-class people who are “artistahin”, i’ve always hear people say “sayang naman ang gwapo/ganda niya tapos dyan lang sila nagtatrabaho, bakit hindi sila kinkuha ng talent scouts? kawawa naman”.

believe me it is really annoying to hear people talk like this. hindi ba pwede “sayang naman ang galing ng talent niya, bat hindi sila kinukuha ng TALENT scouts?” or “sayang naman ang talino niya, bat hindi pa sila kinukuha for scholarship grant?”

this is exactly what major networks molded the pinoy mind folks, lahat ng mga maganda or gwapo (meaning mga mestizoish looks) ay ang bida ng mundo kaya dapat magpakabait tayo sa kanila. meanwhile, lahat tayong mga pangit na indio ay karapat-dapat na gawing katatawanan, gawing sassy sidekick, punching bag ng slapstick comedy, gawing extra at props, at dapat game tayo sa mga katawa-tawang pangyayari sa atin.

and dont even give me that excuse that carrot man and badjao girl are “indios” and common folks. well yes they are, but they possess features that are closest to the filipino ideals of beauty which is the mestizaje and the half-foreigner. they wouldn’t go viral if any of them have flat noses,

From Reddit user Zeitgeist0123

Beauty Pays by Daniel S. Hamermesh is a book that tackles beauty from an economist’s perspective.

The first part establishes how people everywhere around the world are obsessed with beauty. Some interesting details from the first two pages :

  • The average American husband spends 32 minutes on a typical day washing, dressing, and grooming
  • The average American wife spends 44 minutes on the same activities
  • Single American women aged 70 and older spend 43 minutes on the same activities
  • Large amounts of money are spent on clothes, footwear, personal care products and services. To detail, in 2008, the average American household spent
    •  $718 on women’s and girls’ clothing
    •  $ 427 on men’s and boys’ clothing
    • $655 on infants’ clothing, footwear and other apparel products
    • $616 on personal care products and services….
  • Such spending totaled $400 billion
  • Different cultures are similarly preoccupied with looks
  • Archaeological sites yield evidence of jewelry and other body decorations and paints as early as 2500 BCE

Interestingly, according to a telephone survey,

more felt that discrimination based on looks in the United States exceeded discrimination on ethnicity/national background than vice versa.

Hammermesh, Daniel S. Beauty Pays. Why Attractive People Are More Successful. Princeton University Press. p 5

Because this entry is super long, I’ll split this entry into parts anchor the sections underneath. That way, you can just skip onto the parts you want to read.

PART I

Why is there so much hype over beauty?

Can people agree on what’s beautiful?

Is it worth it to become beautiful?

Can using cosmetics increase our beauty rating?

PART II

Good-looking people earn more. True or false?

But is beauty the real cause?

Does being light-skinned make me beautiful?

Does aging mean I am less beautiful / handsome?

If my face was severely damaged at work, should I be compensated for loss or decrease of earnings? (Using Carrotmen to analyze the loss of earnings)

PART III

Does beauty matter in choosing an occupation?

So, in occupations where beauty matters, what’s the difference in earnings?

I’m not particularly beautiful and my job doesn’t require me to be beautiful (like being a singer). Does me not being beautiful still impact my earnings?

Do good-looking employees raise sales?

Do companies with better-looking CEOs perform better?

PART IV

Discriminating the ugly

Are beautiful people more socially productive?

Beauty and dating

Beauty and marriage

Giving legal protection to the ugly

Why is there so much hype over beauty?

We all like looking at beautiful people. Which is why Yakult girl, Carrotman, Badjao girl et al have all gone viral. There is a demand for beauty.

And the truth is, people don’t look the same – some people will be more good-looking than the others while others less. This creates a scarcity of beauty.

This scarcity creates incentives for certain behaviors. Whether we like to admit or not, beauty affects, not only behaviors in dating and marriage, but  behavior in labor markets that in turn generates differences in wages and  the kinds of jobs people hold.

Just look at the media – do you think Kim Kardashian would be a celebrity if fame was based on her intelligence?

First, let’s establish what’s beautiful. And here in lies a problem :

Can people agree on what’s beautiful?

Is there a universal standard of beauty? To quote a documentary on beauty I saw many years ago on Discovery channel :

Transcript :

Many scientists think that far from being simply a matter of personal taste, there are universal rules for beauty -patterns that beautiful people have in common. Something you can even measure.

Dr. Stephen R. Marquardt, a facial surgeon, spent over 25 years looking for the rules that govern beauty.

It made me wonder what attractiveness was. I was doing the same thing for everyone.

Hoping to find some clues to the rules which govern beauty, Stephen Marquardt went out and asked people who worked in the beauty industry.

So I just started canvassing different people that I knew in those industries and it was pathetic, I couldn’t believe it, nobody knew what beauty was. Nobody could understand. Everybody had a different idea. Everybody had an opinion about what beauty was and a lot of people’s opinion was- it was kinda ‘a theory of oneness with the universe’ if you will and when they told me the ‘theory of oneness with the universe’ it was like hey, whoa, wait a minute, I’m a surgeon , you know, that’s not going to help me out. So I kept looking.

Stephen wanted to see if people could agree on anything about beauty so he did his own study. He got photographs of 18 very different women and then asked people from all over the world to say which they found more and less attractive.

“We’ve had people rank these 18 faces according to what they thought was the most attractive and least attractive. [] Astoundingly, everybody in the world within about 97% ranked these 18 photographs exactly the same.

Hamermesh claims  that while the standards of beauty changes over time and that cultural differences also affect people’s taste, people agree to some extent on who is good-looking. We tend to view people’s beauty similarly, but not identically.

For the purpose of his studies, he suggests using he suggests using numerical rating scheme (as we would on Glassdoor, for example) :

5 – strikingly beautiful or handsome

4 – good-looking (above average for age and sex)

3 – average looks for age and sex

2 – quite plain (below average for age and sex)

1 homely

From his studies he found that :

  • Some countries seem less willing to say anything negative about their fellows
  • Men seemed to be stingier raters of the subject’s beauty
  • Women are rated slightly better looking than men
  • Ratings of women’s looks were more extreme than men’s
  • Interviewers react more strongly to women’s looks (positively or negatively)
  • Looks of younger people on average are rated on average more favorably than those of older people
  • The decline in perceived looks with age is smaller among men than women
  • In many studies, more people were rated as good-looking than as bad-looking

Judith Langlois of University of Texas claims :

(1) Agreement on what constitutes human beauty and especially human ugliness, is formed very early in life

(2) Symmetry is beauty

Hammermesh, Daniel S. Beauty Pays. Why Attractive People Are More Successful. Princeton University Press. p 31-32

( It is interesting to note that the findings about the relation between symmetry and beauty is similar to the findings of the facial surgeon Dr. Stephen Marquardt)

Is it worth it to become beautiful?

People are endlessly obsessed with looks.  One of my favorite sick movies of all time (and please don’t judge me on this, I already know I’m weird) is Fruit Chan’s Dumplings

Beauty Pays. Why Attractive People are more successful by Daniel S. Hamermesh. Dumplings poster taken from Wikipedia. Used without permission.

Beauty Pays. Why Attractive People are more successful by Daniel S. Hamermesh. Dumplings poster taken from Wikipedia. Used without permission.

The movies portrays a woman who would go to great lengths to be beautiful and win her husband back. I will not, of course, spoil the movie for you, but her methods would be viewed by most as too extreme. There are of course, other ways to be beautiful.

Here is a short documentary about the plastic surgery obsession in Korea

Not all of us can afford to have professional work done on our faces. Besides, the pay off of having a beautiful face might not compensate for the amount we need to shell out. And never mind the success rate – I could be the .01% of failed plastic surgery operations. I am just not going to risk it!

So how about using cosmetics?

Can using cosmetics increase our beauty rating?

From a study done in China, it appears that using cosmetics only enhanced a woman’s beauty from 3.31 to 3.36 – quite small. Unless of course you have amazing make-up skills that can alter your looks significantly.

Good-looking people earn more. True or false?

My boyfriend doesn’t think so. “If that were true,” he reasons, “you would be a millionaire by now!”

While it’s flattering, to be honest, don’t think I am that good-looking). Or if I were, maybe I am the exception (because there is always an exception, right?).

Studies show that you’re more likely to get hired if you look well-groomed, that good-looking people make about 12% more money than less appealing folks, and that attractive real-estate brokers bring in more money than their less attractive peers.

Baer, Drake. Scientists Identify 3 Reasons Why Attractive People Make More Money. Business Insider. November 10, 2014. Web. June 11, 2016. < http:// www. businessinsider. com/ beautiful- people- make- more- money- 2014 -11 >

A study done in Australia, examining hourly wages, the likelihood of employment and household income, found the following, slightly different results :

Workers’ beauty is found to be related to their hourly wages. The effect is statistically significant in the 1984 sample for men and all persons, and for all persons in the 2009 sample. In the specification for persons, those with above-average looks enjoy a significant wage premium of around 8 percentage points, and those with below-average beauty experience a penalty of 9 to 10 percentage points. 1 []

The main effect of beauty on labour income in Australia appears to derive from its effect on the likelihood of employment. Persons rated as having below-average beauty are penalised in seeking employment. This effect has been stable across time for males, but for females has increased between the 1980s and 2000s. []

Males with above-average attractiveness have total income about 22 percentage points higher than their peers who are rated as being of average attractiveness; and being rated as having below-average beauty is associated with a penalty on total income of approximately 26 percentage points. For females, however, there is no significant relation between total income and beauty. Estimates for persons show a significant relation between beauty and total income, with the strongest effect being a penalty imposed on those with below-average beauty. The size of penalty is about 20 percentage points.

Borland, Jeff and Leigh, Andrew. Unpacking the beauty premium: What channels does it operate through, and has it changed over time? Beauty and Household Income. Web. June 10, 2016. < http :// andrewleigh . org/ pdf / AustralianBeauty . pdf >

From a common standard of beauty, Hammermesh writes, labor markets establish premium  pay for the good-looking workers- or, viewed in reverse, penalty pay for the ugly workers- based on the extent to which employers value looks.  A study done in the US in the 70s show that:

Compared to the average group(people rated as 3 on the 5 to 1 scale),below-average looking women (rated 2 or 1 on the scale) earn 3 percent less, while below-average looking men earn 22 percent less. Above-average looking women (rated 4 or 5 on the scale) earn 4 percent more than the average-looking, while above-average looking men earn 3 percent more. There is a premium for good looks, a penalty for bad looks. p 43

Hammermesh, Daniel S. Beauty Pays. Why Attractive People Are More Successful. Princeton University Press. p 43

Let’s use this data and apply it to these two carrot men. (In reality, of course, the market in the Philippines is different from that of the US. And, as in the case of the handsome fruit vendor in Taiwan whose store didn’t really see sales increase even when he became an internet celebrity, the same could be said of the store of the famed Carrot man. So this is just in theory – to show the theoretical gap in earnings of two people doing exactly the same thing : selling carrots)

Beauty Pays. Why Attractive People are more successful by Daniel S. Hamermesh. Left photo courtesy of EV Espiritu, taken from the Philippine Daily Inquirer. Right photo taken from GMA News online. Used without permission.

Beauty Pays. Why Attractive People are more successful by Daniel S. Hamermesh. Left photo courtesy of EV Espiritu, taken from the Philippine Daily Inquirer. Right photo taken from GMA News online. Used without permission.

Let’s say Carrotman A’s looks are  rated as below-average (1-2).

Carrotman B’s looks are rated as above average (4 or 5)

Meaning Carrotman A would earn 22% less than the average-looking carrot vendors and 25% less than the above-average looking carrot vendors such as Carrot B and;

Carrotman B would earn  3% more than average-looking carrot vendors and 25% more than below-average looking vendors.

Beauty Pays. Why Attractive People are more successful by Daniel S. Hamermesh. Comparing earnings of below-average looking carrot man and above-average looking carrot man.

Beauty Pays. Why Attractive People are more successful by Daniel S. Hamermesh. Comparing earnings of below-average looking carrot man and above-average looking carrot man.

There is a discrepancy of  182,500 Pesos over a 20 year span!

In 2010, the average worker earned about $20 per hour. Averaging male and female workers, someone employed 2,000 hours per year over a work life of forty years would earn $1.60 million. But with below-average looks the worker would earn only $1.46 million, while the above-average looks, life earning would be $1.69 million. A 3 or 4 percent premium for good-looking workers doesn’t seem that big; but placed into a lifelong framework, $230,000 extra earning for being good-looking instead of bad-looking no longer seems small. Comparing the bad-looking to the average-looking worker, the effect is smaller – “only” $140,000 over a lifetime – but still quite large. Comparing the average-looking to the above-average looking worker the effect is smaller still- “only” $ 90,000 over a lifetime – but still substantial.

Hammermesh, Daniel S. Beauty Pays. Why Attractive People Are More Successful. Princeton University Press. Pp 46-47

Hammermesh warns us that these are averages : it doesn’t mean that each above-average good-looking female will earn 4% more than the average-looking female. (The perfect answer to my boyfriend!)

But is beauty the real cause?

I always followed this mantra : Be prettier than the smart girls and be smarter than the pretty girls. Why, you can’t be prettier and smarter than everyone (believe me, I tried!). As I told my lesbian friend who was, at that time, torn between two women, “There will always be someone cuter and younger than your girlfriend.” There will always be someone younger and prettier than us. So what else do we have to offer aside from our pretty faces?

Looks do matter of course – especially nowadays when it’s just a matter of swiping left or right. But surely, other things should matter too. Intelligence, for one, goes a long way with me. When I look for potential dates, I also look for sense of humor, athleticism,  common interests and others. My point is- I don’t want to date a handsome retard, but neither would I want to date someone who looks like Jabba the hut, never mind the soaring IQ.

But what else affects earnings? Confidence? “Pleasing” personality(what is that supposed to mean?)? Education? (Surely, the education level has to account for something!)

While Hammermesh argues against confidence affecting the earnings, University of Michigan information scientists Markus Mobius and Tanya Rosenblat states three reasons why beauty matters in the labor market :

1. Physically attractive workers are (wrongly) considered more able by employers.

2. Physically attractive workers are more confident, and higher confidence increases wages.

3. Physically attractive workers have social skills that raise their wages when they interact with employers.

Baer, Drake. Scientists Identify 3 Reasons Why Attractive People Make More Money. Business Insider. November 10, 2014. Web. June 11, 2016. < http:// www. businessinsider. com/ beautiful- people- make- more- money- 2014 -11 >

Does being light-skinned make me beautiful?

If you ask many Filipinos and Japanese, the answer is yes.  Individuals like me (who like surfing – I like being brown!) may beg to differ but the fact that you see whitening products displayed in just about any supermarket and drugstore proves there’s a demand for it.

 Although slavery is now ‘illegal’, there is a type of racism that is still heavily present, heavily toxic and completely inexorable – colourism. The belief in hundreds and thousands of ethnic groups all over the world, including black, Asian, and Hispanic, that dark skin is inferior to light skin.

Colourism has its roots embedded deeply in the history of colonisation. Countries annexed by European colonialism were imbued with a false perception of beauty based on an ideal of white supremacy.

Young, impressionable minds were geared towards the appraisal and pursuit of white power. Meaning that a venture towards “white” appearance was not only considered favourable in the realm of beauty, but would also win you greater opportunities and edge you closer to greatness. Sadly, this ideal lives on unabated.

Elicah, Zadeh. Light Skin V Dark Skin: Where It All Started. The Voice. March 26, 2014. Web. June 10, 2016. < http: // www. voice -online .co .uk/ article/ light – skin – v- dark – skin -where – it – all -started >

Not surprisingly, Hammermesh found from

a small random sample of African Americans that light-skinned African American males earn about 12 percent more than do medium or dark-skinned black men, even after adjusting for many earnings-enhancing characteristics.

Hammermesh, Daniel S. Beauty Pays. Why Attractive People Are More Successful. Princeton University Press. p 58-59

This finding is not surprising. Look at the Philippine/ Japanese media – how many dark-skinned actors /actresses are there compared to the light-skinned ones (the mestizos and the mestizas)?

Does aging mean I am less beautiful / handsome?

Yes. Older people in the labor force are generally rated as less good-looking than their younger co-workers.

If my face was severely damaged at work, should I be compensated for loss or decrease of earnings? (Using Carrotmen to analyze the loss of earnings)

Yes.

Hamermesh argues that if one injures his back and couldn’t work for years and therefore impacts his earnings, the person should be compensated for the loss of earnings by the person (or company) whose negligence caused the accident.  Similarly, any scarring or damage to your looks would also impact your earnings (as he has already proven).

One approach, he says, is using the rating to calculate for the lost earnings : say, if a person  was above-average looking (4 on the scale of 5-1) and suddenly because of a work-related accident, he is now below-average looking  (2 on the scale of 5-1), adjusted from the age of disfigurement to retirement.

Using the Carrotmen table,

Beauty Pays. Why Attractive People are more successful by Daniel S. Hamermesh. Comparing earnings of below-average looking carrot man and above-average looking carrot man.

Beauty Pays. Why Attractive People are more successful by Daniel S. Hamermesh. Comparing earnings of below-average looking carrot man and above-average looking carrot man.

If Carrotman B suffered an injury on the 10th year of his employment, and his looks were demoted to below-average (2 on the scale of 5-1),

Earnings in Pesos until his 10th year : 375,950

Earnings in Pesos from the 11th year to the 20th year : 284,700

Loss in earnings in Pesos:

751,900 (his potential earnings had his looks been altered)

660,650 (expected earnings over a 20 year span accounting for his damaged looks on year 11)

= 91,250

When I Google “facial injury compensation”, the first on the list that comes up is a website of an insurance agency that specializes in facial compensation in the UK. Interestingly, on FAQs section, I stumble on this :

Do women receive more compensation for scarring than men?

“Yes” – the law regards facial looks to be more important to women than men and the pain and suffering from facial disfigurement to be far greater for a woman than a man.

Facial Scarring and Compensation. Accident Claim Expert. Web. June 10, 2016. < http ://www. accident -claim -expert . co .uk/ compensation -amounts/ facial -scarring -compensation .html >

Even the law understands that looks are more important for women than for men!

Does beauty matter in choosing an occupation?

Think about this for a minute – would you go to a dentist that has bad teeth? I wouldn’t.  (But on the other hand, I refuse to go to a dermatologist that has a completely flaw-less perfect skin – I would prefer someone who had battle scars!)

I once talked to my waxer about skiing and surfing. She said because she worked in the beauty industry, she wasn’t allowed by her employer to ski (in winter) or go to the beach (in summer). This was mind-blowing for me – how can your employer dictate what to do in your free time?! She explained that in Japan, looks are very important if you work in the beauty industry – she had to take care of her hands and therefore couldn’t ski and  her pale skin (and therefore couldn’t go to the beach).

While Japan takes it to another level, what she said wasn’t completely baseless. Hamermesh, unsurprisingly, found jobs that rewards good-looks and jobs that don’t. If you work with people or in front of people such as in customer service, being good-looking has it perks. But if you work behind closed doors, where hardly anyone sees you, then being good-looking hardly matters. It’s not surprising that Hollywood actors are generally strikingly beautiful or handsome (5 on the scale of 5-1).

So, in occupations where beauty matters, what’s the difference in earnings?

Based on a study done on several Mexican states about the earnings of prostitutes where about 20 % were rated as attractive (4 or 5 on the scale of 5-1), he found that

These relatively attractive prostitutes obtained a price 19% higher than their fellow workers, even after the price was adjusted for the kinds of services performed.

Hammermesh, Daniel S. Beauty Pays. Why Attractive People Are More Successful. Princeton University Press. p 73

The same goes with escort services, where workers are all generally good-looking. Even with this group of good-looking people, there is still a gap between the earnings of the better-looking escorts than the less good-looking ones.

With a move to the 84th percentile of their looks comes an increase of 11% in the price charged[]

Hammermesh, Daniel S. Beauty Pays. Why Attractive People Are More Successful. Princeton University Press. p 75

Interestingly, a study done on elections in Australia also shows that

[]Better-looking candidates,both incumbents and challengers, were more likely to be elected.

Hammermesh, Daniel S. Beauty Pays. Why Attractive People Are More Successful. Princeton University Press. p 77

The same study was one on the candidates of the German Bundestag in the election of 2002.  The results?

[]even after adjusting for party affiliation, the authors found that candidates whose looks were higher-rated obtained substantially and statistically significant higher shares of the vote (and were thus more likely to win the election)

Hammermesh, Daniel S. Beauty Pays. Why Attractive People Are More Successful. Princeton University Press. p 77

Studies were done both in Finland and Taiwan yielding the same results. The conclusion ? Beauty matters to voters, whether we voters like to admit it or not.

I’m not particularly beautiful and my job doesn’t require me to be beautiful (like being a singer). Does me not being beautiful still impact my earnings?

Beauty Pays. Why Attractive People are more successful by Daniel S. Hamermesh. Photo from pinterest. Used without permission.

Beauty Pays. Why Attractive People are more successful by Daniel S. Hamermesh. Photo from Pinterest. Used without permission.

Adele is right – why do you have to be skinny when you’re a singer?

Unfortunately, even in professions where you think good-looks don’t matter, they still do.

After adjusting for numerous other factors that might raise a professor’s salary, including his age and publication productivity, the authors that found that “hot” professors earned at least 6 percent more per academic year than their otherwise identical less good-looking peers.

Hammermesh, Daniel S. Beauty Pays. Why Attractive People Are More Successful. Princeton University Press. p 79 – 80

He also found, through a study done in University of Texas, that a student’s evaluation of the instructor’s success in the course differed sharply according to looks.

Think about this – why do good-looking athletes get more endorsements ? If it’s all about athletic prowess, why doesn’t Serena Williams earn more than Maria Sharapova?

Screencapped from the Atlantic :

Beauty Pays. Why Attractive People are more successful by Daniel S. Hamermesh. Screen-captioned from the Atlantic. Used without permission.

Beauty Pays. Why Attractive People are more successful by Daniel S. Hamermesh. Portion of the article screen-captioned from the Atlantic. Used without permission.

The only logical explanation for this gap points to long-held prejudices regarding female sports stars and how people feel they should look.

Bain, Marc. Why Doesn’t Serena Williams Have More Sponsorship Deals?The Atlantic. August 31, 2015. Web. June 11, 2016. < http:// www. the atlantic .com / entertainment/ archive / 2015/ 08/ serena – williams -sponsorship – nike -us- open /402985/>

Do good-looking employees raise sales?

Being in offshore sales for two years, I would like to say no. After all, these folks couldn’t see me. I would like to think the quality of the product I was selling (that is, IT services) had nothing to do with my looks. And I got good numbers based on sheer my skills and hard-work.

However, once I step out of my house and walk a kilometer to Shinjuku shopping district, I am bombarded by images similar to this :

Beauty Pays. Why Attractive People are more successful by Daniel S. Hamermesh. Images from Google. Used without permission.

Beauty Pays. Why Attractive People are more successful by Daniel S. Hamermesh. Images from Google. Used without permission.

Would companies hire these actresses/models if they didn’t think there would be a return in investment? I think not. They were probably recruited because the companies believe they will help sell the products they are endorsing. And they are right – customer value looks.

Studies on the relation between Dutch advertising executives and the companies’ revenues show that

Combining all companies together, moving from the 84th percentile to the 16th percentile of average looks of executives across the companies was associated with the decrease in sales of 7 percent.

Hammermesh, Daniel S. Beauty Pays. Why Attractive People Are More Successful. Princeton University Press. p 90

Good-looks obviously help raise sales in certain industries. I would say it largely depends on the type of industry you are engaged in. My boyfriend, an engineer, argues that this does not apply to engineers and engineering companies (I have no data to support or refute his claim). I would also  add, it probably doesn’t apply to BPO industries either where jobs are done remotely and you are hardly seen by the people you work with- maybe it just matters to SOUND good-looking.

Do companies with better-looking CEOs perform better?

There was a contest held in Switzerland about the best-looking CEOs in 1996.  The results ? Except for the number one winner, the number two, number three and number four winners headed companies that tended to be larger than those headed by CEOs of other companies included in the contest.

Interestingly, another study done by a pair of psychologists yielded similar results. They psychologists showed photos to undergraduate students of the CEOs of the top 25 firms in Fortune 500 and the CEOs of companies which ranked 476 to 500. The CEOs of the top companies were rated better-looking.

It’s hard to draw a definite conclusion about a CEO’s looks and the company’s performance. It may be that the CEOs of bigger companies were compensated better which translated to efficiency. Or maybe it was just that better-looking executives were sorted into larger companies?

From the limited studies done, it seems however, to point out that even if a company has to pay a premium for the beauty of the worker it employs, it does pay off in terms of profits – because customers do appreciate beauty. However, this is only effective if you are the first company to do this – if all of your competitors are doing this, you lose any advantage of having good-looking workers.

Discriminating the ugly

What is discrimination ?  From Google :

the unjust or prejudicial treatment of different categories of people, especially on the grounds of race, age, or sex.

The reality, based on the studies and surveys done, is that discrimination also applies to looks. We have learned that on average, good-looking workers earn more than  the less good-looking ones. Whether the good-looking ones are simply being rewarded premium for being beautiful or the bad-looking ones are just being penalized by being ugly is hard to tell – but the pay difference is a form of discrimination.

One variant of discrimination is statistical discrimination. From Wikipedia :

Statistical discrimination is an economic theory of racial or gender inequality based on stereotypes. According to this theory, inequality may exist and persist between demographic groups even when economic agents (consumers, workers, employers, etc.) are rational and non-prejudiced. This type of preferential treatment is labeled “statistical” because stereotypes may be based on the discriminated group’s average behavior.

Statistical discrimination is probably what I experience when I try to apply for an English-teaching job. Many Japanese still associate Filipinas as pub-workers. To substantiate my claim, the guy next to me at a party last night said, “You are the first Filipina I know who doesn’t work at a  pub.” This explains why it is extremely hard for me (and other qualified Filipinos) to land a teaching job even with an impressive resume. Still, it doesn’t really help in explaining why less good-looking workers earn less, unless there is a universal agreement among employers that less good-looking workers are less productive than the good-looking ones.

Another theory is the crowding into certain occupations. Employers force members of discriminated groups into certain occupations (or keep them out of certain occupations). This can keep wages low for certain jobs. I mean, it’s not a surprise that if you Google “pinoy jobs japan” you end up at websites recruiting

a) factory workers

b) caregivers

c) baby-sitters

d) pub/bar workers and other low-paying jobs.

While this may explain the limited job opportunities to Filipinos in Japan, it doesn’t really apply to ugly-workers. It’s not like employers hire only ugly workers to do, say, the jobs mentioned above (for example).

Are beautiful people more socially productive?

I really hate it when I see some celebrities on TV being being asked to talk about important political matters – unless of course it was intended for comedy. (It has to be, right?)

Beauty Pays. Why Attractive People are more successful by Daniel S. Hamermesh. Snooki on Obama and Mccain and tanning beds. Image from https://spinnyliberal.wordpress.com/. Used without permission.

Beauty Pays. Why Attractive People are more successful by Daniel S. Hamermesh. Snooki on Obama and Mccain and tanning beds. Image from https ://spinnyliberal .wordpress. com/. Used without permission.

If this isn’t enough to prove that there is no relation between beauty and social productivity (some might argue that Snooki isn’t beautiful enough), researchers came up with a game, where in each round a contestant was to be eliminated by the person who answered most questions. The researchers wanted to answer two questions :
a) is the decision of the winner of each round to eliminate a contestant related to the beauty of other contestants?

b) is the contestant’s beauty related to productivity?

What they found was that

in each round the average beauty of those eliminated was less than that of the average player

Hammermesh, Daniel S. Beauty Pays. Why Attractive People Are More Successful. Princeton University Press. p 119

..meaning the less-good looking ones were eliminated.

They also found that good-looking contestants weren’t necessarily more successful in answering the questions than the bad-looking ones.

Meaning :
People just have a preference for good-looks (which works to the beautiful contestants’ advantage) but that good-looks doesn’t necessarily translate to social productivity (and it is wrong to assume that it does)

Beauty and dating

Has anybody seen The Undateables? I haven’t seen the whole show, only clips online. One lady specifically  caught my attention due to the disfigurement of her face. Here’s the clip.

It knocked my confidence hugely because obviously one of the main changes is my face. And, although I don’t think before I solely relied on my looks, it was never a barrier to meeting people. I felt confident enough to go out and talk to people. Whereas now, I think a lot of people struggle to get past the aesthetics, and now I’d think twice about talking to somebody because you don’t know how they are going to react.

Tammy Saunders

I’ve also gotten hooked on a British TV show called “Life’s too short” starring Warwick Davis, who is a dwarf.  Here’s the clip that got me thinking :

Obviously, Warwick has some confidence issues when it comes to dating because of his height. Out of curiosity, I asked my boyfriend if he would ever consider dating me if I were a dwarf. The answer? “No. I’m a shallow man!

Growing up, I always heard people say how a good heart trumps good-looks (yeah right) so I really appreciate the honesty.  I guess there is no use  crying about what could have happened – because anything COULD have happened (I could have been born a man, for example, and even then, my boyfriend wouldn’t have dated me). Although we women like to think guys dig us because of our brains or our *ahem* extremely interesting personality, the truth seems to be that guys like us simply because we’re good-looking. (I guess this is why I make up for “good-looks” by writing long pretentious academic blog entries where I can use words like “statistical discrimination“.)  I am not saying I am super good-looking but I have to admit- dating was never a problem for me and it’s time to admit that it’s not because I’m interesting or guys like what they read (My boyfriend doesn’t like reading this blog – he gets bored). As my boyfriend explained to me, many guys filter the chicks they would date and those they won’t from the appearance. Good-looks are the doorway, the pre-requisite. If she’s good-looking and passes the initial stage, but turns out to be a psycho, then it’s a no. But even if she has the best heart, it would be hard to get to that stage of getting to know her more if her looks were just bad – guys would tend not to give her a chance the first time around. Swipe left!

Luckily, for relationships, it’s not only beauty that mattered. If it were, then the best-looking woman would be partnered with the  best-looking man – then the second most beautiful woman with the second most handsome man and so on and so forth. But in dating and marriage, other things matter too. Of course, beauty is still being exchanged. I wouldn’t date a fat dude for example – because a) Generally, I don’t find fat dudes attractive b) I know I can do better – that is find my type. Still, for me, intelligence matters. I like when guys can explain to me the engineering behind the construction of modern cars.  So maybe the guy doesn’t have to be Brad Pitt – he can be average-looking yet smart. Why? I know I am not Angelina Jolie either.

You have to admit that there is some sort of trade-off going on when choosing your mate. Women tend to consider everything. In Japan, women tend to consider the income a lot. Personally, I would say looks come first, followed by height (there is no way I would date someone shorter than me !!) , followed by intelligence, followed by education, followed by athleticism.. the list goes on. I imagine guys would have a sort of list too , in their heads : looks, boob size, ass, height, hair and the list goes on. While our lists and priorities may be different, we may be willing to trade something for something – so whoever we end up “clicking with” is the closes to our ideal  (Let’s face it, no one will score 100% in each of your category. And if he does, why would he look at you??)

From studies done, social psychologists found (unsurprisingly) that

Men put more weight on a woman’s attractiveness, and women put more weight on a man’s intelligence.

Hammermesh, Daniel S. Beauty Pays. Why Attractive People Are More Successful. Princeton University Press. p 134

Why am I not surprised? Hammermesh goes on to say

The results are consistent with the belief that beauty matters more to men, and potential economic success matters more to women’s dating choices.

[] Relative to their valuations of beauty, women put more weight on characteristics that indicate an ability to earn more money.

Hammermesh, Daniel S. Beauty Pays. Why Attractive People Are More Successful. Princeton University Press. pp 134-135

Beauty and marriage

Beauty Pays. Why Attractive People are more successful by Daniel S. Hamermesh. Thalia (44) and Tommy Mottola (66). Image from the www.latintimes.com. Used without permission.

Beauty Pays. Why Attractive People are more successful by Daniel S. Hamermesh. Thalia (44) and Tommy Mottola (66). Image from the http://www.latintimes.com. Used without permission.

For many people, the purpose of dating is to eventually to find a partner in marriage. From the economic point of view, a long-term marriage creates what economists call “surpluses” for the partners. Partners are getting something from the relationship that outweighs being single – otherwise, the marriage won’t last long. As I told my bf, it has to be worth it for each one of us to stay. Fortunately, bad looks don’t spell doom in the dating and marriage game – otherwise we won’t see ugly-looking couples. Ugly people are just as likely as good-looking people to get married. However, it’s interesting to note what a person willing to trade off for his or her beauty.

From a study done in the US in the 1970s and in Shanghai, China in 1995, researchers found that

[]beauty has the expected effect on the education level of the spouse you have matched with. Below-average-looking individuals match with spouses with less education.

Hammermesh, Daniel S. Beauty Pays. Why Attractive People Are More Successful. Princeton University Press. p 137

And this data is especially true for women in the bottom 15 percent of looks in  the US: their husbands have on average  one less year of schooling than other husbands. However, they also noted a husband’s bad looks are less strongly related to his wife’s education. The study in China yielded similar results, leading researchers to conclude that a man’s education is traded for a woman’s beauty.

Giving legal protection to the ugly

We have already established, that yes, ugly people DO get discriminated against – just like minorities, women and disabled people.  The original poster on Reddit asked :

Should we start a partylist for ugly people? 1-Pangit or 1-Bruha?

From Reddit user i-need-a-massage

This  seemed like a valid suggestion. After all, partylists are supposed to represent marginalized people.  So why not?

Hamermesh writes :

Most industrialized societies have instituted policies designed to protect disadvantaged citizens in variety of areas. These include labor market, housing markets, and access to public facilities. At the federal level in the United States, protected groups include racial, ethnic, and religious minorities; women; older citizens; and disabled citizens.

Hammermesh, Daniel S. Beauty Pays. Why Attractive People Are More Successful. Princeton University Press. p 148

An example :

REPUBLIC ACT NO. 6725

Art. 135. Discrimination Prohibited. — It shall be unlawful for any employer to discriminate against any woman employee with respect to terms and conditions of employment solely on account of her sex.

Chan Robles Virtual Law Library. Philippine Law, Statutes and Codes. Web. June 14, 2016. <  http:// www. chanrobles. com/ republic act no 6725 . htm #. V1-_t9R96t8 >

 

REPUBLIC ACT NO. 10524

SEC. 5. Equal Opportunity for Employment. – No person with disability shall be denied access to opportunities for suitable employment. A qualified employee with disability shall be subject to the same terms and conditions of employment and the same compensation, privileges, benefits, fringe benefits, incentives or allowances as a qualified able bodied person.

Congress of the Philippines Metro Manila Fifteenth Congress Third Regular Session. Web. June 14, 2016. <http:// www .gov .ph / 2013/ 04/ 23/ republic -act -no – 10524/>

Maybe we can change the wording a bit to apply to the ugly :

It shall be unlawful for any employer to discriminate against any employee with respect to terms and conditions of employment solely on account of his or her physical appearance.

Or

No looks-challenged citizen shall be denied access to opportunities for suitable employment. A qualified looks-challenged employee shall be subject to the same terms and conditions of employment and the same compensation, privileges, benefits, fringe benefits, incentives or allowances as a qualified average-looking person.

However, here’s the problem. Some laws have provisions for the  number of discriminated group they are to hire. Continuing section 5 of Republic Act No 10524 :

At least one percent (1%) of all positions in all government agencies, offices or corporal ions shall be reserved for persons with disability: Provided, That private corporations with more than one hundred (100) employees are encouraged to reserve at least one percent (1%) of all positions for persons with disability.

The problem is, if we want to protect the ugly, should we, in addition to the 1% reserved for the persons with disability, add another 1% for the looks-challenged? Or do we split up the 1% between the persons with disability and the ugly? The persons with disability might complain – that it’s not fair they have to share the 1% with the ugly.

This is the downside of protecting the ugly – that the resources used to protect the persons with disability, women, LGBT (if it exists in the Philippines) etc will be further stretched thin. The ugly will have to compete against all the other protected groups. And we must, according to Hamermesh,

make a value judgement about how deserving different groups are

Hammermesh, Daniel S. Beauty Pays. Why Attractive People Are More Successful. Princeton University Press. p 166

Another problem is that – unlike women or persons with disability where criteria is clear-cut, defining who needs protection may be a bit difficult. Do we protect those who were born with facial disfigurement or people whose looks were affected by illnesses or caused by accidents? Or do we protect even the terrible-looking ones, those who ranked #1 in our table?

And would  the ugly people be willing to come forward to be protected? If you were ugly, would you come forward and accept protection?

What can I do if I’m ugly?

It’s interesting to note that this is the last section of the book.

A question was asked of Hamermesh:

“If somebody is bad-looking, is there any hope for them in the labor market?”

Hammermesh, Daniel S. Beauty Pays. Why Attractive People Are More Successful. Princeton University Press. p 179

His answer?

No and yes.

No, in the sense that the research that I have presented makes it clear that bad-looking people generally do worse in a wide range of areas of daily life.[]

The answer would be yes, though, in the sense that looks are only one of the many appealing characteristics that people possess.[] If I am bad-looking, I will avoid occupations (movie actor?) where my bad looks will penalize me greatly.Instead, I will choose an occupation where the skills that I possess in abundance have a chance to bring me the biggest rewards, both monetary and non-monetary, and where the rewards for the good-looks that I lack are less important.

Hammermesh, Daniel S. Beauty Pays. Why Attractive People Are More Successful. Princeton University Press. p 179

Cheer up, looks-challenged folks. It’s not the end of the world.

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