Haunted by Hollywood
Think you value a person’s character more than his or her looks? Well, forget it. Deep down in your brain a good looking face impacts your judgment. We know that beautiful people are likely to be more successful and get paid more for doing the same job as others. But how come?
Well, recent psychological testing shows that we are all guilty of this discrimination, in spite of our best intentions to treat everybody equal. Unconsciously we prefer beautiful people; it is as simple as that. Even empathic people discriminate. Empathy, considered a constant quality and driven by sincere interest, is more volatile than we think. And another remarkable outcome of the testing: there is no gender preference. We react positively to beautiful women in the same way as we do to beautiful men. Older research also showed that facial beauty influences our judgment. All over the world the same characteristics are labeled as ‘beautiful’. These are: a symmetrical face and secondary sexual characteristics for example full lips for women and a strong, square jaw for men. In short: typical Hollywood looks. We deny that we discriminate on looks but at the same time deep down Hollywood haunts our minds. Remaining objective and treating everyone equal is difficult.
Become more aware of your positive associations with beautiful people… want to change this way of thinking and discriminating? Why not skip the request for a photograph for job applications? And to those who are less blessed with their looks: there is comfort. Beauty fades and is by no means a guarantee for happiness, health or sustained success.
How do you avoid discriminating on looks?
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