We often hear about the jealousies women have for other women who they feel are attractive. While it’s easy to discount this as pettiness, there are business implications when it comes to appraising and hiring talent.
For example, the March 31, 2012 edition of The Economist reports in its article, “Don’t Hate Me Because I’m Beautiful,” that it’s better for attractive men to submit photos with their resumes but not women. The reason was that “human resources departments tend to be staffed mostly by women,” especially when it comes to resumes’ initial screenings. Bradley Ruffle of Ben-Gurion University and Ze’ev Shtudiner of Ariel University Centre conducted the study.
As I wrote above, it’s easy to view from a petty perspective. However, let’s frame it from a perspective of power. For instance, would a man hire another man who he felt was more powerful (i.e. more talented than he was)? More specifically, would a male manager hire another man who could take his job or the promotion he was expecting to receive in the near future?
Thus, if we look at beauty as power, couldn’t the women in this study be feeling threatened from a power perspective? This is even more possible if we review how beauty’s subliminal influence delivers many advantages to attractive people in the marketplace. As a result, rather than see the rejection of attractive women by other women as something superfluous, it’s now a natural defense mechanism.
Again, the purpose of this series is to explore the tangible, pragmatic influences beauty has on us in everyday business life. It’s not just a personal sideshow in that life. Beauty, and its superficial sister, attractiveness, trigger deep, natural forces within us that influence our decisions.