Although attractive people enjoy many advantages, attractive women applying for jobs in traditionally male jobs, such as firefighting or engineering, face a double disadvantage: gender and appearance.
The “beauty is beastly effect” is a hiring bias favoring men or less attractive women for “masculine” jobs, first described by Yale University’s Madeline E. Heilman and Lois R. Saruwatari.
They found that attractiveness was an advantage for men seeking both managerial and non-managerial role, but attractive women had an advantage only when seeking lower-level, non-managerial roles.
Attractiveness and gender can be considered a “stigma,” just as disability, obesity, and race.
Rice University’s Michelle R. Hebl and Robert E. Kleck of Dartmouth College reported that people in these categories can reduce hiring biases by acknowledging their “stigmatizing” characteristic during the interview.
In addition, women who proactively addressed the employer’s potential concern about gender or appearance in a traditionally male role were rated higher in employment suitability, according to University or Colorado’s Stefanie K. Johnson and Traci Sitzmann, with Anh Thuy Nguyen of Illinois Institute of Technology.
These candidates were assumed to possess more positive “masculine” traits than other female candidates and evaluators were less likely to penalize these women for displaying “counter-communal” traits, like behaving in contrast to traditional gender role norms.
Attractive women’s pre-emptive communication appears to have favorably shaped the rater’s evaluations of employment suitability and buffered the impact “hostile sexism” while increasing “benevolent sexism’s” link to employment suitability ratings.
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