In Career, Discussions, Discussions, Money, Salary

Do we really discriminate against unattractiveness?

Short answer:

Yes. We’re human and biologically wired to look for beauty (in everything).

Long answer:

Being attractive is not necessarily based on your actual looks.

It means you are dressing well, taking care of your appearance and trying your best to look good, rather than giving up completely, wearing clothes too big with holes in them, and not bothering to take care of your appearance.

Ever hear of the French term jolie laide?

It means literally “pretty + ugly” (not “pretty ugly”, as you might think of it in English), and it refers to stereotypically ugly women who are considered pretty because they make an effort.

It’s a French idea that even “ugly” women can be considered beautiful with the right clothes, makeup, proper grooming, and most of all, a good personality with a smile.

The most iconic figure for the term jolie laide (not meant to be used derogatorily), is Diana Vreeland.

diana-vreeland

Diana Vreeland was a noted columnist and editor in the field of fashion. She worked for the fashion magazines Harper’s Bazaar and Vogue and the Costume Institute of the Metropolitan Museum of Art. She was named to the International Best Dressed List Hall of Fame in 1965. (Via)

No one could truthfully say she is a beautiful woman with her more masculine features, but she is considered pretty because she knows how to dress and present herself at her very best.


In addition, being attractive can also work against you if you’re a woman, but not if you’re a man, mostly because women HR managers tend to penalize beautiful women for job roles out of jealousy, even if they are competent for the job.

YOU CAN MAKE MORE MONEY BY BEING ATTRACTIVE

“Investing in your appearance can grab you between 10-12 percent more than your dowdier colleagues for both men and women.”

This is what Catherine Hakim of Erotic Capital, calls the ‘beauty premium’ (a great read!!).

And Freedom 35 recently posted the following link:

According to an article from nydailynews.com:

“Handsome men earn, on average, 5 percent more than their less-attractive counterparts, while attractive women make 4 percent more.

Over the course of a good-looking man’s career, he will earn roughly $250,000 more than a comparable, yet unattractive, employee.

Over a course of 40 years, it is about $6250 a year, or $3.12 an hour.

I will point out that there is also the fact that when you’re beautiful or handsome, you probably already know it from an early enough age (at least, before you start your career).

You know it enough to use it to your advantage, and as a result, you grow up more confident and perhaps more bold enough to ask for raises year-over-year.

Other less attractive folk may not grow up as confident in themselves, and are perhaps less likely to ask for said raises as a result.

As I always say: It doesn’t hurt to ask!!!!

HOW ANYONE CAN LOOK “ATTRACTIVE”

(Attractive by the conventional sense of ‘attractiveness’)

These are the markers of beauty in society for both men and women:

  • Straight, white teeth (although very white teeth scare me)
  • Clear, glowing skin with an even skin tone
  • Neat and clean nails — Nothing yellow, long, or with dirt underneath them
  • Lustrous well-kept hair — A modern updated haircut does wonders
  • A fit and healthy figure — gives your skin a healthy glow
  • Being tall (most advantageous for men)
  • Wearing clothes that fit and don’t have holes or stains on them and flatter you
  • Your posture is straight and healthy — No hunching!!

Notice a theme here?

Beauty has everything to do with looking and being healthy and looking neat and clean.

Eat well. Exercise. Sleep your required 8 hours a day. Smile.

For men, the above applies as a good general rule, so don’t forget that eating fruits and vegetables can really improve your looks.

For women, it also includes a little makeup (not a lot!!).

Wearing a little makeup can go a long way to making women earn more money by looking more attractive and competent — a little eyeliner, concealer and perhaps some tinted lip balm and you are good to go.

And no, plastic surgery is not generally the answer.

There you go. Go forth and increase your earning power!



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Sherry of Save. Spend. Splurge.

I got out of $60,000 of debt in 18 months using TheBudgetingTool.com. Since then, I have worked 50% of my career (taking 1-2 year breaks), and quadrupled my income within 2 years of graduating, going from $65K to $260K (savings rate = 85%). I could retire today if I wanted, but love my work-life balance as a freelancing consultant in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math). I also post daily on Instagram @saverspender.

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8 Comments

  1. L
    Liquid_Independence

    I wonder if jolie laide can be used for men as well, or if there’s an equivalent term to describe men. Metro perhaps? lol. A big part of looking good is taking proper care of ourselves, but some things like being tall are not as easy to control. I think for most of us it’s about doing what we can with the cards we’ve been dealt with to look our best. Some people are big boned, and gain weight without eating much, while others can get toned looking bodies with the same workout routine and diet. Everyone’s body is different, it’s not fair, but at least we know there are always ways we can improve our own looks 😀 Great post, and thanks for the mention.

    Reply
    1. M
      Mochi & Macarons

      You’re welcome!

      Metrosexual or “joli laid” 🙂 as the masculine.

      Reply
  2. PK

    I’ve played this game, haha.

    Here’s the million dollar question: how much of the outsized salary boost is due to attractiveness versus how much of the attractiveness is due to someone taking pride in their appearance (and their confidence paying dividends). Roughly, what causes what?

    Reply
    1. M
      Mochi & Macarons

      That’s the part that can’t be explained. I think it’s a bit of both.

      Beauty does give you an edge for the job over other people (BF was a hiring manager before and was always pressured to hire cute girls so the office would look nicer, but he went for those who could do the job and didn’t care about their looks..).

      Personally, I think the confidence boost does more than looks itself.

      Reply
  3. E
    Elle

    I thought I was the only one that found ultra white teeth unsettling.

    Reply
    1. M
      Mochi & Macarons

      No!!! BF and I think it looks like the white porcelain of a toilet bowl.
      We call it: les dents de toilette (toilet teeth)

      Reply
  4. MelD

    What a limited definition of attractiveness! It also sounds extremely north American, sadly. Perhaps this doesn’t reflect your own opinion?

    Personally, a humourous, friendly, pleasant, cheeky or inviting smile and a twinkle in the eye go much further towards feeling that someone is attractive than this list. Sure, being reasonably clean and neat is “nice” but can I not find someone attractive if their teeth, skin or figure aren’t perfect?! Goodness, poor acned teens… and I know a lot of beautiful old people with bent bodies, wrinkled skin, uneven teeth…
    And sure, being tall can be an advantage, though I have also found that my husband and BIL are often considered arrogant just because they are taller, which is not true of either of them. And I will never be able to alter the fact that I am only 5’2″ – the higher the heels I might try wearing, the more ridiculous I would look!!
    I would take all this with an extremely big pinch of salt ;o

    Reply
    1. M
      Mochi & Macarons

      Agreed! I think it is very North American to think of the list as the be all and end all.
      Unfortunately it is something that is very true here. People look for white teeth and good skin which is why the beauty industry is worth billions.
      But it really adds up in a better salary.

      In Europe, BF has said over and over again that people are not as looks obsessed as here, and we both find it a bit scary at times, how far people will go.
      Which is also why I featured Vreeland as the example that it can be more than looks.

      Reply

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