Beautiful people. We love them. We hate them. But do we treat them better or worse than non-beautiful people? Do they get a free pass for being beautiful, or do we take our jealousy out on them?
Douglas Keene has a rundown of some research that tries to answer that question. It turns out there’s research that suggests both possibilities are sometimes true. Here’s what we know, according to Keene. If you’re an attractive women, you’re more likely to get hired (but not at the same level as the person hiring you). But you’ll probably be hired as a secretary or receptionist. You’re also more likely to be convicted if accused of assaulting your spouse. If you’re a boss that focuses on task completion, being attractive doesn’t help or hurt you. But if you’re a boss that focuses on critical thinking and motivating people, attractiveness makes employees less trusting.
So, it’s a mixed bag. And, Keene says, it probably won’t change much:
So, have things changed in the last 30 years? Of course they have. But in some ways, the more things change, the more they stay the same. Stereotypes about women are deeply ingrained in our society. Attractive women are apparently seen as decorative and thus most suited for jobs like receptionist and secretary.
Does it all balance out? But we can at least confirm that the saying “beauty is beastly” and the phrase “what is beautiful is good” are both probably right, sometimes.
More from Smithsonian.com: