Do attractive people have it easier?

Natalie Vincent

There are two main opposing arguments about whether attractive people have advantages over the average person. The first is that attractive people have a striking appearance that works in their favor, while the second is that attractive people can be quickly labeled as “just a pretty face.”

During the week, I asked some friends whether attractive people have advantages that others don’t. Their answers were immediately yes.

Some of their reasons why included the following: attractive people gain trust easier; they catch and retain attention better; they are better socially; and they have more opportunities made available to them.

The first example that comes to mind when thinking about an attractive person succeeding more

than your average Joe within the workforce. People tend to think that when two similarly qualified individuals are competing for the same job, the more attractive person will ultimately win. Why?

Maybe the employer chooses more attractive candidates subconsciously. Maybe the employer, reflecting on interviews with the candidates, is unfairly biased. Maybe the employer equates physical qualities to abilities. Essentially, the employer is stereotyping; they fill in gaps of information that they don’t know about the candidate with assumptions. In this case, good looks can lead to the perception of positive characteristics. The attractive person has, in this case, the advantage.

On the flip side, say the employer writes off the attractive candidate as nothing more than a pretty face. Now, however well the interview goes, the candidate will be thought of as inadequate. Their fate relies on how much the employer lets jealousy or prejudice dictate their decision. The attractive person is now disadvantaged.

Whether or not we want it to be true, people make judgments about others based upon first impressions because it is human nature. Despite this fact, making such assumptions is crippling to our society.

Here is a real-world example. A longtime friend of mine who waited tables while in high school noticed that if she made herself more physically attractive with makeup, her tip money would be higher.

In some jobs where tips make up almost half of a paycheck, looking pretty becomes crucial. For a young woman, seeing that monetary success depends on how attractive you look can cause lasting damage. You can imagine the effects that this had on my friend’s self-esteem.

Just like how we can’t judge the worth of a person based on the color of their skin, we can’t have a complete sense of who a person is based on their attractiveness.