The original statement was not that as you’re a munter don’t bother trying to gain one of the top jobs. Rather, that possession of a certain amount of beauty was going to be an aid to women in gaining one of those top career positions. And why not? Why wouldn’t it? Handsomeness in a man also aids in gaining such top positions. Sure, it may well be unfair but that’s the way that us human beings roll and we do have to deal with us as we are. Waiting for the New Man to arrive to make the desired system work doesn’t have a great track record – not even attempts to kill off all those who don’t conform to the new ideal seem to have worked out.
So, why the outrage at what has been said here?
A retired headmistress from one of the UK’s top girls’ schools is facing a backlash after suggesting that being beautiful furthers women’s careers. Clarissa Farr, who was high mistress at St Paul’s Girls’ School for a decade until 2017, has claimed that attractive women have more authority in the board room. “When you google the word CEO, the images are all white men with grey hair,” she told The Sunday Times Magazine.
“Our idea of authority is still male. There are certain woman whose personal beauty makes their leadership acceptable who wouldn’t be able to hold the sway they do if they didn’t look the way they do.”
The first point is simply that looks do matter. We’re visual creatures – sure, men more than women according to the usual tales but still true – and thus visuals matter. For it is true – we see it in the usual research – that male looks aid in gaining promotion. We’d not therefore be surprised that female do. There is one little wrinkle to this. Seriously good looks enable a woman to gain much more than what she’d gain by being a mere CEO. Sure, maybe that shouldn’t be so too but it is true. Kim Kardashian is earning very much more and very much younger than businesspeople do.
But the general contention accords with what we already know.
We can go further too. What actually is it that we think constitutes good looks? Well, one of the most oft quoted points is symmetry. And this indicates that the genes are working well, there were no worms, parasites, diseases, that delayed or altered their expression and this development. Good looks also reflect fertility. Not for any other reason than that we’re descended from the people who got lots of rumpy because they were, by the standards of their time, good looking.
Looks are a reflection, that is, of being fit. And why would it be a surprise that those who are fit climb to the top of the society they’re fit in?
Note what is not being said here. That only the good looking are fit for a specific purpose. That’s not true in the slightest. But it is true that those who are generally fit are those we regard as generally good looking. Simply and precisely because good looking and fit are synonyms – we regard being fit as being good looking. On average, of course, of course.
That is, looks aid women’s careers and we’re not in the least surprised about this once we bother to think a little. Expressions of surprise must therefore be the result of people not thinking.