Tuesday, 11 February 2014


How attractive we are affects our outcomes in life. 

Dan Hammermesch of University of Texas
pic from University of Texas here
I don't know how they measure this, but it's something to do with symmetry.  Dan Hammermesch of the University of Texas knows about it.  He has done research into this and found that ugly men get paid worse than better looking men. Dan found that the same was true for women, but not so marked for two reasons:
  1. Women get paid worse than men anyway
  2. Ugly women simply aren't in the work force. 
According to Dan, women are less likely to do paid work than men (this is definitely true - women do the lioness' share of the unpaid work around the world), and if their paid work doesn't pay well enough women are more likely to drop out (and yet still women are worse paid than men, and do the lowest paid work - not sure about this Dan).  Dan also says that attractive people are more likely to get married, and this is especially true for women - men are judged for the marriage market in other ways.  I'm not sure how this fits with the idea that women were more likely to give up work if they were ugly.  

Anyway, in saying all this he managed to upset Mormon women, who generally do unpaid work in the home.

Very boring unpaid work... if you want to give
me some money I'll pay someone else to do it!
I do mainly unpaid work too.  A lot of it in the home (although I'm thinking of moving to a nudist colony somewhere hot so I don't have a laundry monster to kill any more).  I didn't make that decision because of my ugliness.  Actually I was the main earner when we decided that the way things were going wasn't working.  My husband is the main earner now, and he's done better with his career than I feel I could have done (I'll not bother with the whys) to date.  It's also given me a chance to write, which I love doing.

Although I've had jobs, and career aspirations, I have always been OK with the idea of not working for an organisation. I would question our university's focus on getting students into paid work, and point out all the other stuff that needed done.  Unpaid work does need to be done, and if not by me, then whom?
Tank Girl
pic from here

I don't think of myself as ugly.  Not even a little bit.  But I do think of myself as being maybe just a little bit difficult.  Which reminds me...

Are you old enough to remember Grebos?  They had a rather marvellous ugly ethos which Tank Girl also bought in to.  Pop Will Eat Itself did a fab song called Let's Get Ugly (link is only to the song, as there's NO VIDEO!).  Grebo was fantastic, as was Punk for breaking down the requirement for girls to be pretty, and well behaved, and instead focusing on strength, and capability.  Obviously there were some problems with it (ugly girls in the videos were usually slim with big boobs for example), but as an idea, it was great.  It's what's laid the groundwork for what's come later.

And what's come later?  Well there's lots of instances where beauty standards have been challenged as being racist, ablist, and exclusionary on other grounds.

At the moment I am loving the work of Tess Munster, a GAWJUSS plus size model from LA who started the hashtag #effyourbeautystandards to challenge the exclusion of fat women from fashion (and it's become so much more than that).  She also wrote a great piece for the Huffington Post: How I Learned to Love my Fat, Naked Body.  Tess is fabulous, strong, and inspirational.  She makes me want to make an effort (which is fun with a bit of time), and to get tattoos (so it's lucky I can't think of anything I'd want tattooed!).  Thanks Tess!

Do you think beautiful people do better in life?  And where are you seeing beauty standards challenged?

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