"Lookism" within the Workplace: The Effects of Physical Appearance In Labor Market Settings
Stout, Meryl E.
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The purpose of this study was to explore looks based discrimination in the various aspects of the labor market. This included discrimination based on issues of not only attractiveness, weight and height, but also grooming, hygiene, clothing and any other appearance related issues. Data was collected through approximately thirty minute to one hour interviews with adults employed in the labor force, the majority of them having some responsibility in the interviewing, hiring, or firing processes of their company. The results show that the importance of appearance varies by profession, position, and also when given different hiring scenarios. However, there was a general preference for those who are attractive and a general distaste for those who are significantly overweight mainly due to perceptions associated with both appearances. There was not a strong preference for height, nor was there a huge resistance towards unattractive individuals. Surprisingly, the biggest preference was for well-groomed and professional looking employees as it commonly took president over physical attractiveness.