RACKET.- In a series of experiments, Netchaeva and Rees demonstrated that when women are concerned about money, whether due to a recession or their own circumstances, they use makeup to alleviate their worries "because through the use of makeup, women feel more confident in their ability to find a romantic partner and to get (or keep) a job," said Netchaeva and Rees. In one study, in which the researchers asked women to choose between two lipsticks, they branded one shade as both "Pouty Pink," with a tagline "It may not get you your dream job, but it will get you your dream man," and also "Professional Pink," which claimed the opposite. Women concerned about money were significantly more likely to select Professional Pink. "Between the options of securing resources through getting a job or attracting a partner, women opt for the former," Netchaeva and Rees wrote.
Given the rhetoric of a presidential candidate regarding the appearance of his female employees, not to mention the general culture in many workplaces, I don’t need to tell you that the nasty side of all of this is that appearance certainly plays a role in how women's professional capabilities are judged. You know it, and you probably participated in the human bias for beauty even before you consciously knew about it; babies prefer to look at beautiful (read: symmetrical) faces. Men, too, are judged, penalized, and rewarded for their appearance — but shoe lifts don’t offer the possibility for total transformation that makeup does.
Supplementing a solid resumé and the right business cards, women have used makeup to turn their faces into an edge at the office. A 2011 study showed that a woman wearing makeup was judged as more attractive and competent than the same woman without makeup. Minimal (think Bobbi Brown makeup applied with a light hand) and moderate makeup (along the lines of a Naked Palette and nude lipstick) looks were tied to higher scores of likability and trustworthiness, while bolder makeup (something like a Kat Von D look, but not quite Instagram makeup) resulted in lower scores of trustworthiness. If you find yourself adding Urban Decay’s new Ultimate Basics palette to your cart while concerned about an upcoming performance review, you know what’s up.
In hyper-competitive, status-aware South Korea, men also splash out on skincare and even makeup to gain the same benefits. Perhaps the future will involve not so much a deprogramming of bias toward beauty, but a regendering of it that makes a BB cushion as useful as height, designer cufflinks, and an impressive golf handicap for men looking to ascend to the corner office. TRACY E. ROBEY/blockquote>
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