Oct 4, 2011

Is your lack of Make-up Making you look Incompetent?

" Today, a new study from P&G Beauty & Grooming and lead investigator Nancy Etcoff, PhD., Assistant Clinical Professor at Harvard University and Associate Researcher at Massachusetts General Hospital Department of Psychiatry, confirms for the first time that using color cosmetics does, in fact, significantly alter how women are perceived by others, at first glance and over time.  (First-Ever Study Reveals Cosmetics Alter Instinctual Perception)"
Perception of Beauty (altered photograph)
This study done by Professor Nancy Etcoff and Proctor and Gamble reveals a lot more than instinctual perceptions of competence.  When women are perceived to be more competent if they are wearing colored make-up it implied that appearance always counts.   Even though the study was done on women 20-50, it plays into the fact that an aging face left without make-up can make us look less than smart.   In the study women, were photographed with varying amounts of make up.  It turns out the "natural look" is not as good as we once thought it was.  In truth, up to a point, the more make-up the more competent the woman was perceived to be.  It was only when too much make-up made the woman look like a lady of the evening that the participants backed away from the concept.

For those of us that are getting older in appearance, the implications are very plain.  In fact, I think you will find that most woman have had personal experiences that left them wondering what they had done that made people think they were incompetent or in their dotage.  A quick trip to the grocery without make-up in a baseball cap, followed by a drop in at a sale in the boutique next door can be a disaster.  In fact, going out with no make-up and stringy hair cover by a cap can be very hard on a woman's self-image.  Without realizing it, they have opened the door for clerks and other customers to brush them aside.  It is only worse in the lawyers office or at the car lot.   One can only imagine how bad it would play out on the job.

Women in the work place should be paying attention.  Twenty-five years ago we bought $500 suits for our daughters to apply for a job.  We believed that it helped them get a good job and in fact, we even thought that the clothing, hair cut and make-up would affect their rise to the top. The study confirmed the fact that the rules have not changed much. I think this study shows that, even in this day and age, women of all ages are being held to a "beauty" standard.

I for one am careful to dress as upscale as I can afford.  I like to be in control of my life and the world around me.  Current styles, accessories and even the shoes on my feet reflect how I feel about myself and others around me simply treat me with more respect.

It is just a thought.  I know it is shallow and that beauty does not tell how smart or powerful a person is.  The fact that the made-up women were perceived as being less trust worthy while being judged more competent was a puzzle.   Proctor and Gamble had a lot to gain with the release of this information and the study will be questioned by women that want to be free of the double standard. It could be that women have gone over the edge in their desire to free and this is a message for them. I know that retired women tend to let down their guard.  But the fact is that, in this case, the argument that women should not be required to make themselves attractive takes a real blow...instinctual perception wins again!

b

No comments:

Post a Comment

Post a comment then come back to watch the conversation!

Featured Post

The Perfect Picture for this Week

Yes, that is my ball. Yes that is the flag you see just on the other side of the trees. Yes there is a big hill on the other side leading ...