The Dark Side of Being Pretty
Stephen M. Marson; Joanne M. Hessmiller

Assessment of social and economic advantages possessed by individuals considered physically attractive is a common research theme in the social science literature. Since the early 1960s, researchers have reported attractive women and handsome men have advantages related to procuring jobs with higher salaries, obtaining better seating at restaurants, and experiencing a generally higher level of cordiality than less attractive counterparts. Informal observations of high stress levels among extremely attractive professional women, however, prompted exploration of a potential “dark side” to being pretty. A focus group was used to determine if physically attractive women face discrimination. Goffman’s work was employed framework for sample collection. Findings suggest that these women experience cognitive dissonance and its emotional consequences. Social services tend to be dominated by women and social work mentors need to be aware of this as a potential concern that may arise for some mentees.

Full Text: PDF     DOI: 10.15640/jssw.v4n1a8