Author(s): Mary Ann Collins
Two archival studies examined the impact of people's appearance on the status and type of civilian and military jobs they hold. Study 1 found that, although appearance was not related to job status, taller men had higher incomes. Additionally, appearance was significantly related to the type of jobs people held. Attractive women and tall men held jobs requiring traits more consistent with the attractiveness halo, while babyfaced women and short men held jobs more consistent with the babyface stereotype. These effects remained after controlling for job-relevant personality and educational variables, suggesting an unjustified bias toward people with certain appearances. Study 2 found that heavier men had lower job status, as reflected in military rank attainment. However, this relationship was eliminated when controlling for intelligence and dependability. Also, babyfaced men achieved higher status through being marginally more likely to win a military award. This unexpected effect was attributed to the contrast between heroic actions and the babyface stereotype. Finally, appearance affected the type of military experience men had. Heavier men were more likely to be in situations involving gunfire or casualties. These studies make an important contribution by extending laboratory findings to the real world, exploring the effects of appearance on job type as well as status, and providing evidence that appearance effects are not solely due to covariation with bona fide job qualifications.