Research Handbook of Diversity and Careers
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Research Handbook of Diversity and Careers

Edited by Adelina M. Broadbridge and Sandra L. Fielden

This unique Research Handbook covers a wide range of issues that affect the careers of those in diverse groups: age, disability, gender, race, religion, sexuality and transgender, as well as appearance. International experts from a variety of backgrounds contribute chapters in their given fields, reviewing current thinking, practices, initiatives and developments within the field, as well as presenting a wide-ranging and holistic coverage of the topic.
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Chapter 8: The perils of pretty: effects of personal appearance on women’s careers

Stefanie K. Johnson, Ksenia Keplinger, Jessica F. Kirk and Elsa T. Chan

Abstract

Attractiveness is generally perceived to be beneficial to women in the workplace. However, a rapidly growing body of literature suggests that there are hidden costs of attractiveness that can negatively influence career trajectories of professional women. In this chapter, the authors employ Super’s (1957) model of career development as a framework and analyze linkages between specific developmental aspirations of women, their concerns in different career stages, and the downsides of attractiveness. In particular, they focus on the ‘beauty is beastly’ effect, female intrasexual competition, objectification of attractive women, sexual harassment in the workplace, and self-objectification. Finally, they discuss why women might engage in sexual behavior at work and what consequences it might have on their careers. They round the chapter off with practical implications and recommendations for individuals and organizations.

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