Should my Physical Appearance determine my Occupation and my Occupational Pay?

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Speaking on this topic is more than just attire and hair that you would and would not wear in the workplace. There is more to a physical appearance that determines your occupation. Statistics show many ways how occupations focus on physical appearance, some of which you won’t even believe is necessary. A 2004 study by Timothy Judge at the University of Florida found that for every inch of height, a tall worker, preferably a man, can expect to earn an extra $789 per year. If you are a Caucasian woman with blonde hair you are more likely to make more money than the average looking woman. According to a more recent study women who wear makeup earn more also.

Now of course all of these things seem absolutely irrelevant due to the fact that it’s a working environment and your physical appearance shouldn’t matter as long as it’s not completely inappropriate correct? Physical appearance is a huge thing in the workplace not as far as attire and such but height, makeup, weight, beauty and handsomeness as well.  These aspects of people really matter with the type of occupations they have or whether they will excel or just stay where they are at the time. This shouldn’t matter at all because a pretty face won’t get the work done. It’s called work ethic and if you don’t have it then you shouldn’t get a paycheck at all.

Many people don’t know about these values that their workplace has and have yet to find out about these ridiculous tactics. How can you judge someone’s work ethic based off of the color of their hair, their skin, their height, their weight, makeup etc.?  These qualities would be really bizarre and irrelevant when trying to hire someone to actually do the job correct. Unfortunately, multiple studies show that the amount someone is paid and in some cases whether or not they get the job is based, at least in part, on how they look.

There are good reasons not to judge people based on appearance factors, such as height, weight and grooming. Looks based judgments tend to inhibit diversity, can be discriminatory and can lead to legal entanglements. Certainly, how a person looks should never be the sole factor in recruitment, hiring, promotion or compensation but it sometimes is part of the employment decision making process. Should it be? And if so, when? You be the judge. Credentials, experience and skill, and successful performance are things that should be looked at in the workplace. Appearance should as well but not a certain hair color or height. Things such as appropriate dress and manners and having experience should.  Being well dressed can have many benefits such as impressing people in social situations, and looking one’s best in the work place where one deals with the public. It boosts self-confidence and self-esteem. One feels very reassured when other people admire them and prefer to associate with them as they find them very attractive. Physical appearance matters to a certain extent but it definitely shouldn’t be based off of certain things that people cannot change.

Whether an individual is classified as good looking is simply a state of being. As they say, beauty is in the eye of the beholder. But money, as they also say, is in the hands of the employer and should be distributed based on performance and not physical status. There are many ways that this subject can be taken. Meaning that there is no right or wrong answer. This is the type of topic that you voice your own opinions about. Ask yourself the important questions and the not so important questions so that if you’re ever placed into this type of situation you can handle it.

Armyst Lewis-Smith is a Freshman Broadcast/Mass Communications major from Jackson, Mississippi. She will be a contributor for The Campus Chronicle for the Spring 2017 semester.

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