Tag Archive for 'Erotic Capital'

Skirt Suit And Cufflinks

I a recent BRW Magazine article, the discussion of the importance of first impressions came up (yet again). I’ve blogged about this topic under the theme of Erotic Capital - an academic term that sounds provocative and yet just makes common sense in a world that is dominated by appearance and perceptions

Skirt SuitA report: The Effect of Appearance on First Impressions by Professor Karen J Pine, Professor Ben Fletcher & Neil Howlett, of the University of Hertfordshire in collaboration with Mathieson & Brooke Tailors Ltd, takes the discussion from what you look like to the importance of what you’re wearing…

Background
First impressions are formed rapidly and are often highly accurate. After seeing a face for just one second, people make judgments about another’s personal and occupational attributes.

How much does a person’s dress style affect these judgements?
The study tested three hypotheses:

1) that people make rapid judgments of others based on clothing alone

2) that a minor manipulation of the man’s clothing (e.g. the cut of a suit) will influence these rapid judgments and

3) that manipulation of the masculine – feminine dimension of the woman’s clothing will affect the impressions formed.

Conclusions
Apparently minor clothing manipulations gave rise to significantly different first impressions of the man, with a more positive impression being created by the bespoke than the off-the-rack suit.

The change was very subtle, both suits were formal, the same colour and the same fabric, yet nonetheless they had a very different impact upon perceivers. Most previous research has experimented with manipulating the overall style of clothing, for example comparing formal clothing with causal wear.

This study demonstrates that people are influenced also by subtle features, such as the cut of a suit, which has a powerful impact on judgements of personality and professional status.

The woman in the study was perceived more positively in a skirt suit than in a trouser suit, although this effect was limited to fewer dimensions. Women generally have a wider choice of dress style for work than men, but still have to maintain an identity that balances professionalism with attractiveness and the skirt suit may achieve that balance without appearing provocative.

This study is the first to use images that were devoid of any facial features or expressions, therefore it can be concluded with confidence that the impressions arose from the clothing alone and were not confounded by the physical appearance of the model. The report’s authors further conclude that even apparently minor adjustments to clothing style will have a major impact on first impressions.

People are judged on their overall head-to-toe appearance and the fundamental role that dress style plays in creating a positive first impression cannot be underestimated.

Do glasses make you look smarter but less attractive?

Do glasses really make you look smarter but less attractive?

As a general rule, yes: Glasses make you look smarter but less attractive.

Erotic Capital, Sexy Glasses, Glasses Smarter

Do the glasses take away from her erotic capital?

But it depends… As I wrote in previous blog posts, Erotic Capital and the Beauty Premium are real, measurable variables that have been studied by academics to prove that it pays to look better!

What’s really fascinating about these concepts is how they show how nuances and details make all the difference. For example, one study showed that effects were determined by the type of glasses.

Rimless glasses make your face less distinctive, increase your perceived trustworthiness and do not decrease attractiveness:

In face perception, besides physiognomic changes, accessories like eyeglasses can influence facial appearance. According to a stereotype, people who wear glasses are more intelligent, but less attractive. In a series of four experiments, we showed how full-rim and rimless glasses, differing with respect to the amount of face they cover, affect face perception, recognition, distinctiveness, and the attribution of stereotypes. Eyeglasses generally directed observers’ gaze to the eye regions; rimless glasses made faces appear less distinctive and resulted in reduced distinctiveness in matching and in recognition tasks. Moreover, the stereotype was confirmed but depended on the kind of glasses—rimless glasses yielded an increase in perceived trustworthiness, but not a decrease in attractiveness. Thus, glasses affect how we perceive the faces of the people wearing them and, in accordance with an old stereotype, they can lower how attractive, but increase how intelligent and trustworthy people wearing them appear. These effects depend on the kind of glasses worn.
Source: “The glasses stereotype revisited: Effects of eyeglasses on perception, recognition, and impression of faces.” from Swiss Journal of Psychology/Schweizerische Zeitschrift für Psychologie/Revue Suisse de Psychologie, Vol 70(4), Dec 2011, 211-222.

Why is this important to you?

As The Exponential Growth Strategist, I bring stuff that’s relevant and important to you. Making it more accessible and enjoyable – sometimes putting in gratuitous sexy photos like the one above to make the point a little more lighthearted and fun*.

It’s relevant and important to you because if you don’t know stuff like this, you could be hurting your career with poor choices. Something as simple as the glasses you wear could make the difference between a raise and a promotion or being looked over – again.

It’s not enough to get mad at the unfairness of it all – it’s necessary for you to regain control and put your best foot (face) forward!

*Ladies, if you find a photo of a sexy man wearing glasses, please send it in – We’re all about equal opportunity gratuitous sexy photos!

The beauty premium is almost a quarter million dollars

I’ve blogged about about the fact that you can’t afford to be ugly and the controversial concept of erotic capital. I’ve even blogged about how being taller means you make more money. Today’s post is just an update on the beauty premium that according to Professor Daniel S. Hamermesh, the premium is now almost a quarter of a million dollars.

That’s a lotta coin just for being ‘cute’.

Here’s the thing – even though they claim you can’t overcome your physical attributes (symmetry and other physiological ratios) – anecdotally, I totally disagree. There are quick, easy and inexpensive things you can do to increase your own ‘unofficial’ beauty premium or discount… For example in my Job Interview Kit, there are a few suggestions.

Of course there is a line you should never cross, as Michael Jackson proved…

Michael Jackson, Jacko, Cosmetic Surgery

MIchael Jackson Before & After Cosmetic Surgery

Have you got erotic capital?

In recent posts, I discussed the ugliness factor and how being tall meant you didn’t just make more money, but you’re smarter than shorter people. How’s that for provocative? Today’s post takes the discussion to the next level with “erotic capital” that can be just as valuable as a university degree—especially for women.

This article was originally published in prospect magazine. I’ve reproduced most of it here with additional commentary to put it into the context of this blog which focuses on Exponential strategies to advance your professional career (and business if you’re an entrepreneur or business owner).

Erotic Capital - WomanMichelle and Barack Obama have it. Carla Bruni and David Beckham have it. Paris Hilton has even made a career from it. So great is the advantage “erotic capital” can bring to the labour market—especially in sport, the arts, media and advertising — that it often outweighs educational qualifications.

It’s a term I coined to refer to a nebulous but crucial combination of physical and social attractiveness. Properly understood, erotic capital is what economists call a “personal asset,” ready to take its place alongside economic, cultural, human and social capital. It is just (if not more) as important for social mobility and success.

Erotic Capital - ManErotic capital goes beyond beauty to include sex appeal, charm and social skills, physical fitness and liveliness, sexual competence and skills in self-presentation, such as face-painting, hairstyles, clothing and all the other arts of self-adornment.

Most studies capture only one facet of it: photographs measure beauty or sex appeal, psychologists measure confidence and social skills, sex researchers ask about seduction skills and numbers of partners. Yet women have long excelled at such arts: that’s why they tend to be more dressed up than men at parties. They make more effort to develop the “soft skills” of charm, empathy, persuasion, deploying emotional intelligence and “emotional labour.” Indeed, the final element of erotic capital is unique to women: bearing children. In some cultures, fertility is an essential element of women’s erotic power.

And even though female fertility is less important in northern Europe (where families are smaller) women’s dominant position in this market has been reinforced in recent decades by a much-lamented phenomenon: the sexualisation of culture.

Since the contraceptive revolution of the 1960s, surveys from around the world reveal a dramatic increase in sexual activities, numbers of partners and varieties of sex. London now hosts an annual Erotica fair, showcasing the new diversity of sexual lifestyles and tastes. World Health Organisation research shows that humans see sexual activity as essential to quality of life — but men still rank sex as more important than women.

Indeed, rocketing global demand for sexual activity of all kinds (including commercial sex, autoeroticism and erotic entertainment) has been far more pronounced among men than women. Sex tourism is essentially a male hobby, while erotic magazines for women often fail.

This creates an effect that should be familiar to any economist: the laws of supply and demand raise the value of women’s erotic capital, in particular their beauty, sex appeal and sexual competence. It is happening in Scandinavia as well as Mediterranean countries, in China and the US. The pattern is confirmed even in countries that are sexually “liberated” such as Finland and France. Men are two to ten times more likely to have affairs, buy pornography, seek lap-dancing clubs and erotic entertainment. Call girls’ earnings can exceed wages in nearly all the professions, despite working shorter hours.

It is true, as feminists argue, that some of these relationships can be exploitative. And, to a degree, women’s new advantage is concealed by the explosion of sexual activity among both women and men under 30, many of whom now regard one-night stands and flings as normal. In this age group there is a parity of libido, but the imbalance returns among men over 30 — surveys around the globe find that women over 30 steadily lose interest in erotic games.

Continue reading ‘Have you got erotic capital?’