Why should women care about this study – Cosmetics as a Feature of the Extended Human Phenotype: Modulation of the Perception of Biologically Important Facial Signals? It tells us that the first impressions people have of us via our social media profile photos and in person are skewed by make-up and how we wear it. Take a look at the photos below:
It’s obviously the same woman, but as you scan the photos, notice that your impression of her changes as more make-up is applied. In fact, the study suggests that women who wear too much make-up run the risk of appearing untrustworthy:
“our results provide additional evidence that judgments of facial trustworthiness and facial attractiveness are at least partially separable; the highest contrast makeup (glamorous) increased attractiveness significantly while at the same time decreasing judgments of trustworthiness.“
But just to make it even more complicated, “Ratings of competence increased significantly with makeup look tested on first glance and longer inspection.” So, make-up increases a a person’s perception of the subject’s abilities, but too much make-up makes them uncaring or detached.
The study also cites another one that says our perception of beautiful can elicit other intangibles of which I was not aware, “Past studies have shown that attractive people are expected to do better on the job, in school, and in life – and are treated that way – by being agreed with, deferred to, helped, and granted larger personal space.”
Larger personal space, what does that mean? Are unattractive women going around squeezed into small spaces by society? I never believed that more attractive people do better on the job or in school. In fact, based on the influence of Scooby Doo in my impressionable years, I have always believed the Velmas of the world are much more intelligent than the Daphnes. Daphne always seemed shady. Not surprising. I am vindicated by the study, which notes a “dark side” to beauty:
“In general, there is less agreement about whether beauty invariably signals social cooperation, with some studies suggesting that there is a ”dark side” to beauty characterized by vanity, immodesty, or greater likelihood to cheat on a partner.”
Would Daphne have cheated on Fred? I don’t know, but Velma, she was definitely trustworthy. Ginger from Gilligan’s Island, not trustworthy; Mary Ann, trustworthy. I see what they mean.
To review: No Make-up = Incapable; Some Make-up = Competence/Power; Excessive Make-up = Bitch.
The best part about this study is that women can determine their “persona” on each different occasion. Men, well, they only have one look. Tonight, I think I will overdo it on the make-up before I go out. I’m too tired to talk to socialize, maybe I will be given larger personal space.