Thursday, March 15, 2012

Catherine Hakim's "Erotic Capital"

Catherine Hakim is a social scientist and a Senior Research Fellow in the Centre for Policy Studies, London. Her publications include over 100 papers published in British, European and American refereed academic journals and edited collections, four textbooks, and over a dozen books and monographs on the labour market, changing patterns of employment and working time, women’s employment and women’s position in society, occupational segregation and the pay gap, self-employment and small firms, social engineering, models of the family, work orientations and lifestyle preferences, changing social attitudes, voluntary childlessness, social and family policy, research design, social statistics and cross-national comparative research in all these fields.

She applied the “Page 99 Test” to her latest book, Erotic Capital: The Power of Attraction in the Boardroom and the Bedroom, and reported the following:
For too long, the western world has allowed itself to be blinkered by the Puritan perspective that treats beauty, appearance, and style as superficial externalities of no real consequence. Yet they are hugely important, especially today, and affect people’s responses to you on a daily basis, however subconsciously.

Page 99 of my book describes a unique experiment carried out in America with convicts. This showed that improving someone’s appearance (through cosmetic surgery) had a powerful positive impact on their chances of rehabilitation, employment, and not reoffending, a much stronger impact than the social and vocational counselling that is usually offered.

More generally, Erotic Capital shows that social and physical attractiveness are intertwined, and affect all our social relationships. If you understand erotic capital, and the power it gives in all social situations, you will be more successful at work, in friendships, and in the invisible negotiations of private relationships.

In the 21st century, educational qualifications are not the only route to success in life. Appearance and attractiveness in style and manner have now become equally important.

Physical and social attractiveness matter just as much for men as for women. In fact, studies show men typically benefit more, earning an average of 17% more if they are attractive, compared to only 12% more for women. So keeping fit, slim, investing in flattering clothes, having regular haircuts, making an effort with manners and courtesy, even cosmetic surgery – all these things are worthwhile investments, delivering social benefits and financial rewards.

Perhaps this is not so surprising. As manual jobs give way to white-collar and service sector jobs, appearance, style and manners matter more at work. Increasing affluence means that more people can afford luxuries - and beautiful staff or friends are a popular luxury. In addition, digital photography means we all live in a digital goldfish bowl, exposed visually more than ever before – as illustrated by Facebook and online dating sites. We have all become stars in our own B movie. So smart people learn quickly that if you smile, the world smiles back.
Learn more about the book and author at Catherine Hakim's website.

--Marshal Zeringue