There is something downright undemocratic about judging
managers' abilities on the color of their eyes, the size of their lips,
the shape of their noses or the amount of their body fat. Yet looks
looks matter a lot more in
employers will admit to
others, or even to themselves.
Airlines and police forces have long had height and/or weight
requirements for their staff, arguing that being physically fit
and strong -not too fat or too small- is in the interest of the public's
In some cases, unhappy employees are challenging the arbitrary
rules, which have been used by the airlines to recruit only good-looking
women; in other cases, employers are trying to be fairer to avoid
its male employees
to be at least 5 feet 8
inches (1.73 meters) tall and female employees to be at least 5 feet 4
inches. The Yard decided to accept shorter women a few years ago to
conform with Britain's equal-opportunity rules.
Air France still requires its female cabin crew to be between 1.58
meters and 1.78 meters, and men to be between 1.70 meters and 1.92
meters. They must also have a "harmonius silhouette." And
British Airways grounds any member of its cabin crew -pilots excluded-
if they are 20 per cent over the average weight fo their height.
Being short or overweight may affect people's careers in other
industries in more subtle ways.
"I used to do all my business on the phone when I was a manager
in my twenties, because there I could command great
Ilona Morgan of the Equal Opportunities Commission in Manchester, who is
5 feet tall.
Being too small and or overweight is only one way that looks can have an
impact on someone's
career. Academic Research at Edinburgh University,
New York University and Utah, State Universíty shows that the
better-looking a person is, the more positive
qualities they are thought
to have and the more positive impact that has in a career.
There is some evidence, however, that: women who are too attractive
-unless they are television commentators or have other high-visibility
do not rank well as managers.
There is enough
research now to conclude that attractive women who
aspire to managerial positions do not fare as well as women who may be
less attractive," said Gerald Adams, a professor at Utah State
University and an authority on the subject.
Some French employers and recruiters decide whether a manager is right
for the job based upon looks. In some cases, morphopsychologists -a
term coined by a French neuropsychiatrist in 1935- attempt to determine
personality traits according to a job
face, eyes, mouth,
nose, ears and hands.
"Unfortunately, morphopsychology has become a criterion for
recruitment in France," said Bruno Vincenti with the Centre des
Jeunes Dirigeants in Paris, the French employers' organization.
"When it is used as the sole criterion, it is a catastrophe".
"Some people hire you because of the color of your tie; why not the
shape of your ears?" said Frederique Rollet, a
psychotherapist in Paris who is the author of several books on
matter: appearance is important (la apariencia tiene importancia)
hirings: giving employment to someone (contrataciones de
promotions: movements to more important jobs, usually with
more responsibility and money (promociones, ascensos)
employers: people that you work for (empleadores, patrones)
requires: demands (exige, demanda, requiere)
to be at least: to be as a minimum (tener como mínimo)
in my twenties: when I was
about 25 years old (cuando yo tenía aproximadamente 25 años)
the power to give orders (autoridad)
career: the long-term plan for your professional life (carrera
qualities: characteristics (cualidades, características)
do not rank well as: are not well positioned as (no se
posicionan bien como)
research: investigation (investigación, análisis de
applicant's face: the face of a person who applies for a job (rostro