Who says you can’t be smart and beautiful?
A recent study shows that “attractive” female students earn higher grades than “unattractive” ones. According to the study, young women who were considered pretty had a 0.024 increase in grades on a 4.0 scale and earned grades that were 0.005 higher than average-looking students.
And if you think setting aside your sweatpants and t-shirts for makeup and dresses will boost your grade from a C- to an A, you might wanna to rethink that.
“We’re not talking about a D student that’s being brought up to an A because she’s attractive,” said Christina Peters, co-author of the study and a Metropolitan State University of Denver associate professor. “Instead, the magnitude of the effects that we find is about half the distance between an A- and a B+. The difference is there and it’s significant and can potentially be disconcerting, but it’s a small effect — it doesn’t mean the attractive females are getting into Harvard and unattractive ones aren’t.”
Peters and her co-author, Rey Hernández-Julián, studied more than 6,500 student ID-card photographs and more than 168,00 course grades awarded to the students at Metro State. Factors such as ACT scores were used to control student academic ability, according to Inside Higher Ed. It was also reported that the “attractiveness gap in grades appears to result more from lower grades for less attractive women than from higher grades for the most attractive women.”
Peters says the study was conducted “because they were intrigued by the “large literature” in economics and social sciences that found evidence for appearance-based discrimination in wages and hiring. They wanted to determine if the differences in the labor market stemmed from early stages of life, which include schooling. Most importantly, she says they wanted to identify the mechanisms in why appearance affects these outcomes,” according to USA Today College.
Hernansez-Julians explains “The reasoning behind this data might be because more attractive people are more confident, which translates into better performance with certain activities like in-class and online presentations.”
“In terms of the bigger picture of this study, this speaks to the implicit biases that we have not just in terms of physical appearance but in terms of race and gender and discrimination and all levels,” Peters said. “I hope this (study) contributes to the bigger policy discussion that should be happening on what we can do about these implicit biases, which many people do not realize we’re consciously doing.”
This isn’t the first time the link between attractiveness and academic achievement have been analyzed. A book written 2013, entitled Physical Attractiveness and the Accumulation of Social and Human Capital in Adolescence and Young Adulthood: Assets and Distractions, shows those who were attractive in high school are more likely to go on and earn a four year degree than those with average or below average looks.
My biggest concern with this study is how do you know if someone is “attractive” or not? Everyone has their own definition of what’s attractive and what’s not and each person has their own habits and ways of earning good grades (or not). There are people who don’t know how to take care of themselves but can earn A’s and B’s and there are those who look like Kylie Jenner but gets C’s and D’s.
The indication of “what’s considered attractive” and “what’s not” is either vague or not identified at all in the study, so there’s really no indication of how “attractive” a female has to be in order to get good grades. It’s true, especially nowadays in the age of social media, that attraction, beauty, and knowing how to take care of yourself mean everything. But does it really mean everything when it comes to getting good grades in school? Should success in school be measured by how someone dresses rather the effort put into the schoolwork itself?