Makeup Makes Women Look More Competent

It's conventional wisdom that women wear make-up to appear more beautiful, but according to a new study, there's another effect: they appear more competent.

Here's the intriguing study by Pyschology professor Nancy Etcoff and colleagues:

The study’s 25 female subjects, aged 20 to 50 and white, African-American and Hispanic, were photographed barefaced and in three looks that researchers called natural, professional and glamorous. They were not allowed to look in a mirror, lest their feelings about the way they looked affect observers’ impressions.

One hundred forty-nine adults (including 61 men) judged the pictures for 250 milliseconds each, enough time to make a snap judgment. Then 119 different adults (including 30 men) were given unlimited time to look at the same faces.

The participants judged women made up in varying intensities of luminance contrast (fancy words for how much eyes and lips stand out compared with skin) as more competent than barefaced women, whether they had a quick glance or a longer inspection.


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The only thing these pictures tell me is that whoever does her eyebrows is fully competent. (If it's her, then I guess the study is correct? This seems like a ridiculous waste of science funding.)
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If that is right; it means that her competency rating is not solely determinable by her expertise at applying make-up, but we must also take into account the psychology of the judge. Perhaps the judge, being a woman who is affected with jealousy, would outwardly judge the woman to be less competent. Because the judgment is pushed through this jealousy-filter.

This would explain why attractive people are generally judged to be better at everything. Not because they are better, but because the judge is biased in favor of their own affective lens. They derive a sutble visual-consumptive pleasure from laying eyes on and receiving the image of something beautiful and subconsciously aim to preserve that relationship.

But, hey these are just my thoughts, not the Gospel.
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There was something else I wanted to say, which is that I don't think the psychology can be predicted like; If a woman wears more make-up, then she will be judged more competent. But there is a missing step, which is that the judge is globally affected by her appearance. By "global" I mean that all of his judgments are affected by her appearance, not just her competence. And by "affect" I mean that he is emotionally AFFECTED by her appearance.

Now, I say "he" but the judge could just as well be a woman. It is important that we are always "affected" by our environments, even in subtle and imperceptible ways. This affect informs, or one might say clouds, our judgments.
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A lot of studies prove people are on the whole narrow-minded dillweeds. But you don't need studies for that, just go out and talk to someone... anyone. Talk to me, I'll only crap on about how narrow-minded and superficial this all is.
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