Ever had a good hair day that made you feel like the world was a just place and everyone inferior to you deserved their lot?
Elizabeth MacBride shares a study from Stanford Business School that confirms we are monsters. More specifically: how we feel about ourselves is very dynamic, and how we feel about inequality is dynamic, too. That is, when we think we look good, we tend to feel on top and support the hierarchies that put us there. Whoops:
If you believe you are attractive, you tend to think you belong in a higher social class yourself and believe, accordingly, that hierarchies are a legitimate way for organizing people and groups. You also are more likely to believe people lower down in a hierarchy are there because they deserve to be. The research also showed that self-perceived physical attractiveness mattered more to people’s perception of their social rank than their self-perceived goodness — qualities like empathy and integrity — did.
Many people “see the social world as fundamentally stratified not only on the basis of who has wealth, education, and occupational prestige, but also on the basis of who is beautiful and attractive,” Neale and Belmi wrote.
Hot tip from the article: next time you have to advocate for yourself in the workplace, “imagine a time you felt really attractive.” So sad, so real.