, Volume 2, Issue 2, pp 123-133

Physical attractiveness and its relationship to sex-role stereotyping

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Abstract

On the basis of recent findings showing that physical attractiveness serves as an important evaluative cue in person perception, the present paper reviews evidence which indicates that physical attractiveness differentially affects the judgments of males and females. Recent research seems to indicate that the physical-attractiveness stereotype — which holds that attractive individuals are more positively evaluated across a wide range of dimensions than unattractive individuals — is more potent when applied to women than to men. The origins of this differential stereotyping are discussed in terms of the historically defined roles of men and women in our society. In addition, the paper discusses the implications of the physical-attractiveness stereotype for the general problem of sex-role stereotyping.

The authors would like to thank Irene Frieze, Gerald Porter, Susan Solomon, Benny Shanon and Ellen Berscheid for their comments on an earlier draft of this manuscript.