Stereotypes about Physical Appearance – Gender Studies

Stereotypes are the generalization or oversimplified ideas about certain human groups based on race, nationality, tribe, or sexual orientation among other categories. Stereotypes based on gender, behavior, and physical appearance are not worth embarking on since they have negative effects on human. These stereotypes of gender identity, behavior, and physical appearance negatively influence the perception of women’s role in management, which ultimately results in discrimination. Hardworking and bright women are sometimes discriminated in the workplace due to their physical appearance. Managers or employees who hold stereotypes about physical appearance end up appointing incompetent women and discriminate others based on physical appearance.

People in some quarters have been living in a society that conforms to certain stereotypes on physical appearance by believing that physically attractive people are more competent. Whenever a lady from the stereotyped superior physical appearance goes for an interview, she is given a priority above her competitors (Michael et al, 1993). There are also male bosses who are swept away by the wave of stereotyping and recruit women workers based on their physical appearance. This action leads to human resource officers hiring ladies not based on their characters and credentials as per professional rule of thumb, but they vaguely appoint pretty women with ill motives (Michael et al, 1993).

Sociologists believe that personal looks play a role in the success of a person. They stipulate that some people have got higher advantages than others due to their physical appearance. At these selections, women with physical challenges and unappealing physical appearance are unfairly discriminated for they are deemed not fit, a thing which they did not choose to have. In the case of stereotyping of women based on physical appearance, those ladies who are perceived to be less attractive may be discriminated (Macrae et al, 1996).

Stereotypes in a group that buys the generalizations claiming that physically unattractive women are not good in the job place, may limit the cooperation of women in the work environment. Women will definitely fall subjects of discrimination in their workplace due to perceived bad physical appearance. This will not only affect work relationships but also influence performance (Michael et al, 1993).

In some companies perpetuating stereotypes causes women staff to lack the courage to tackle certain problems they could have easily solved. A company may kill the morale of its women by showing stereotypes based on physical appearance. If pretty girls or women are favored in the workplace, the others will feel downgraded. This is a major cause of discrimination and poor performance. Any woman who would be interested in pursuing further development in the work environment will definitely feel shy due to her physical appearance. She is likely to quit since she will likely foresee that there is no need to force herself in a place where she is discriminated against equal opportunity and recognition (Michael et al, 1993).

Stereotyping whether positive or negative must be discouraged at all levels to prevent any form of discrimination in the society. Companies should treat all people equally irrespective of their physical appearance or sexual orientation, as performance is based on an individual, not a group. Appointments by management must be based on performance and characters not on physical appearance. The stereotype of gender identity, physical appearance, and behavior should be discouraged since it negatively affects the perception of women’s roles in management and leads to discrimination.


Macrae, C. et al. (1996). Stereotypes and Stereotyping. New York: The Guildford Press. Web.

Michael, K. et al. (1993). The Role of Physical Apperance in Managerial Decisions. Journal of Business & Psychology. Vol 8 (2), p181-198. Web.

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