Erotic Capital

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7 Responses

  1. Rufus F. says:

    I had a good friend who was strikingly attractive. Actually, I think the reason I only ever wanted to be friends with her was that it was just too interesting to hear her stories about everyone else and how they responded to her. It was also fascinating to go to restaurants or clubs and watch people get flustered by her looks.

    There were definitely advantages as far as mating- I don’t think she ever dated anyone who didn’t fall in love with her fairly quickly- although that could be a disadvantage as well. Employment… well, she modeled successfully for some time and her looks probably helped with her regular employment.. But the disadvantages were that she was sort of stunted in other areas. She didn’t really make good choices in most areas of her life and I sort of suspect that she never had to learn how to. Also I think I was basically the only friend she had and that eventually ended.

    The other thing Hakim might want to get at is that, if you behave as if you’re very sure of yourself, other people tend to fall in line. So, if you assume that you’re very attractive and act self-confident, but not arrogant, about it, that might bring the same results.Report

  2. John Henry says:

    If so, how might the phenomena Hakim describes under the heading of erotic capital be addressed in corporate policies and government programs?

    I don’t really understand the question. The interplay of looks, intelligence, attractiveness, self-confidence, and natural charm is pretty complex, as is their relative importance in different job functions. I don’t see how a corporate policy or (still worse) a government program could address this, nor why we would want to devote resources to it even if there were a way.Report

    • @John Henry,

      I think that’s a fair response. If there were something to Hakim’s theory, we would presumably want to take account of it in some way when we consider how to align incentives and ensure equal opportunities. It there’s nothing to it though, we can simply move on.Report

      • Jason Kuznicki in reply to Matthew Schmitz says:

        @Matthew Schmitz,

        It could be that there’s something to it, but that the something is in the eye of the beholder. Not all inequalities are subject to equalization — equalize in the eyes of one, and you’ve probably disequalized in the eyes of another.Report

      • John Henry in reply to Matthew Schmitz says:

        @Matthew Schmitz, Well, but what’s an ‘equal opportunity’? Everyone has a mixture of characteristics that they use to navigate their way through life, love, and work. One of those traits is intelligence. Another is self-confidence. A third is in the words of Zoolander being “really, really, really, really, good looking,” or just good looking. These characteristics are inter-related but they can often evolve over time (e.g., see 15 year high-school reunions). They also are very hard to disentangle at times in a performance review (X is a great salesperson; she’s also extremely attractive; should she lose points because part of her success is undoubtedly due to her looks?).

        I think ‘erotic capital’ as it is broadly defined above is real; but I am not sure it is fairer to dock attractive people points because they wouldn’t be as successful without their looks.Report