via EI 4u with permission
What do Obama, Jordan, Beyoncé, and Tina Turner have in common but Gordon and Sarah Brown don’t?
Well according to Catherine Hakim a sociologist at the LSE it’s Erotic Capital. Something she believes is 50% innate and 50% learned. She thinks EC is; “sex appeal, charm and social skills, physical fitness and liveliness, sexual competence and skills in self-presentation”.
If you have it you can earn 10-15% more than your colleagues (but that applies to taller people too). She thinks women usually have more than men but men are catching up with their use of botox (see my previous posting “Body Language and the B problem”) and male moisturisers, whilst both sexes are found spending time at the gym, or under the knife, improving their appearance.
Using EC apparently means anything from flirting subtly with the boss to commercially exploiting a large pair of breasts. She sees Katie Price and Posh Spice as people not endowed with high IQs who make the most of what they have but are looked down on for it – perhaps because of our Anglo-Saxon puritanism.
I can’t decide whether this is good news or not! Annoying radical feminists can’t be all bad but do we want to see more sexualisation in the work place?
Is this the new “emotional intelligence”? Is there a role for HR and training experts?
Kate Spicer who interviewed her for The Sunday Times was clearly a little confused too. She referred to Hakim’s foxy red hair, expertly applied makeup with a dash of botox and also her use of some of the EC skills she seems to be endorsing, whilst claiming to be a feminist.
Personnel Today’s Guru has also picked up on this story in his blog this week (27 April), amusingly referring to erotic capitals such as Paris, Amsterdam or Prague! However like me and my reader TG he suggests a niche market for seminars and consultants as EC becomes a new, sexier, version of Human Capital Management.
Updated 19 January 2011: Researchers have now found that you can have both brains and beauty! Life can be so cruel.
Studies in America and the UK show that handsome men and beautiful women tend to be cleverer than the norm by about 14 IQ points. The findings suggest that as both beauty and intelligence are inherited the offspring of people with these attributes will inherit both qualities and this will be reinforced in subsequent generations.
Satoshi Kanazawa, the LSE researcher, found that the association between physical attractiveness and general intelligence was stronger for men than for women: 14 points higher than average for men and 12 points for women – so hard to maintain a view about dumb blondes.
This research, published in Intelligence, was based on the Child Development Study of 17,000 British children born in March 1958 which has monitored them ever since, and the American National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health – a similar study of 35,000 young Americans.
Kanazawa’ argument is that; “if more intelligent men are more likely to attain higher status, and if men of higher status are more likely to marry beautiful women, then, given that both intelligence and physical attractiveness are highly heritable, there should be a positive correlation between intelligence and physical attractiveness in the children’s generation”.
Beauty happens to be Kanazawa’s special research interest and he has also found that middle class girls not only have higher IQs than working class girls but are also more attractive.
The report in the Sunday Times (16/1/11) doesn’t explain how physical attractiveness was measured or rated and the example given, model Lily Cole who is studying at Cambridge, is not, in my opinion, beautiful (but to me neither is Kate Moss or Naomi Campbell, so it shows how subjective beauty can be). To his credit Kanazawa does say that these are purely statistical findings and shouldn’t be applied to individuals or prescribe how to judge people.
Updated 19 August 2011: You’ve read my blog on this topic and now you can buy Carol Hakim’s new book; “Honey Money: The Power of Erotic Capital”.
The Daily Mail has just published a piece by the author which is bound to upset the feminists and PC brigade (so that’s a plus).
I can’t say I necessarily I agree with some of the celebrities used as examples. I don’t find Posh Spice the least bit attractive nor Renee Zellwegger or Madonna but it just goes to show that beauty is in the eyes of the beholder.
The day after my last post on body language (NVC) there was Judy James on Sky News talking about politicians and their ritual handshakes. Useful and entertaining stuff.
But back to facial expressions and the B problem. Yes Botox.
Used by women and men to smooth the furrowed brow, stamp out the crows feet and even to enhance power negotiations apparently. But what tricks it plays when trying to interpret that smile – or a frown for that matter.
US studies, to be published in Psychological Science, show that not only does Botox get rid of your wrinkles but that it may damage your social life as well. Failure to show appropriate emotions, especially sadness or empathy, will be interpreted as a lack of sympathy or interest.
And this goes further than an argument about vanity. The debate about the mind-body connection goes back a long way including Darwin’s hypothesis that facial expression is important in producing emotion in the brain. If you smile more you will feel happier (an idea adopted by positive psychology), if you stand tall you will feel more confident, if you look at the ground you will feel more depressed etc (exercise is recognised as a good way of countering depression by the way).
So not being able to frown or facially respond to sadness not only means other people will think you don’t care but may actually slow down your empathetic response. http://women.timesonline.co.uk/tol/life_and_style/women/beauty/article7094238.ece
Updated 24 July 2010: And “dimpleplasty” – the creation of dimples by cutting a hole in your cheek and stitching it to your muscles – can have a similar effect by making you have a permanent Cheryl Cole-like smile.
As Carol Midgley writes in the Times magazine (24 July 2010). having a permanent grin when you hear your neighbour’s dog has died could be awkward!
Non-verbal communications (NVC) or body language provides good sport for the amateur psychologist in us all and politicians are fair game at the best of times. For example, what do you make of Brown’s odd jaw movements when he speaks, as if he has to force the words out against his better judgement? Some might still prefer his more down to earth accent however to those of Cameron and Clegg.
And when it comes to using body language effectively author James Borg says that Clinton and Obama beat him hands down: http://business.timesonline.co.uk/tol/business/management/article6513280.ece?print=yes&randnum=1245257891843
But back to those photo opportunities; can you tell whether or not the smiles are genuine? Try out your own skill at detecting fake smiles at: http://www.bbc.co.uk/science/humanbody/mind/surveys/smiles/index.shtml
The warm weather has definitely brought out the non-verbals. Dr Mark Porter in The Times 27 April says: ” Doctors, like party leaders, must learn to control their body language – and read that of their patients”. He also offers some guidance to MPs on using NVC. http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/life_and_style/health/expert_advice/article7108830.ece