Friday, September 1, 2017

Why beauty works in the entertainment industry

Do looks really count: Bongo Flava singer

Do looks really count: Bongo Flava singer Snura. PHOTO | FILE 

The Beat. There is as age-old advice not to judge a book by a cover, but regardless of this fact most people do and even in the age where managers make judgments about who to hire, who to fire, who to promote and who shouldn’t move up the corporate ladder based upon how they look.

The facts are that, on average, handsome men earn five percent more than less good-looking males. The same is true with women, the more attractive of which earn up to four percent more.

As the thinking goes, symmetrical faces are deemed beautiful; beauty is therefore, linked to confidence; and it’s a combination of looks and confidence that is often equated with smartness.

In today’s entertainment industry good looks is no longer something that can dismissed as frivolous or vain, beauty or lack of it can affect your job, your career, your life.

Though not everyone seems to agree and instead go for the perception that talent is all one requires to succeed, it’s no secret that the industry is consumed by image.

In fact, economists have long recognised what has been dubbed as the ‘beauty premium’ - the idea that pretty people, whatever their aspirations, tend to do better in almost everything.

In this era of social media, image is everything and as one pundit puts it, ‘you have to show something extra apart from just the talent, I must be able to desire a second look.

According to Salim Maganga, the moment an artiste is thrust into the limelight, he or she becomes a product and like any other brand, therefore she needs to be packaged in ways that appeal to the customers.

He adds that it is the reason why artists who are not endowed with aesthetical qualities struggle in the industry.

According to him some artistes in today’s Bongo Flava have only made it to the limelight because of the good looks that was accompanying the main product, whereas those who are less endowed struggle.

In an interview last year Rita Paulsen who is the founder of a talent search reality TV show BSS says it is sometimes construed as what should come first as combination of factors plays in an artist’s success.

“It is a combination of factors which include beauty, personality and the talent and some brains too. The beauty in an artist radiates because there are some supporting factors without which the girl is just some bimbo!” Rita told The Beat.

Though she admits that one has to appeal the audience, she is, however, quick to caution that the beauty premium is a trap that some young unsuspecting girls have fallen into.

“Some of these girls have been duped into thinking that beauty is all they need to succeed in either acting or singing and at the end of the day they end up being easy targets,” she adds.

Elizabeth Manka believes the ills in the industry make women face a double bind.

“They are expected to conform to the beauty standards of the day, yet simultaneously condemned for doing so,” says Elizabeth.

And it seems it is not only in the performing arts that looks has become such an important attribute.

According to a survey carried out by NewsWeek, 57 per cent of the 202 hiring managers said that qualified but unattractive candidates were likely to have a harder time landing a job.

When it comes to women, apparently, flaunting their assets works: 61 per cent of managers (the majority of them men) said it would be an advantage for a woman to wear clothing showing off her curves at work.

According to a New York recruiting agency, “This is the new reality of the job market, it’s better to be average and good- looking than brilliant and unattractive.”

On the other hand, women who are too attractive or too feminine are often relegated to low-level positions, particularly in traditionally male-dominated industries.

Known as the “bimbo effect,” these women are seen as beautiful but unintelligent and ultimately less competent by both men and their female peers.

In reality, it’s a confluence of cultural forces that has left us clutching, desperately, to an ever-evolving beauty ideal. Today’s young entertainers were reared on the kind of reality TV and pop culture that screams, again and again, that everything is a candidate for upgrading.

As disturbing as all of these may be, there’s seemingly nothing to be done about this reality as far as changing the opinions of others.

Advice: if you’re one of those lucky people who was bequeathed with good looks at creation, enjoy the advantages, but be careful not to position yourself as an empty-minded beauty queen.