Women wearing ‘heavy’ make-up less likely to be viewed as a good leader

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Women who wear ‘heavy’ make-up are less likely to be viewed as a good leader, according to new research.

The research, conducted by Abertay University, revealed that the amount of make-up a woman is wearing can have a negative impact on perceptions of her leadership ability.

Participants in the study were asked to view a series of images featuring the same woman without cosmetics and with make-up applied for a “social night out”.

Computer software was used to manipulate the faces and the amount of makeup was also manipulated in the face images.

Each participant completed a face perception task where they judged sixteen face-pairs, indicating how much better a leader they felt their chosen face to be compared to the other face.

It was found that both men and women evaluated women more negatively as a leader if the image suggested she was wearing a lot of makeup.

Dr Christopher Watkins, leader of the study said, “This research follows previous work in this area, which suggests that wearing make-up enhances how dominant a woman looks.”

“While the previous findings suggest that we are inclined to show some deference to a woman with a good looking face, our new research suggests that make-up does not enhance a woman’s dominance by benefitting how we evaluate her in a leadership role.”

Alison Simpson
About the author

Alison is the Digital Content Editor for WeAreTheCity. She has a BA Honours degree in Journalism and History from the University of Portsmouth. She has previously worked in the marketing sector and in a copywriting role. Alison’s other passions and hobbies include writing, blogging and travelling.

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