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Beauty as Status

Murray Webster, Jr. and James E. Driskell, Jr.
American Journal of Sociology
Vol. 89, No. 1 (Jul., 1983), pp. 140-165
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/2779050
Page Count: 26
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Beauty as Status
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Abstract

Physical attractiveness (beauty) affects both cognitions about individuals and their interaction patterns. Our proposed theoretical explanation for these phenomena links attractiveness effects to other cases of status generalization such as those produced by race or sex. Many effects of attractiveness can be explained by viewing it as a status characteristic and applying a theory of status charactersitics and expectation states proposed and elaborated by Joseph Berger and others. A test of the proposed explanation shows that (1) attractiveness produces predicted differences in both general and specific expectations; (2) attractiveness effects can be modified in combination with additional status characteristics; and (3) neither of the two above results is affected by sex of stimulus individuals or respondents, a differentiation of this explanation from one that relies on sexual or romatinc appeal.

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