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Cinderella Revisited: Women's Appearance Modification as a Function of Target Audience Sex and Attractiveness

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Abstract:

The impact of 2 target audience characteristics on appearance modification was examined. Women participants were led to expect an interaction with an attractive or unattractive male or female target (randomly assigned). Female raters assessed the amount of cosmetics worn by participants both before the experimental manipulation and on the day that they returned for the anticipated interaction. It was revealed that women wore significantly more makeup when they anticipated an interaction with a highly attractive target, irrespective of sex, wore the same amount of makeup when anticipating meeting an unattractive woman, and wore significantly less makeup when expecting to meet an unattractive man. These findings are congruent with a self-presentational conceptualization of appearance and provide evidence that attractiveness and sex/gender are powerful social cues that elicit behavioral displays from others.

Keywords: APPEARANCE MODIFICATION; ATTRACTIVENESS; GENDER; GROOMING BEHAVIOR; SELF-PRESENTATION

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: https://doi.org/10.2224/sbp.2011.39.4.563

Publication date: 2011-05-01

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