Date on Honors Thesis

Spring 5-2021





Examining Committee Member

Dr. Sarah Lefebvre

Examining Committee Member

Dr. Ismail Karabas

Examining Committee Member

Dr. Heath Keller


It was once believed that a woman’s physical appearance benefited her in many aspects of life, including her career. Following the progression of the #MeToo movement, society has seen beauty become a liability for women in the workplace. This investigation dives into this phenomenon and redirects the focus to an earlier point in the timeline of a female’s professional career: the hiring process. Specifically, this paper begins to uncover an answer to the long- standing question of whether or not a woman should include a photo of herself on her resumé or CV. Across two quantitative studies, I investigate whether or not increased effort to enhance attractiveness or “beauty work” (e.g., makeup, hair styling, etc.) will aid or harm efforts to achieve employment, as a result of perceived morality and its effect on perceived lack of fit. This research examines the responses of survey participants in an emulated hiring manager role. The findings of this research have the potential to reveal biases on the basis of appearance in hiring processes, an issue with particular relevance in the current social climate. Specific implications lie within the realm of human resources and Title VII of the Civil Rights Act (for organizations) and best practices for achieving employment (for individuals).