The findings suggest that make-up changes perceptions of status depending on who is making the judgement — males or females.
Men think women who wear make-up on are more “prestigious”, while women think women with make-up on are more “dominant”, reveals new research.
The research is the first to report on how males and females perceive women who wear make-up differently.
“While both sexes agree that women with make-up look more attractive when it comes to ‘high status’, it really depends on who is looking,” said researcher Viktoria Mileva, post-doctoral research fellow at the University of Stirling in Scotland.
“Men think women with make-up on are more prestigious, while women think women with make-up are more dominant,” Mileva noted.
Research suggests that “high status” can be obtained through two main routes.
“Alternatively, you can gain high status by prestige; by having positive merits and qualities that make others want to follow you,” she added.
The findings were published in the journal Perception.
The study also found that women held rather negative views of other women who wear make-up.
“We did some follow-up studies as to why women might feel that women with make-up are perceived as more dominant, and it looks like it might be related to jealousy and threat potential,” Mileva said.
“Women rating women with make-up said they would be more jealous of them, thought they were more promiscuous, and would be more attractive to men than their non-make-up wearing counterparts,” she noted.
For example, at a job interview, knowing whether the hiring committee will consist of men or women might influence a female candidate’s decision about wearing make-up.
“Whether the interviewers will view her as attractive, dominant, and/or prestigious can affect her and the interviewers’ actions and perhaps the outcome of the interview itself. Thus, understanding the potential implications of cosmetics use are important not only for the wearer, but also for the perceiver,” Mileva explained.