Int. J. of Work Organisation and Emotion   »   2012 Vol.5, No.1



Title: Great expectations: gender, looks and lookism at work


Authors: Chris Warhurst; Diane Van den Broek; Richard Hall; Dennis Nickson


University of Sydney, Sydney, Australia
University of Sydney, Sydney, Australia
University of Sydney, Sydney, Australia
University of Strathclyde, UK


Abstract: Drawing on archival data of employment discrimination from the Victorian Equal Opportunity and Human Rights Commission in Australia, this article examines the issue of employee looks, women and lookism in interactive service work. From existing research on emotional and aesthetic labour, lookism might be expected to occur primarily in services and primarily involve female workers. The findings suggest that these expectations are largely met. However, the data also reveal that men in services also claim lookism and that lookism extends beyond interactive services into other industries such as manufacturing. This article concludes by discussing the implications of these unexpected findings for the study of lookism.


Keywords: aesthetic labour; emotional labour; interactive service work; lookism; gender; employment discrimination; employee looks; women; emotions; female workers; services; manufacturing.


DOI: 10.1504/IJWOE.2012.048593


Int. J. of Work Organisation and Emotion, 2012 Vol.5, No.1, pp.72 - 90


Available online: 18 Aug 2012



Editors Full text accessAccess for SubscribersPurchase this articleComment on this article