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Erotic capital: Danish women losing out

Good looks and sex appeal help men and women to get ahead. But some groups have more advantages than others, says sociologist Catherine Hakim to the University Post

While various studies have found that attractive people are statistically more successful, sociologist Catherine Hakim’s research looks specifically into what groups benefit the most and in what context.

The Centre for Stratification Research and The Nordic Institute of Asian Studies are hosting sociologist Dr. Catherine Hakim to talk about her recent book, Honey Money, and the growing importance of ‘erotic capital’. This can involve anything from physical appearance and sex appeal to charm, sociability or actual sexual expertise.

”One point that I think is important, and puzzling, is that men earn more money from being attractive than women do —and this happens despite the fact that women put more effort into looking good! Attractive men earn on average 17 pct. more compared to only 12 pct. more for attractive women,” writes Hakim to the University Post.

Who’s coming out on top?

Dr. Hakim believes people should learn how to exploit their erotic capital to get ahead, and that this may even work to alter the balance of power between the sexes.

Her talk at the university will question why attractive Danish women are disadvantaged in comparison to attractive Danish men, especially when compared to Asia.

”This discrepancy seems greatest in the Puritan cultures of Northern Europe and North America. So why is the Puritan/Protestant culture so antagonist to beauty generally and female beauty in particular?,” says Hakim.

Controversial topics

Dr. Hakim argues that people should learn how to exploit their erotic capital to get ahead, which has lead to a discussion of the controversial issue of sex work, a hot topic in many countries – especially Denmark.

Only recently a restaurant opened in Copenhagen called Hot Buns, where waitresses previously served their customers in hot pants, but recently started working in lingerie while serving both burgers and sex toys..

The talk will be held 9 October at the Danish National Centre for Social Research (SFI). . See more information also in the fact box above right.

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