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Look what they done to my brain, Ma

Maureen Jordan
Thursday, August 20, 2009

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In my blog a few weeks ago, I wrote about a study undertaken at Oxford University that ranked Australian men as the least attractive to women wanting to enter long-term relationships. As someone who has taught at university over the years and engaged in high level research for my law thesis, I ask the question: what is the point of such studies? And who is paying for them? Thankfully, this is not a question I need to ponder for too long as I’m not a United Kingdom taxpayer.

However, when I read an article on ABC Online that referred to a PhD thesis produced by a student at a South Australian university, I found those same questions popping into my head.

This woman’s research apparently found that regardless of the product, women are less likely to buy if they think the saleswoman is more attractive than them. Findings from the study were published in the Journal of International Business and Economics!

My goodness, what a load of rubbish. Do we need a university paper on this topic when there are so many other issues affecting women both here and around the globe? And if these highly attractive sales staff are threatening to a customer’s self image, then two issues emerge:

Why isn’t the retailer training employees to ensure that the entire sales process is about the customer having a great experience?

And why are these 18 to 26 year old customers having such image problems in first place?

This thesis reportedly concentrated on high-end boutiques. Well, where are these 18 to 26 year olds getting the money to buy in these high-end stores? When I was young, my confidence problem would have related to the fact that I couldn’t bankroll any high-end purchase, and my parents certainly weren’t going to pick up the tab.

This thesis reminds me of a public relations stunt to get exposure for the University. It attracted response, but what a shame our institutions are putting out such rubbish. Let me quote the PHD researcher, asquoted in the article:

"Some girls will just think it's completely unachievable and no matter how hard she tries, that dress will never look good on her."

Girls, girls, girls. We need to change, seriously.

Important information:This content has been prepared without taking account of the objectives, financial situation or needs of any particular individual. It does not constitute formal advice. For this reason, any individual should, before acting, consider the appropriateness of the information, having regard to the individual’s objectives, financial situation and needs and, if necessary, seek appropriate professional advice.

Published: Thursday, August 20, 2009


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