Research shows that attractive people do better in life. They are treated better by teachers, doctors, even strangers, and are more likely to be hired and promoted than those who are less attractive. But in academe, being hot has a downside: Professors who are considered too good-looking can be cast by their peers as lightweights, known less for their productivity than for their pulchritude.
"You have to be acceptable-looking, but being gorgeous can be a problem," says Judith Waters, a professor of psychology at Fairleigh Dickinson University who does research on beauty and success. "If you look as if you spend more time in the beauty parlor than in the library, that's going to be a problem."