The Naked Truth: Body Image and the Work Place

The Naked Truth: Body Image and the Work Place


By Dr. Sherrie Campbell

Study after study have documented that more attractive people get treated better and with more respect. However, this really depends upon what someone does with their looks. There are times where beauty can be a negative in the workplace:

  1. Too sexy: When someone dresses too sexy in the work place they are seen as not intelligent. They may be popular and well liked but the credit they deserve for their ideas and intelligence may be looked over. It is often hard to see someone who is sexy as smart.

    Solution: If you are too sexy, dress classy and/or more conservative. Also keep all your talk at work direct and only about business. It is better to be quiet than loud in dress and mannerisms, and this takes nothing away from being sexy but it does increase people’s perceptions of your intelligence.

  2. Good looking: If someone is supermodel beautiful they are likely to not be liked by others in the work place due to jealousy and envy. Intelligence and smarts often are not related together. For women they may come off as aloof and for good looking men they come off as cocky. Either way, they may not be taken as seriously in the workplace and have to work doubly hard to be seen for their ideas, drive and creativity.

    Solution: If you considered “too good looking” or “stunning” one of the greatest ways to boycott this is to be complimentary of others and to make other people feel good about themselves. This shows that you don’t want your looks to be part of your work performance and that you are a team player. You then become seen as someone who is wonderful to be around rather than arrogant if that is how they perceive you. Listen more, talk less and work hard. Working hard will speak for itself when it comes to job performance.

  3. Overweight: People who are overweight are often viewed as not disciplined or having a lack of self-control. They are uncomfortable to be around as their weight creates certain bodily habits that others might find repulsive, and this creates a certain amount of isolation for the person who is overweight. Obesity also translates into low intelligence and therefore, they may not be used to go out and get the ‘big deal’ all based on what they look like. Further being overweight may cost the company financially in terms of job related injuries or medical care.

    Solution: Lose weight. For one, it is in your best interest to take care of your health. Start an office wide diet and become the leader in this way. People will jump on your team and support your to your goal. This will make you stand out in every way and you will feel better as well.

  4. Horizontally challenged: If you are unusually short may it make it hard for your voice to get heard if people see you as small. Short women can be cute but you may not get taken seriously. At least for women we have heels to help us out. However, many people who are short use other facilities like their hard work, or being demanding or loud to make up for their smaller stature. They could have the napoleon complex.

    Solution: Let your personality, hard work and people skills do the talking. You do not have to be louder to overcompensate for being taller. Commit to your job, stand tall in your stature with good posture and let your performance and charm win everyone over.

  5. Too skinny: Being too thin is often viewed as frail or weak. People may not perceive a thin person as strong enough to get the job done. People who are too think often look pre-pubescent and therefore they may appear to be younger, more immature and not yet an adult. They can look unhealthy and people can react to that in similar fashion to how overweight people are viewed…not having self-care.

    Solution: Some really cannot gain weight, so in this case let other parts of your personality show your strength. Use your voice more often and make big decisions in your company to show the size of your confidence and ability to be a leader.

Sherrie Campbell, PhD is a veteran, licensed Psychologist with two decades of clinical training and experience providing counseling and psychotherapy services to residents of Yorba Linda, Irvine, Anaheim, Fullerton and Brea, California. In her private practice, she currently specializes in psychotherapy with adults and teenagers, including marriage and family therapy, grief counselling, childhood trauma, sexual issues, personality disorders, illness and more. She has helped individuals manage their highest high and survive their lowest low—from winning the lottery to the death of a child. Her interactive sessions are as unique and impactful as her new book, Loving Yourself : The Mastery of Being Your Own Person.

She earned her Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology in 2003 and has regularly contributes to numerous publications, including,, and She is also an inspirational speaker, avid writer and proud mother. She can be reached at

Loving Yourself: The Mastery of Being Your Own Person is available on and other fine booksellers.

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