A RECENT article in Psychology Today suggests people put themselves down in order to protect themselves from jealousy because the curse is more trouble than it’s worth.
It also turns out women are better at it, and use it as a tactic to avoid being the target of envy — with
People deemed attractive could lose out in situations such as job interviews, if the people they were trying to impress felt threatened by them.
The premise is based on a series of studies on the positive and negative affects of attractiveness on decision making.
It turns out in job interview situations, when the employer saw a same-sex applicant as more attractive than they were, they were less likely to hire them.
But when interviewing the opposite sex, attractiveness made the subject more employable.
In her article, Why Women Put Themselves Down Dr Denise Cummins, a cognitive scientist and a Fellow of the Association for Psychological Science, suggests drawing attention to someone’s attractiveness or achievements could be dangerous for the person receiving the compliment.
And she said by using self-depreciating humour and poking fun at themselves women reduced the risks associated with attracting jealousy.
“While advertisers would have you believe that being the target of jealousy and envy is an admirable goal, most women know — either implicitly or through experience — the dangers of evoking jealousy,” she said.
But the trick only worked if you’re likely to be the subject of envy, Dr Cummins warned.
People perceived as having a ‘lower status’ when they put themselves down became even less appealing to their peers.
“How attractive people are treated depends on whether they are perceived as competitors,” Dr Cummins says.
Dr Cummins argued self deprecation was a disarming feature which made others feel more included and less threatened and the act of putting oneself down was not necessarily a sign of low self-esteem.
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