They are, every single one of them. Even the ones I don’t see because they’re just a black rectangle on Zoom. Apparently, though, attractive girls’ grades suffered when we moved to online courses because they couldn’t appeal to professor’s biases.
It’s a garbage study, though, as Rebecca Watson explains. The paper claims that…
As education moved online following the onset of the pandemic, the grades of attractive female students deteriorated. This finding implies that the female beauty premium observed when education is in-person is likely to be chiefly a consequence of discrimination. On the contrary, for male students, there was still a significant beauty premium even after the introduction of online teaching. The latter finding suggests that for males in particular, beauty can be a productivity-enhancing attribute.
I don’t understand the mechanism behind that — so we have some kind of radar that senses hot men even over wi-fi, but that fails when we try to detect hot women? How is “beauty” a productivity-enhancing attribute?
Did the author consider the possibility that all of our students and professors have been experiencing great strains over the last few years? Deciding that the one decisive parameter was what they look like seems exceptionally reductive.
Then I had to wonder how the scored “beauty”, and it turns out the author just scavenged up photos on social media, had a couple of students look at them, and rate them. This seems rather arbitrary, and dependent on biases by the judges, as well as accidents of photography. I know I hate it when people take candid shots of my face before I’ve put my makeup on, and also, I don’t know about you, but I automatically deduct 2 points from any photo in which the subject is making pouty duck lips. Sorry.
Final gross error: he included enough detail about the subjects that they could in some cases tell what their score was…and their grades. Oh, and big problem, there was no informed consent, none of the students knew they had been incorporated into this “study”.
The author, Adrian Mehic, is an economist, so I’d already be suspicious of his psychological/sociological study, but the ethics violations and the ridiculous conclusion he draws (“attractive women get better grades because they’re being unfairly advantaged”) confirms that this is a dumpster fire of a paper, constructed out of a thoroughly p-hacked grab bag of fuzzy data.