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Erotic Capital: The Power of Attraction in the Boardroom and the Bedroom

3.22  ·  Rating details ·  223 ratings  ·  42 reviews
In 2010, pioneering sociologist Catherine Hakim shocked the world with a provocative new theory: In addition to the three recognized personal assets (economic, cultural, and social capital), each individual has a fourth asset—erotic capital—that he or she can, and should, use to advance within society. In this bold and controversial book, Hakim explores the applications an ...more
Hardcover, 304 pages
Published September 6th 2011 by Basic Books (first published April 1st 2011)
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3.22  · 
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 ·  223 ratings  ·  42 reviews

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Ah, the joys of women pandering to men's needs as a way of communicating in the workplace. What woman could say no?

Well, I hope every one of you who is a female and reading this will always say no. However, there seems to be an increasingly vocal minority of highly successful women who bizarrely believe that sex discrimination no longer occurs in the workplace or elsewhere, who are now advocating that you, as a woman, should go ahead and exploit your femininity and behave in a manner in the work
Lucy Hay
Aug 08, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I find it ironic that so many feminists think this a NON feminist book, especially as so many non-feminists think it's dripping with it. I think it's actually somewhere in the middle, drawing attention to the multiple double standards between the genders when it comes to beauty discrimination, which definitely exists - and is something perpetuated by both men AND women, either as a control issue or jealousy (or both). I believe HONEY MONEY to be a thought provoking book that challenges many femi ...more
Sassa Mifrass
Jan 16, 2013 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Okay, short version: I had high hopes for this book. They were all completely unmet.

I went into it keen to hear what Hakim had to say. I left confused as to how this messy ramble got published.

What I expected: interesting psychological studies, insights into the role gender and attractiveness in general has in the workplace.

What I got: Sweeping generalisations that didn't actually cite research. (Check those footnotes - they don't lead to references, just more rambling). Statements out of the b
Catherine B.
Feb 06, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I discovered this book while reading The Economist a few weeks back; they had reviewed it and had given it favorable reviews. I found this book to be very informative and incredibly provocative. I could not put it down. I finished it in less than a day, and I was so sad for it to end. The arguments that Ms. Hakim presents are sometimes upsetting, but upon reflection, a lot of what she writes is regretfully true and accurate to what I have seen, being a female in the work force now for over 6 yea ...more
Cecilia Welch
Feb 16, 2015 rated it liked it
I actually DID like this book, even though I only rated it a three star. This is how it all makes sense:

Catherine Hakim's extensive and thorough research into erotic capital is impressive. She dares to bring up a subject that is extremely important in today's society, and she backs it up with numerous studies in both sociology and psychology. Hakim asks just the right questions. I don't agree with everything said, since I find some of the answers way too easy of an explanation. None the less I a
Liz Ely
Mar 28, 2013 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I read this because,even though I knew I would probably disagree with it,i thought it would challenge my perspective on the issues mentioned-what with it being written by someone from lse. Alas it just felt like I was trolling myself-there are so many holes in her argument,alot that is just wrong-and massive side helpings of fatphobia,homophobic,misogyny and wilfull misrepresentations of feminism. Complete nonsense.
I found some interesting facts but the overall thesis was poorly justified. Basically, Hakim has a framework and wants to fit the world into this framework. Naturally, her framework explains everything while predicting nothing new. Gave up early, so if the book got good then I apologize for not being patient enough to find the good.
Iris Gercov
Interesting perspective on using erotic capital as a domination instrument instead of a victim's feature. A little bit too pro cold and meaningless sex, but you just can't deny she is honest. Sad but true.
Stephen Cranney
Oct 13, 2012 rated it it was ok
Her lack of citations was really annoying, especially when she was making controversial claims.
This book is hard going, since it's written like an essay with a whole lot of supporting data written in to the book itself. The first two chapters are the hardest, then after that it's much easier. A lot of people disagree with the ideas she's putting forth, but I personally think that some of it is valid. Things like women who are more attractive get paid more attention and therefore get luckier breaks and move up faster in the world - this is similar to a an attractive, tall man who gets a fa ...more
Nov 09, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I can understand the controversy surrounding this book, but I read it in light of the author indicating the presence of 'erotic capital', and using scientific findings to back this up. The idea that attractive babies already receive more loving attention and that during their lifetime the small benefits of being considered more attractive add up to eventually receiving higher pay is, in my opinion, quite logical. The author does not attach judgment to it, but merely points out that this is the w ...more
Jan 25, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A somewhat controversial book when released, because of the title, subject and the perception it could damage the significant advances made by women in achieving success in the corporate world, I found this book quite useful in thinking about how BOTH men and women can use a combination of attributes, not just beauty, to advance their cause. That it has been written by a prominent sociologist at the London School of Economics with significant experience in this area enhances its credibility. It' ...more
Sep 12, 2011 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: feminism
Terrible quality of writing, presents contradictory evidence without any comment, and basically is a non-theory. Oh dear... but she's certainly achieved her aims by using her erotic capital (google image her for before and after pics) so maybe its a circular way of proving her point!
Antonia Yancheva
A must read for every feminist!
Lee Kofman
Aug 08, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Reading this book was refreshing. It's such a great antidote to much of the prudishness and wholesomeness I find in the dominant feminist strands. I wasn’t surprised to find out Honey Money was deemed ‘controversial’ by some critics. Its main controversy, in my view, is that Hakim doesn’t see the world as it should be but as it is. I love her main suggestion that women shouldn’t be ashamed using their erotic power. But I was somewhat disturbed by her tendency to generalise about levels of female ...more
Patrick Stein
Here is a blog post that I wrote while reading this book:

Lies are not statistics...
September 4th, 2014

I am reading Erotic Capital by Catherine Hakim. One of the author's contentions is that despite large amounts of propaganda to the contrary, men generally do want sex more often than women do. To this end, she cites some surveys that asked the question: Do you wish there were more sex in your current relationship? The numbers seem pretty clear after age 20 that men more often feel there should b
Mary Karpel-Jergic
Interesting. A little difficult to swallow in places but overall it's a perspective that holds a certain amount of truth. Basically, she is saying that sociologists and psychologists have omitted erotic capital from their understandings of human attributes. Firstly we have the economic capital (the amount of money we have); secondly we have human capital (our education and life experiences); thirdly we have social capital (who we know as opposed to what we know); and fourthly, Hakim suggests we ...more
Dec 30, 2011 rated it it was ok
If you want to read a book that will at some point say something that you disagree with, look no further. There is plenty to think about, too, and that makes it a book worth reading.

Hakim's theory on erotic capital hinges on two main points: That there is a sex deficit that exists because heterosexual men desire more sex (or sex with more partners) than women, and that because this deficit offers women an advantage based on supply and demand, male-dominated societies try to limit the value of se
May 19, 2012 rated it did not like it
Shelves: partially-read
The premise is interesting and contrarian enough to be worth a read, particularly if you have a foot in sex-positive third-wave feminism. However, the author is prone to ranting every few pages about how men screw up X and/or how X wouldn't be screwed up if women were in charge.

The issue isn't so much that one may find that distasteful/annoying/whatever. That's fine. The issue is that it's like having someone jab you with a sharp stick every three minutes while you're trying to, well, read. I wa
Sandra Soetanto
I personally thought that the book is interesting since it elevate a point of view which still contradictive between people: the use of so-called ‘erotic capital’ of a woman. I like the general idea the author brought, that women should try to be as beautiful and attractive as possible. She also describes some advantages and ‘side-effect’ of being beautiful, compared with those who don’t really care about appearance (which I found indeed true), such as developing social skill & enjoy more pr ...more
Arabella Flynn
Oct 31, 2016 rated it did not like it
Rubbish. Purports to be social analysis or science or something; instead is almost entirely unsupported personal complaints, and remarkably, unsettlingly sexist for something written by someone who claims to be a feminist. The book is called "Erotic Capital", but she quickly breaks down and admits that, aside from actual sexual prowess, everything she's talking about is applicable to situations that have nothing to do with sex. (The effect she describes is more accurately called "charisma", and ...more
Feb 05, 2013 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
The premise of Hakim's book - that good looking, well groomed, charming sexy people apparently do better than the ugly, untidy and uncouth - is unlikely to be denied. Her argument - that women should exploit this 'erotic capital' because men suffer from a 'sexual deficit' - is more controversial.

I think there's a germ of an idea here and I would read something that made the argument logically, backed up with relevant research and recognizing the power imbalances that exist in our society.

I really wanted to like the book more than I did. But some of the other reviews here hit it on the head: it basically comes down to the the sexual appeal of women can (and is used) to their advantage, sometimes because men often have a financial advantage for various reasons. The book talks about this in various situations, from attractive children to work to adultery. It got really repetitive after a while.

The book is likely of interest to those those who are studying sexuality, female/male dyn
Feb 15, 2014 rated it really liked it
Erotic capital can absolutely generate value and facilitate social interaction, but its rigidity is weak in terms of social exchange. It can become highly replaceable when you really put it on market.
Oct 10, 2012 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Reading this book alongside writing a paper that required me to define what female empowerment is really helped. I think I'm one of the few readers who actually agree with Hakim's thesis.
Nancy Stringer
Looks means money. Sociologist Catherine Hakim thinks that good looks are as powerful a social weapon as wealth and education. She also thinks that women should be exploiting them for their worth.
Grace J
Oct 10, 2011 rated it liked it
Skipped over, didn't read the whole book.
Sep 05, 2014 rated it really liked it
Despite several points where I felt the data was potentially misinterpreted, I really enjoyed this book.
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