Aesthetic Capital: Podcast Launch

The VU has published a post about the new Aesthetic Capital podcast which the NI is supporting, falling under the Connected World profile theme. In this podcast, Connected World senior fellow Doortje Smithuijsen discusses the impact aesthetic appearance has on real-world opportunities. Episodes will be released every two weeks on the Aesthetic Capital website, often featuring VU researchers. You can listen to the first episode now, featuring KU Leuven’s Giselinde Kuipers who has investigated “frivolous things with serious consequences” such as beauty.

Giselinde Kuipers

More about the podcast

Doortje has reported on the lives of influencers and has come to realise the importance of appearance for life opportunities. This came to a head when the Dutch Social Cultural Planbureau included aesthetic capital alongside more known forms of “capital”, to assess for social equality. Cultural capital is an older form of capital, essentially “where you fit”, what lifestyle you lead. Social capital is “who you know”, your professional and close social network for example. Both of these things affect the opportunities we have in life.

Now with the rise of social media amongst other things such as dating apps, aesthetic capital is becoming more important. The VU provides some examples: “We dress according to TikTok trends such as Old money, Barbiecore or Coastal grandma. We apply filters on social media, carefully select our dates via dating apps based on looks and take botox at a young age to avoid looking old. At the same time, on platform BeReal, we must show the “most real” version of ourselves.”

About Doortje Smithuijsen

Doortje studied philosophy and alongside her journalism on influencers notably, Doortje also wrote books including one on social media and hosts(ed) other podcasts. Read more about her here.

Doortje Smithuijsen

Listen to the first episode here, the next one will be out on Monday 18th March so keep your ears open! 

Thanks to Bregje van de Weijer for creating the VU’s post about the podcast.