Duke University executed just that study. People were asked to rate the faces of CEOs by competence and likability. They found that the higher ratings of competence were related to the presence of "craggy, rugged, and mature" facial features. This aura of competence (real or assumed) shows in the paychecks of these individuals. Generally, people with a more competent look about them make more money and hold higher position than those who do not possess these features. And who are the people who have these features in most cases? Men, of course! How interesting that the subconscious cues to a competent human being are etched in the faces of men.
It should also be noted that most of the faces this study used were white. When the same style experiment was conducted featuring photographs of African-American CEOs, the results were astoundingly different.
People viewing photographs of African-American CEOs had the tendency to rate individuals with rounder, softer "baby" faces as more successful. And get this-they were right! Baby-faced black leaders earn more money and hold higher positions than African-American leaders with strong facial features.
This type of racism is woven so deeply in our minds that you could wonder how we could ever have the hope of reversing it. The answer, I believe is to view everything and everyone with a critical eye and to make real interpretations of an individual's character by getting to know them. If we can teach future generations to approach people in this way, there is hope of alleviating judgment and consequently, racism.