- Discrimination and Physical Appearance
- We all know our culture puts a premium on good looks – does that mean that the ugly are oppressed?
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- Blinded by Beauty: Attractiveness Bias and Accurate Perceptions of Academic Performance
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Discrimination and Physical Appearance
Edited by Ross Andersen. The faces and forms of oppression are many, but nearly all of them flow from injustice, the treatment of people otherwise than they deserve. The colour of your skin is not up to you, for example, so treating you badly on its basis is oppressive. Sexuality and race are fairly obvious fault lines for oppression, as are class and gender.
We all know our culture puts a premium on good looks – does that mean that the ugly are oppressed?
The ugly get screwed. The ancient Greeks had no problem with this. The Greeks venerated the beautiful explicitly, memorialising good-looking athletes in statue form as quasi-deities, making celebrities out of adolescent pretty boys, and even going so far as to occasionally spare the lives of opposing soldiers on account of their beauty. But a culture where beauty is worshipped is also a culture where the ugly are oppressed. Our own culture appears to be no less afraid of ugliness than Greek culture, even if surgical rather than divine intervention is now the order of the day.
Parents still want their children to avoid ugliness, and many are willing to lend a helping hand: rare is the gift of rhinoplasty, implants or liposuction, but an investment in some form of cosmetic dentistry, such as braces, is now routine. Wonky teeth mean an ugly smile, and an ugly smile is going to cost you on the many marketplaces of life. Think of it like this: the first point leads to the second. We all want our kids to grow up happy.
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Which circumstances and qualities would be most choiceworthy for them, supposing you could pick on their behalf? Would you rather they were beautiful or ugly, for instance? Beautiful, obviously.
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Obviously, excessive weight is bad for the health and therefore for the public purse, and this is the reason that tends to get passed around. When you run into people of that type, you feel, I think — or I feel, I think — a kind of horror and even a kind of anger at them.
It just seems wrong to be like that. Is that taking it a bit far? Does such a nightmare really play no part in the politics of obesity? For one thing, it seems a little proto-Nazi. To judge a book by its cover is to reveal ourselves as superficial. And to be superficial is to be ugly in some inner way.
They generally receive more attention from the opposite sex, even they are imbeciles. The slightly more attractive child receives extra affection and attention from the mother and other relatives. Attractive people are likely to receive more leniency in court, and are very likely to receive more votes as well. Consider this classic study from the s:. Four hundred and forty-two males and female white adult callers in public phone booths in a large metropolitan airport found a completed graduate school application form, a photograph of the applicant, and an addressed, stamped envelope.
The picture was used to convey information as to the physical attractiveness attractive vs. As predicted, delivery of the application was facilitated more for attractive than unattractive persons. Benson et al, Pretty pleases: The effects of physical attractiveness, race, and sex on receiving help. Even in professional life, attractive people have the upper hand.
Attractive people are also more likely to be paid more for a job, are more likely to be promoted, and less likely to be fired. Appearance matters in everyday life as well. For example, attractive people are more likely to be befriended on social networking sites, and are also far more likely to be asked out on dates. There is even some evidence that attractive individuals are perceived to be more intelligent and mentally adjusted than less attractive individuals. It is a function of both biological and sociological factors.
Biologically speaking, you are attractive when you exude health and fertility. Humans have inherited this trait from our ancestors. These biological factors of attraction are innate and true across cultures. In studies presenting images of attractive and unattractive people to toddlers, they looked longer at the attractive people regardless of their gender, age, or race.
However maintaining good physique and hygiene definitely helps you improve your odds by some extent.
Sociologically speaking, men are attracted to women when they exaggerate socially acknowledged features of sexuality e. In studies presenting images of attractive and unattractive people to men and women, along with descriptions of their occupations and statuses, women preferred less attractive men with high social stature or high-paying occupations equally to attractive men with medium-paying occupations and medium social stature.
Similarly, men preferred less attractive women with good financial and social status more or less equally to attractive women with not so good financial and social status. Also, in the above experiments the men and women involved just looked at pictures and heard narrations about the subjects social and financial status. Things are very different during in-person interactions. Accept it. But you can build your physique, wealth and social status to stand a fighting chance in getting preferential treatment.
Advertisements usually exploit your attractiveness bias. When the presentation of attractive women is a key element of the story of an ad, usage of renderings or images of women with waist-to-hip ratios of approximately 0. Usually complimented by skimpy clothing as seen above. When the presentation of attractive men is a key element of a design, images of men with waist-to-hip ratios of approximately 0.
Blinded by Beauty: Attractiveness Bias and Accurate Perceptions of Academic Performance
This explains why male and female candidates receive lower ratings when being considered for an opposite-sex position. Gender bias is a subset of attractiveness bias. This bias however works against you sometimes, especially if you are attractive.
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Sign in. Get started. Behavioural Economics. Attractiveness Bias: Why attractive people often get preferential treatment.