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Why Is Being Mean to the Ugly Acceptable?



A manager decides to fire a woman for her skin color. He can fire her because she is brown-skinned. There is legal recourse.ugly people may fire her because she is white and her skin is brown. We call this sexism. If he fires her for her skin being pockmarked or because she is unattrugly peopleactive, that’s fine. In most cases in America, there’s no legal recourse.

This is rather puzzling. This is a shocking fact in our society, which hates discrimination based on many characteristics. Yet, lookism is a major form of discrimination. It is prejudice against the unattractive. This gets very little attention and causes very little outrage. Why?

Like all forms of bigotry and lookism, it begins with prejudices and stereotypes.

According to studies, most people think a “attractive” facial features should be symmetrical and clean. These prototypical faces are easier to identify and classify than irregular or “unattractive”. We find it easier to see attractive people from a brain processing perspective.


Attractive people start with a slight physical advantage. People project many widely different stereotypes onto attractive people. Survey after survey shows that beautiful people are trustworthy, capable, friendly, intelligent, and likable. However, ugly people are often given the opposite labels. This is an example of the halo effect.

Although not always, attractive people often get first-class treatment. They are more likely than others to be invited to interview for jobs, to be hired at interviews and to be promoted. They are more likely than others to be approved for loans, and to have lower interest rates.

Lookism has a pervasive discriminatory effect. Attractive economists tend to be more inclined to study in top-ranked graduate programs, and their papers are cited less often than those of their less attractive peers.ugly people Unattractive criminals who committed moderate misdemeanors received four times the fines as attractive criminals.

Daniel Hamermesh is a prominent scholar in this area. He observed that a worker in America who ranks among the bottom one-seventh for looks makes about 10 to 15% less per year than one who ranks in the top three. A person who isn’t attractive misses nearly a quarter of a million dollars in lifetime earnings.


These biases have a huge impact on society. A 2004 study showed that people are more likely to be discriminated against based on their appearance than their ethnicity.

Ellis P. Monk Jr. and Michael H. Esposito, who published their findings in the American Journal of Sociology’s current issue, found that earnings gaps between people perceived as attractive or unattractive competitors exceeds those between white and black adults. The attractiveness curve is particularly punishing for Black women. The socially dominant criteria for beauty are rewarded with an increase in earnings. Those who do not meet these criteria earn on average 63 cents per dollar.

We are so intolerant of this type of discrimination. People may believe that lookism is part of human nature and they have no control over it. Perhaps it’s because there isn’t a National Association of Ugly People advocating for change. Tyler Cowen, an economist, noticed that the educated coastal classes are often those who most closely enforce norms regarding thinness and dress. Perhaps we don’t enjoy policing the biggest forms of bigotry that we are most guilty.

I believe it is very difficult to change the core values of your culture. Even if you are certain it is the right thing.


In the last few decades, social media and the meritocracy have combined to create a culture almost pagan in terms of its values. It places a great deal of emphasis on competition, personal achievement, and the idea that physical beauty can be an external sign moral beauty and overall worth.

Pagan culture has a particular ideal hero: those with a genetic gift in intelligence, athleticism and beauty. This culture sees obesity as a sign of social weakness and moral weakness.

Pagan culture places a lot of emphasis on the university, sports, and social media screens. These are the areas where beauty, strength, and I.Q. are displayed. Most impressively displayed.

This is the ethos behind many gym and athletic shoe ads.ugly people celebrate heroes whose moral goodness and physical gifts are equal. It’s the C.E.O.’s paganism. Who likes to be surrounded by hot staffers. “I must be a winner because my life is filled with the beautiful.” It’s a fashion magazine that features articles on social justice and photo spreads featuring the most beautiful. TikTok’s lookist one-upmanship is “We believe in social equality as long as your beautiful.”


If beauty is celebrated so obsessively, it will create a social environment in which the less beautiful are overlooked. Change the norms and practices is the only way to solve this problem. Victoria’s Secret is an exception. It replaced its “Angels”, with seven women with more diverse bodies. Victoria’s Secret is a leader in the fight against lookism. The rest of us need to catch up.

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