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Lookism in all spheres

It seems hard to imagine a society without lookism since, if you look closely, there is hardly an interpersonal sphere that is unaffected by valuation of the outer looks. It is a crazy fact that due to repletion, the “beautiful/ugly” pattern, which causes discrimination, represents a striking part of our lives we have become oblivious to, thus leading to a lack of sensitivity towards it. Reality is: lookism affects almost every sphere in this society.

You get flooded with lookism as soon as you switch on your TV, look at advertisements or surf the net. Be it the actors/actresses, newsreaders or music groups that have been chosen for their looks, or ads with their repetitive composition; in all these spheres the trait of „being beautiful“ is used to boost the sales value of a product. By doing this most people are singled out by their outer appearance (this criteria may be considered variably but is always playing a decisive role) in order to satisfy the apparently big requirement for „beauty“. Model casting shows declare bodies „beautiful“ or „ugly“ via scales and tape-measures and are accordingly successful even without attempting to give the logic of lookism a human coating and instead resign to obscure it.

Similarly obvious, appears the increased appraisal of athletes that associates very little with their actual achievements in sport, and more so with their current hairstyle or magazine cover, such as Beckham or Kournikova.

op´sIn the field of medical science lookism leads to sometimes serious approaches, for example the booming field of cosmetic surgery – even children undergoing operations to have so called jug ears „corrected“.

Also, in closer spheres of our everyday lives the discrimination according to outer appearance is deeply rooted. „Good looking” people have a better chance in the employment market than people with the same qualifications but who are considered „less attractive“ (1). So in this non-private or job-related sphere of life, a „handsome appearance“ is favoured – for example job interviews, presentations, business lunches or the very presence at work.
Moreover, in private life adequate looks play a role that one should not underestimate concerning the formation and preservation of social relationships.

It also seems that, in increasingly bigger formations of people, even the ones that would consider themselves emancipated, discrimination due to outer appearance is a stable component. For example, at nearly every party, you can observe how people orientate around looks and therefore people who are considered „ugly“ are less likely to attract interest. In lonely heart ads you can see how disclusions are made by outer appearance (i. e. women without „ideal“measurements are segregated from the very start in a lot of lonely hearts ads).

op´sThe reason for all this seems to be that judging by outer appearance and classifying individuals with the famous „first view“ is something we are used to. Forming an opinion by the acquired beauty patterns (too fat, too thin, too tall, too small, face structure,...)is routine . We believe this is one of the reasons lookism has become “normality” .These thought processes which affects our behaviour leads to a judgement over other individuals due to their “face value”. This judgement leads inevitably to a discrimination of others as „beauty“ can only maintain its superior value by the existence of its reverse, so called „ugliness“. Therefore another kind of competition develops seamlessly fitting within a capitalist structure of values.



1 In an American study from 1993, „beautiful“ people earn usually 5-10% more than persons with the same qualifications that are considered „less beautiful“(American Economic Review, vol 84, Dec 1994, pp 11741194).†