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The PJ Tatler

by
Helen Smith

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August 29, 2011 - 9:10 am

“Hell, no!” I thought, as I read a post on this topic at Amy Alkon’s blog but unfortunately, economist Daniel Hamermesh, author of a new book, Beauty Pays: Why Attractive People Are More Successful thinks otherwise. In an article in the New York Times, he states:

Beauty is as much an issue for men as for women. While extensive research shows that women’s looks have bigger impacts in the market for mates, another large group of studies demonstrates that men’s looks have bigger impacts on the job.

Why this disparate treatment of looks in so many areas of life? It’s a matter of simple prejudice….

A more radical solution may be needed: why not offer legal protections to the ugly, as we do with racial, ethnic and religious minorities, women and handicapped individuals?

We actually already do offer such protections in a few places, including in some jurisdictions in California, and in the District of Columbia, where discriminatory treatment based on looks in hiring, promotions, housing and other areas is prohibited. Ugliness could be protected generally in the United States by small extensions of the Americans With Disabilities Act. Ugly people could be allowed to seek help from the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and other agencies in overcoming the effects of discrimination. We could even have affirmative-action programs for the ugly.

I noticed that some bloggers were arguing about whether or not ugly people have it so bad, but that’s not really the point. The more important point here is that every time some overly-dramatic academic comes up with a “theory,” they run to get the government involved as a “solution” –almost always making the problem worse. It’s no wonder we are in such financial and moral trouble these days.

Helen Smith is a psychologist specializing in forensic issues in Knoxville, Tennessee, and blogs at Dr. Helen.
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