Have you heard of "Lookism" - you might since we tend to follow American trends. | AccountingWEB

Have you heard of "Lookism" - you might since we tend to follow American trends.

According to experts being good looking is a definite advantage in getting a job or promotion, and ugly people are discriminated against.

"Lookism", it is claimed, is the new racism, and should be banished from civilised societies. It is currently the subject of several court actions in America, and some experts say similar cases should be considered here too.

Economist Daniel Hamermesh argues that ugliness is no different from race or a disability, and suggests unattractive people deserve legal protection saying, "My research shows being good-looking helps you earn more money, find a higher-earning spouse and even get better deals on mortgages".

Do you, do we all, subconciously discriminate on the basis of looks?

If you were interviewing for a new member of staff and had two candidates identical in every other way would you employ the one with film start looks rather than the overweight one with a face that could stop a clock ?



ShirleyM's picture


ShirleyM | | Permalink

Nobody is perfect, and I choose staff mostly on attitude, and partly on skills.

There will always be jobs where looks, and body size are important, eg. normal models will need to be thin, but there are 'large size' models too, where being thin would be a definite handicap, and a 20 stone jockey wouldn't be very successful either.

I would not employ men, or women, who think good looks, charm or flirtation are a replacement for hard work, but as said earlier, they would fail the 'attitude' test, exactly the same as an ignorant anti-social person would fail.

I remember a TV program a while ago where they tested out attitudes of employers, and the general public. The employers shied away from the potential employees that had facial disfigurements, but the general public actually bought more from them than they did from the attractive competition, and were quite happy to be served by the ones with a facial disfigurement.

Good looks can count against you

Flash Gordon | | Permalink

I might not hire someone if I thought their assets (to use an accounting term!) would distract me constantly!

But seriously it's all about attitude and ability (in that order) as Shirley says. Plus what counts as attractive to one person can be the opposite to another. I've never understood the so-called appeal of Brad Pitt or Angelina Jolie, to me they're the wrong side of average.

Of course if there were 2 identical other than appearance people applying for a job with me I'd turn them both down - they'd have to be mutants because every human I know is different in personality :-)

Owain_Glyndwr's picture


Owain_Glyndwr | | Permalink

Flash Gordon - "Good looks can count against you"

Yes I know, I've often had that problem :)  



Actually this is something that we might all have to face at some point. According to Dr Taylor, a psychologist at Bath University, juries are heavily influenced by  a defendant's physical appearance. Ugly suspects, her findings suggest, are almost 50 per cent more likely to be found guilty than those thought to be attractive. (So when your lawyer tells you to look smart and well groomed he's giving you good advice).

Acting on expert advice David Cameron changed his parting from right to left  - apparently because he had been told that left-hand side partings suggest a sensitive nature, more attractive to women voters. 

Polls show that most people assume that overweight people are idle, and therefore not such good employees.

Other studies suggest that tall men (but not thin & tall) are promoted more quickly and get higher up the corporate ladder.

We have all seen cases of unsuccessful job candidates alleging racism, sexism, or ageism when turned down, and many industrial tribunal cases involve such allegations.

Lookism is now excercising the courts in America, and it's only a matter of time before we have to be as careful about it here as we already have to be about other "isms".



The following is a study into what looks like being the next "ism".





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