Friday, July 23, 2010

Appearance Discrimination

If you thought liberals whine too much about racism and sexism and think concepts such as ableism, ageism, and sizeism are ludicrous, take a look at what is soon to be the new liberal -ism: lookism.

This article, written by career feminist Lindsay Beyerstein, is over a month old and was written shortly after the Deborahlee Lorenzana story came to light, but it is nonetheless an important look into the worldview of liberal women.
In her provocative new book,The Beauty Bias: The Injustice of Appearance in Law and Life, Stanford law professor Deborah Rhode argues that workers deserve legal protection against appearance-based discrimination unless their looks are directly relevant to their job performance. [...]
Considering that leftists rant about racism, sexism, heteronormativity, cisgendierism, ableism, classism, ageism, and sizism I am not surprised that some feminist law professor wants to ban "lookism."  In case anyone's curious, this is what the anti-lookist professor looks like.
It should go without saying that discrimination on the basis of appearance is unjust, especially when it comes to features individuals have little or no control over.
Actually, it should not go without saying. Only a liberal woman could write such an ignorant statement. Does she realize that, barring an odd fetish, even the most feminized, beta, herb liberal mangina still would have a much more positive reaction to a 9 model than he would an obese 2?  If discriminating on the basis of appearance is unjust, then as physical appearances tend to be very important to men when selecting a mate, most men are unjust.

She is incorrect when she claims that people have little or no control over their appearances. They can become fat if they are sedentary and eat too much. They can stay fit if they exercise and eat right. They can become muscular if they lift weights (among other things).


Aside from exercising, there are plenty of ways to change your appearance. Buying new clothing can enhance your appearance. Hair dye gives you a new hair color.  Make-up improves womens' faces (and mens' in some cultures). Fair women can tan. Dark women can use skin lightener.

Prior to feminism's triumph, women did a lot of things to improve their appearances. They took care of themselves; they wore make-up when going out; they wore skirts, dresses, and jackets; they wore feminine hats; they wore stockings; etc. It's only up until recently in Western history that women have taken to not caring about their appearances.

Also, it doesn't take that much work to avoid becoming obese. I'm a computer nerd, a member of a group not known for physical prowess, yet I exercise daily. It really is not very hard.
Rhode does a good job of spelling out why such bias is offensive to human dignity and equal opportunity. [...]
Equal opportunity sounds nice on paper, but in reality it doesn't work. Everyone is not equal. Some people are stronger, smarter, faster, smaller, larger, more dominant, or more attractive than others. No amount of liberal social engineering and legislation can change this.
The increasing prevalence of obesity in America has done nothing to curb virulent prejudice against fat people. Ironically, immobilizing obesity is protected as a disability, but discrimination based purely on cosmetic aversion to fat is totally legal.
It is perfectly legal because most people, even liberal manginas, think women who look like they could wrestle a bear and win are disgusting.
In one study, 43 percent of overweight women reported feeling stigmatized by their employers.
As they should be. If the remaining stigmas against fat were destroyed, most women in America would probably become lard buckets.  Most men would too, for that matter.
Obese women earn 12 percent less than their thinner counterparts with comparable qualifications. Obese women are more likely to live in poverty, even after controlling for other factors.
So, why shouldn't women who take care of themselves be rewarded? Obesity is largely a result of lack of self control and absence of willpower. People with no self-control are more likely to waste their money, so it is obvious that they will be more likely to end up in poverty.

Her most egregious assault on reality comes with this statement:
Rhode notes that beauty bias also exacerbates and perpetuates other kinds of discrimination. Female workers are held to more elaborate grooming standards than their male counterparts. [...]
What universe is she living in? At every level, men are held to higher grooming standards than women. Many lower-class retail/service jobs prohibit men from having long hair, whereas I've never heard of any employer prohibiting short, dykish haircuts on women.

Workplace appearance standards in general are stricter regarding men than women. Ties are often required in service industry jobs, yet they are not for women (this is not considered discrimination by the government, although it's a guarantee that the reverse would be).  Many workplaces specify attire for men, but allow women to basically wear anything except jeans.  In workplaces requring professional dress, the men will be covered from the neck down with jackets, ties, slacks, button-down shirts, close-toed shoes, and socks, while women can get away with wearing sleeveless shirts, garments that are essentially T-shirts, no jackets, skirts with bare legs, and sandals.
There's a lot of overlap between appearance discrimination and racism. Some have speculated that coworkers perceived Lorenzana in a more sexualized way because she's Latina. Stereotypically Anglo-European features like smooth hair, slim hips, and pert noses loom large in our prevailing beauty ideals.
Is there anything liberals dislike that is not racist?  And what is "Anglo-European"? I've never heard that word before. Is that a term referring to English people residing on the Continent?
There's a class component in beauty bias, too. A gleaming smile engineered by an orthodontist is a badge of membership in the middle class. As we all know, poverty increases the risk of obesity.
So not only is appearance discrimination racist, but it's classist, too!  It's like a discrimination doubleheader.

Also, poverty doesn't increase the risk of obesity.  Ultimately, low IQ causes both since people with low IQs are likely to have low time preferences and poor decision-making skills.  Not that I'd expect a liberal feminist to acknowledge that.
Rhode acknowledges that the law can only do so much to mitigate the effects of such deep-seated prejudices, but she argues that the enormity of the problem is no excuse for inaction. Sexism, racism and homophobia are certainly ingrained, but that doesn't mean that the law is powerless against them. As segregationists said in the era of Brown, you can't legally force people not to be bigots. On the other hand, when you discourage people from acting like bigots, tolerance can become a habit.
So because the War Against Racism has gone very well, we should extend it to battling the evils of appearance discrimination.  Fifty years ago, blacks and whites went to separate schools, lived in separate neighborhoods, and worshiped at separate churches.  Today, it's the same, if not worse since in the 1950s most blacks weren't born to single women.  A War Against Appearance Discrimination would be even more ineffective, since it would be difficult to prevent someone from having a visceral reaction upon seeing a bloated, obsese colossus or a woman who got smacked with an ugly stick.


Most people with racist views like myself are not biologically hardwired to view blacks as prone to crime or to view Asians as excelling in school (remember, even positive stereotypes are bad!).  These views come from statistical evidence and personal experience.  However, as Beyerstein notes in her article, even infants have a more positive reaction to people with attractive faces.  Appearance discrimination is part of our biology.

Even after a couple decades of brainwashing schoolchildren with "body acceptance" propaganda, it still exists.  Feminists will be unable to eradicate it from our society, no matter how much they try.  All they will do is attack another aspect of freedom of association and thrust upon us another destructive bureaucracy.


In modern America, it is unacceptable to hold women to any form of standards related to sexuality, including appearance.  Combined with the elite's veneration of equality no matter how absurd and laws against appearance discrimination are the natural consequence.

However, I think there's a more personal motive in Beyerstein's article on appearance discrimination.  She's the blond in the picture below.

20 comments:

  1. Holy synchronicity. My most recent post touches obliquely on this, though it was partly inspired by your post on music (and similar ones by Steve Sailer and Tribe of Ice). It's interesting - your take is that feminism encourages women to complain about and politicize their looks - to conceive of them as social rather than personal problems. My take is that the death of social dance and its replacement by deafening thumps has brought body types, especially women's, into excessively sharp focus.

    So leftism gives us "shake your money maker". The feminists are right to feel that that is shallow and disrespectful to women, and utterly wrong about who is to blame and what to do about it.

    I read you loud and clear about "working on your appearance". Way too many modern women spend time and effort trying to look available, and very little trying to look pretty. Tattoos, tans, piercings, uncomfortable looking underwear, etc. ... this is the stuff they want to catch a "good man" with? Why not lose a few pounds, take care of your skin, and quit smoking? Not that they would listen to me.

    (I listened to all the songs you linked on the music post, BTW.)

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  2. Great analysis again. The liberal stance always takes the side of subsidizing what nobody wants, and leads to producing less of what everybody wants. Where is a group who helps beautiful, intelligent people have more offspring?

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  3. And people like her are paid to write such nonsense?

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  4. Yes I've come across this as well, but it doesn't seem as rampant as grousing about racism, sexism, etc.

    Take The Young Turks, a popular Youtube politic commentary show that's pretty damn liberal. They actually seem to disagree with lookism here:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cHyNYScU1hk&feature=popular

    (I was going to post on this, but I never got aorund to it.)

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  5. "Equal opportunity sounds nice on paper, but in reality it doesn't work. Everyone is not equal."

    Equal opportunity does not mean everyone is equal or that all outcomes will be equal. It only means equality of opportunity. And the law recognizes that this applies to reality, not some perfect scheme on paper. If someone brings suit alleging discrimination, they have the burden of proof to show they did not have an "equal" opportunity. "Equal" being defined by statute, precedent, judge and jury in a courtroom. It would be nice if you your comments had an acquaintance with reality. For instance:

    "Some people are stronger, smarter, faster, smaller, larger, more dominant, or more attractive than others. No amount of liberal social engineering and legislation can change this."

    I know of no legislation that changes these biological characteristics. In fact, I don't know of any attempts legislative attempts to address any of the characteristics you listed. Can you give any examples?

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  6. "Also, poverty doesn't increase the risk of obesity. Ultimately, low IQ causes both since people with low IQs are likely to have low time preferences and poor decision-making skills." Have any evidence of this? Surely Steve Sailer would know of it if there was.

    "Appearance discrimination is part of our biology." You are using discrimination in only the personal opinion meaning, but denouncing discrimination in the legal sense. It is not, and never will be, illegal to be a bigot, racist or lookist. But it can be illegal to adversely sanction a person solely on the basis of certain biological or cultural characteristics. Calling somebody ugly will always be legal. It is possible to make it illegal to fire someone because they are ugly. And remember, if such a law passed, it would need to be proved in a court. Is that so hard to understand?

    BTW, I'd tap that spinner any day.

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  7. >>take a look at what is soon to be the new liberal -ism: lookism.

    Lookism is over 15 years old. It was on the scene in the early '90s, when I had the misfortune of working for the Modern Language Association, or as I called it, the Marxist-Leninist Association.

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  8. It is not, and never will be, illegal to be a bigot, racist or lookist.... Calling somebody ugly will always be legal.

    I don't really believe this is necessarily true. The Canadian Human Rights Commission does punish people on the basis of hurt feelings.

    If someone brings suit alleging discrimination, they have the burden of proof to show they did not have an "equal" opportunity.

    I don't believe this is true. In the US, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission had Sears in court for years based not on any evidence of discrimination, but on the fact that blacks were underrepresented (disparate impact!) in a certain job category.

    I think Flyover is just worried that these principles will move beyond race and gender and to looks. I certainly am. It will be crippling to the economy to have the EEOC suing companies with ugly people underrepresented on their sales staffs or their wait staffs, etc.

    The problem with the doctrine of "disparate impact" is that the reality of it is so twisted that most leftists and centrists can believe it's not as weird as it is. A practice, fair or not, which results in blacks being underrepresented, is wrong per se. Equal opportunity was thrown out by disparate impact doctrine.

    Proving your hiring practices are color blind is no defense in America, under the EEOC.

    Proving your statement is true is no defense in Canada, under the HRC.

    Leftists are not "liberal" as they claim.

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  9. Tommy Shanks,

    Don't forget NAAFA, that fat-advocate organization that is imposing their view upon the rest of us people.

    Miss Rayna

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  10. Flyover (and any other blogger platforms), Firefox's recent upgrade disabled the comment box in embedded comment. I had to use Safari to post this. You can get around it for now by selecting the open a comment window option.

    B Lode,

    "had Sears in court for years based not on any evidence of discrimination, but on the fact that blacks were underrepresented (disparate impact!) in a certain job category." I know nothing about the particulars, but just by this statement I see some problems. First, Sears was in court - not guilty of violating discrimination law. (I know just this fact, especially "for years', drives libertarians crazy, but a tort is a tort. That's the free market, btw.) Second, disparate impact is evidence of discrimination. If two pools of employees - one black, one not - are matched in every way possible, so that the only explanation of different outcomes can be race, that is evidence of discrimination. Understand, you are not going to find a memo stating don't promote blacks in 99% of these cases. There has to be recourse to things such as disparate impact.

    "It will be crippling to the economy to have the EEOC suing companies with ugly people underrepresented on their sales staffs or their wait staffs, etc" I don't take the fear of crippling the economy seriously, if a few dozen government employees could cripple our economy, that'd be one weak economy. Anyway, lookism would be impossible to enforce. Note the difference in claimant categories: black people and ugly people. One is objective the other subjective.

    "Proving your hiring practices are color blind is no defense in America, under the EEOC." Just how do you prove your hiring practices are color blind other than show minorities have been hired at the same rate as others on the basis of their other qualifications?

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  11. Actually, I bet she'd clean up pretty good. Decent haircut, makeup, contacts, and a pretty dress, she would be hot. I think that is her whole point, though. She doesn't want to have to try to look good. Better to just have a big scary gov't agency to enforce her right to unpunished slothful appearance.

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  12. FYI, comment boxes are working now for latest Firefox.

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  13. First, Sears was in court - not guilty of violating discrimination law.

    In court, paying lawyer fees, not getting the summary judgement they would have gotten had the legal standard been old-meaning discrimination rather than disparate impact. They deserved summary judgement because the Civil Rights Act does not require equal results, but the EEOC dogged them strictly on the basis of results.

    Second, disparate impact is evidence of discrimination. If two pools of employees - one black, one not - are matched in every way possible, so that the only explanation of different outcomes can be race, that is evidence of discrimination.

    That IF is too big to be applicable. Two reasonably large pools of applicants, one black, one white, are not likely to be matched in terms of IQ. Why should they be matched on anything else?

    Understand, you are not going to find a memo stating don't promote blacks in 99% of these cases. There has to be recourse to things such as disparate impact.

    Has to be, as long as you want to create de facto quotas without admitting that that's what you're doing. If you were hiring people to repair street lamps, instituting height a requirement would have a different impact on Tutsis than it would on Khoisan. Under U.S. law (I am only talking about U.S. law) that would allow the Khoisan to sue for discrimination. They would not have to prove that the ruler is biased against them.

    "Discrimination" started out meaning "unfair, biased discrimination" and morphed into its current meaning over time. People who oppose discrimination don't typically know what they're against.

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  14. I don't take the fear of crippling the economy seriously, if a few dozen government employees could cripple our economy, that'd be one weak economy.

    We certainly do have a weak economy, if that's what you're asking. But court orders are enforced by a whole lot more than a few bureaucrats. If you keep your business open after the government orders it closed, the people who come by will be armed.

    Anyway, lookism would be impossible to enforce. Note the difference in claimant categories: black people and ugly people. One is objective the other subjective.

    Okay, so you accept that race is objective, i.e., more than skin deep ... but the US left considers it a social construct.

    Just how do you prove your hiring practices are color blind other than show minorities have been hired at the same rate as others on the basis of their other qualifications?

    Qualifications are subjective.

    The ideal way to show your hiring practices are color-blind is to skip the interview. Hire on the basis of (lack of) criminal record, standardized test scores, drug tests, and resumes. No interview, no photograph, no discrimination. Seems okay to me, but businesses, or rather their HR wings, like interviews.

    If you were to use the method I've outlined above, you'd be violating the doctrine the court created in Griggs v. Duke Power, because black score lower on IQ tests and any standardized test that correlates with them. The fairer the test, the worse blacks do, the harsher will be the disparateness of the impact. Again, this falls afoul not of the word or intent of the civil rights statute, but of the court's decisions.

    In other words, the only hiring method which allows you to prove you've been acting fairly violates the court decision. Interviews allow you to discover people's race, and thus hire more blacks than you otherwise would. You also cannot you use de jure quotas, per other cases.

    You have to use quotas, and you cannot admit that you do.

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  15. Just how do you prove your hiring practices are color blind other than show minorities have been hired at the same rate as others on the basis of their other qualifications?

    Doesn't work that way. Look at the recent Ricci case in CT. Blacks could not pass the test at the rate as Whites, so this became evidence of "discrimination." The fact that the black applicants did not study as hard, or had lower IQs, or maybe the qualified ones were applying for better things, went by the boards. City policy was to discriminate against the Whites who studied and got the high scores. Yeah, the firefighters got vindicated in the end, but only after years of fighting this thing to the top courts. And plenty of other cities do discriminate along these lines these days, anyway.

    Anyway, lookism would be impossible to enforce. Note the difference in claimant categories: black people and ugly people. One is objective the other subjective.

    Consider how the standard for "sexual harassment" is how a "reasonable woman" feels. It would not take very long for the courts to start making similar rulings for "lookism."

    In any event companies, especially small companies, would likely cave on in the face of such lawsuits simply because they do not have the resources to fight them, nor do they want the bad PR which the media and activists would heap upon them.

    "Lookism" is one more racket by the gang of criminals over on the multicult end of the spectrum. Of course, the government will jump in on it as another way to expand its power.

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  16. Ha! Are you trying to suggest that the feminist author is somehow ugly? Despite her dykish haircut, she has tight body. I'd smash it without hesitation.

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  17. Wow. My eyes are opened. You have demonstrated that it is possible to be a libertarian and yet still be a retarded asshole. Thank you very much for teaching me this lesson that I badly needed to learn.

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  18. "Retarded asshole" seems to be a liberal term meaning "a person whose arguments I am too stupid to refute."

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