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October 11, 2013



There's a blurred line between discrimination against women and discrimination against ugly women. It's clearly much, much harder for an ugly woman to be a successful popstar/TV presenter/politician, for example, than it is for an ugly man - but is that sexism or uglyism? I'm happy to join you on some pro ugly marches though, if you fancy it?


Well, they would have to self-identify then be able to group as a class, and get the consequent legal protection in order to do all that fighting. "Ugly" people (whatever the definition of that is) don't get confined into ghettos, or one part of town. It is unlikely that the organisation of groups required to fight it could be gathered together. As to the statistics on their apparent lack of success, there are plenty of people not high on the pretty scale who find a way to be successful in ways that don't require the conditions of an employer or the sort of job where it would matter.

Ralph Musgrave

The wage gap (about 10%) between uglies and lookers cited by Chris in his first paragraph possibly doesn’t scratch the surface of the inequality. Consider this…

Which would you prefer: 1, being born on a council estate with good looks and able to have a relationship with whichever member of the opposite sex you want, or 2, being born in Buckingham Palace on fifty times the income, but with an ugly face and never getting a look in with the opposite sex?

I.e. if the inequality of the non-wage benefits of beauty are translated into income, then the inequality is not around 10% of your wage: it could be several hundred percent.

Steven Clarke

Would ugly people want to publicly identify themselves as ugly in order to organise?


I can just picture the scene - a crowd of protesters outside a beauty parlour waving banners, woman walks up:

'What are you protesting about then?'

'Beauty equality - ending discrimination against the ugly. Fancy joining us? Owwww! What did you do that for?!! I'm trying to help you!'

And any way the definition of 'ugly' contains many things that are not the vagaries of nature - weight and physical fitness contribute hugely (arf arf) to whether someone is considered beautiful or not. A slim well toned woman could have an ugly face, but will be considered better looking than a fat one who might be quite a looker if she was slimmer. Consider the case of Alison Moyet, who was always suffering the slings and arrows in her youth about her weight, now she's lost it all she's considered quite the beauty, which she always was if you look at the bone structure, it was just hidden by her excess pounds. Ergo people have a much greater control over whether they are considered beautiful than whether they are black, or a woman, so there's never going to be much of an outcry about discrimination on grounds of looks.


Why assume that hotties are paid better than notties only because of discrimination?

Maybe other causes operate.

Perhaps income-depressants like poor health or low cognitive ability are the causes of both the bad looks and the lower pay.


@ Bohemiangirl, You say ""ugly" people don't get confined into ghettos. " Do they not? Their lower income confines them to poorer areas. Compare poor council estates to wealthier parts of town. Of course, some ugly people are successful - correlations are less than unity - but the same is true for women, blacks and working class people, a fact which doesn't alter the fact that they suffer injustice on average.
@ Jim - the studies I cite look mostly only at facial appearance (eg by using photos). The effect of lardiness on incomes is another matter.
@ breviosity - I'm not assuming the sole cause is discrimination. Some of the difference also reflects lower human capital (though this in turn might be due to teachers' discrimination).


Anecdata alert. Ugly (or less good looking) are in ghettos. Years ago I had a temp job moving furniture at Arthur Anderson. The consultancy section were all Greek gods, the accountancy section geek gods.

And it has often troubled me that the follicly challenged among us have not united to demand discounted hair cuts, let alone the right to become prime minister. Why do long haired students get discounts, but not bald blokes?


Black people normally know they're black, but ugly people might well think they're stunning!


"It's clearly much, much harder for an ugly woman to be a successful popstar"

Don't agree. Can't think of a single ugly male pop star.


a) who's saying discrimination against the ugly is o.k.?

b) isn't "lack of organisation" essentially what the "No one wants to join the ugly club" folks are saying?


is their any research on the premium for "looks" in general elections?


@ Rosa19 - yes:


I'd consider defending "Discrimination against uglies might be efficient, as ugly people tend to be less productive". This point is different when raised against ugly people than in case of ethnicities and genders. It seems that gender and ethnicity-based discrimination is a mere cultural habit which can be eventually eradicated and a new normal (new equilibrium) reached in which they won't be less productive at all. The same doesn't seem plausible with ugly people just as it is not plausible with less intelligent or disabled people.

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