Do The Ugly Face Unfair Discrimination?

Woman with magnifying glass

I read this blog about a recent movement to stop “discrimination against the ugly” and found it fascinating.

It makes a reasonable point. There are protections for discrimination against gays, blacks, and women, so why should we still be allowed to exercise bias against the unfortunately asymmetrical people out there?

Your gut may say that women are judged unfairly for their looks, but that wouldn’t be the entire story. Says a related New York Post article: “Men, in fact, suffer the greater repulsiveness penalty in general: Unattractive women earn 3 percent less than average-looking women, while unattractive men’s take-home is reduced a whopping 22 percent.”

The question I have for you is whether you feel that you’re judgmental of others based on looks, age, height, weight, education, or income… and, just as importantly…have you been judged negatively for one of those other characteristics?

Your comments, as always, are appreciated.

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Comments:

  1. 1
    Margo

    I don’t discriminate against unattractive people, and there are others like me, but sure they face discrimination.

  2. 2
    Julie

    When it comes to dating I know I am and need to change!!

  3. 3
    AQ

    It is usually more like sloppy ridiculous careless. Exercise, grooming and neat classic clothes can overcome 90%

    1. 3.1
      Rod

      “It is usually more like sloppy ridiculous careless. Exercise, grooming and neat classic clothes can overcome 90%.”

      Is not. That’s your fat prejudice talking. “Fat people who get discriminated against are sloppy, ridiculous, careless, they don’t exercise, they have bad grooming, and they’re not wearing a size six with the GAP label.”

      1. 3.1.1
        SC

        Isn’t it funny that just today I saw a very thin woman that was
        not well groomed in the least. She had old clothes on, her hair
        was unkempt, and she looked like she had just rolled out of bed.
        And I am not the sort of person that really notices this type of
        thing unless it is VERY obvious. I try not to judge people by
        appearance, but as I read your opinion about overweight people
        I remembered this. I was shopping in a store and she was an
        employee. So if she went to work like this, imagine when she is
        being “casual”. She could never be called fat. She probably would
        not be called ugly. But she was poorly groomed. To say that all
        overweight people, or what you call unattractive, are sloppy and
        lazy is ignorance at its best!!  

  4. 4
    Detha

    I am guilty of not wanting to date and don’t date people I consider to be less attractive than myself.

    I consider myself to be preety average looking but not a day goes by that men don’t stop and stare (I mean stare in a good way). Sometimes they approach me to and ask me out.

  5. 5
    Gem

    I am judgmental of others based on cleanliness. I date average looking men. I date men who stand to loose 20-30 lbs. I date men with average incomes. When I find someone I click with, I’m pretty open.

    BUT, there is no excuse, imo, for poor hygene. You don’t need a fancy education or high income to pick up a bar of soap. I don’t want to hang out with, or date people who are in need of a shower, teeth cleaning or nail scrub.

  6. 6
    helene

    To me, its about whether the man is sexually attractive, not whether he’s “handsome” per se. Some ugly men are very attractive (to me, at least!)  – an example would be the actor James Woods. Not, in my opinion, handsome in the classic sense of the word, but so charismaticand sexy  I’d definately date him! I did try dating a quite ugly man a few years ago because I liked him a lot in other ways, but unfortunately his charisma was not suffucient to overcome his bad looks. I remember sitting in a bar with him, looking around and  thinking “EVERYONE in this bas is better looking than you….” Not a good sign. I did persevere, because he was an interesting guy, very keen on me, etc..etc…  and tried having sex with him – but after a couple of times I woke up beside him and thought OMG I just cannot sleep with you ever again… and then I ran away from his house! So you can’t say i didn’t try, but if someone is just too ugly for you, what you gonna do??!

  7. 7
    SJZ

    This falls under the category of “well duh!” What is seen as beauty is very specific to a culture. Unfortunately the European-American standard of beauty is starting to envelope the world. What I think needs addressing is the discrimination against fat people. I watched Big Sexy on TLC and was appalled at the way these women were treated. What kills me is people get away with this kind of discrimination. I wish the Victorian standards of beauty would come back. Fat can feel pretty beautiful when trying to stay thin and starving because of it.

  8. 8
    Gem

    I don’t know…Kim Kardashian, J-Lo, Scarlett Johansen….these are not thin women, and society loves their fuller figured beauty. The fashion industry still seems to want skinny-minis but men seem to like women fit and healthy but not necessarily bone thin. Women seem to put more pressure on themselves to be thin than men do.

    1. 8.1
      Martha

      Kim Kardashian, J-Lo, Scarlett Johansen = fuller figured. Absolutely not. These are average sized women under size a 10.

      Fuller figured = Queen Latifah, Christina Hendricks, Adele. 

       

    2. 8.2
      marymary

      They are hour glasses, which is quite rare, and, yes, gorgeous. I think many more women are pearshaped.

      high fashion likes skinny skinny, it makes for a dramatic line, it’s not concerned with what men like.  but glamour and catalogue models are somewhat more “normal” 

      I’ve  put on weight as the boyfriend is a feeder. He likes it. I don’t and am on a diet, it’s nothing to do with what men like. (it’s about  fitting into clothes). I agree with you there.

  9. 9
    sharon

    @SJZ

    Because corsets and tight waisting were a better idea?

    People have always been crazy about the perception of beauty. Chinese Foot Binding, Maori tattoos, Skull binding in Nigeria and North America, and neck lengthening in Burma. Universally a great deal of expense, time and suffering goes into ones appearance. The fact the modern societies have more free time and money and technology available to come up with new weird standard of beauty but underlying impulse is just part of being human. 

  10. 10
    SJZ

    Gem

    You prove my point by saying that Kim Kardashian, J-Lo and Scarlett Johansen are not considered thin women. They are still thinner than most of the women in America today. We should hold these stars up as people accepting fat women as beautiful?

    Sharon
    By Victorian times I did not mean corsets should come back. I meant that the standard of beauty then was the more voluptuous woman. Being bigger meant you were well fed which meant you probably had money and could afford to eat. Half of the models I see walking down the runway remind me of what the concentration camp survivors looked like. How much thinner can women get before they disappear completely?

  11. 11
    Robin

    Well,its difficult to discuss how big an issue of discrimination against “ugly” people is, because everyone’s idea of beauty is different.  I think some people may just lack self esteem, and think that people are discriminating against them unfairly, when perhaps, its their own lack of confidence thats keeping them from going after a bigger paycheck or promotion.  How many times have you seen attractive people (especially women) walking around bemoaning their unattractiveness, when there’s really nothing wrong with them that a little more self confidence wouldn’t cure.

    As far as I am concerned, presentation is often more important than bone structure or weight or height.   You may have the most attractive person in the world, but if he/she looks sloppy and unkempt, they’ll have a hard time finding a date. Take for example, Bradley Cooper before and after his transformation in the film Limitless. For me, cleanliness, being well groomed, and nicely dressed trumps model good looks every time.  
    Conversely, I often see stars on various magazines’ hottest whatever countdown whom I don’t consider particularly attractive.  For me,  Megan Fox and George Clooney…ehh…not that hot.  

    For me good looks does not necessarily translate to sexual attraction…I have a number of good looking male friends that I have never looked at as potential mates.  We are all more than just the sum of our physical features, so charisma, or intelligence, or a great sense of humor, or some other undefinable characteristic can transform someone from ok to wow in my eyes. 

    Laughing at Helene’s example in 6..but I concur.  Some men who are not considered at all handsome in the conventional sense can be incredibly attractive or sexy to me.  Seal..for example…so hot.  

  12. 12
    Gem

    SJZ, I personally don’t think society should hold up “fat” people as beautiful.

    Although “fat” is subjective when it comes to attractiveness to someone, “fat” isn’t so subjective to doctors who say being overweight is unhealthy.

    My point about the actresses I listed is that they are not runway anorexic. They are average to a little beefy actually, in a good way, and considered sex symbols. Just because they are still thinner than the average american woman doesn’t negate my point.

    I think it’s the fashion industry and much of Hollywood that is consumed by being as thin as possible, not the average American. The average American is bombarded with messages of exercise and health consciousness, yes, and considering many, many Americans are overweight, they should heed those messages. Pushing for “fat” to be in vogue and the new beautiful seems to disregard health.

    But back the point of ugliness….I can’t even remember the last time I saw a truly “ugly” person….Plain? Yeah. Strange Looking? Yeah. Homely. Sure, but down right ugly? Not really. Again, it’s just one of those subjective things I don’t get hung up on. 

  13. 13
    MAXINE

    ‘BEAUTY IS IN THE EYES OF THE BEHOLDER”

  14. 14
    SJZ

    Gem

    I am not pushing for fat to be in vogue or for it to be the new beautiful. I just think that people disrespecting fat people and getting away with it is wrong. It is a prejudice just like any other and should be treated as such.

  15. 15
    Jadafisk

    I don’t think I discriminate against the unattractive in any other respect besides dating, where it’s understandable to have strong physical biases. I actually discriminate against attractive men in some social aspects – they make me self-conscious and nervous due to the prospect of what could be, so I don’t form platonic friendships with them. 

  16. 16
    my honest answer

    Ugly people probably are discriminated against. Life’s a bitch, you know?
    But I totally agree with some of the other posters that so much be overcome with grooming. You’d have to be really ugly for it to merit notice if you were clean, tidy, and sharply dressed. Standing tall makes a hell of a difference too.
    I stress the importance of how you project yourself over how you actually look. Like so many dating problems, it’s more a confidence thing than anything else.

  17. 17
    Annie

    I’m with you Gem. I don’t really see many truly “ugly” people. 

  18. 18
    Jadafisk

    16. I dunno… bad teeth that aren’t due to oral neglect (congenitally missing, extremely crooked and/or with large uneven gaps) have negative cultural connotations that can definitely have an impact on how people perceive you and your earning potential.

  19. 19
    JM

    What is ugly?  I’d like to see examples of ugly people that are discriminated against.  Does ugly in this context mean not beautiful?  

    Fat is much easier to define.  Though some people are more extreme, there is a more obvious line between fat and not fat.

    I agree with the others . . .  There is much that can be done if you are less than attractive or overweight.  Hygeine, clothing, standing straight, a good haircut, lessons in applying make-up, etc.          

  20. 20
    Erinlee

    I think the media will always lean in the direction of thin more than lean toward overweight.  Thin sells, they stick with what works.  I don’t look to the media for what I think is ideal for me though.  I think people pay way too much attention to the rich and famous anyway.  Kim Kardashian?  Beautiful!  Do I care what they say in the tabloids about her though?  Absolutely not, I couldn’t care less what her or any other ‘starlet’ are doing with their time.  That stuff has no real impact on me or how I value myself or other people.  It’s just not real to me and I don’t understand how people can put so much stock into famous people.  Really?  Really, why care so much?  After all, they are just PEOPLE.  Wouldn’t we all be better off just concerning ourselves with how healthy and happy we are as a person, and the people around us that we care about?  Let’s be the one’s that young people in our community look up to.  Why must they develop their concepts of what is beautiful or healthy by watching TV?  I am a caring and excepting person and would like to think that I have never discriminated against anyone due to their size or looks, but I suppose at sometime in my life I have.  Ultimately, this girl here is just striving for tolerance of all types of people. 

  21. 21
    Goldie

    Where I work (IT), I see more of the opposite trend – attractive people being discriminated against, at least during the first few months on the job. Both in my current and previous jobs, during the first six months at a new place (in 2006 and 2000), I had to jump through hoops to prove that I wasn’t a dumb blonde. I don’t sweat it… life isn’t fair, people objectify each other and judge each other based on preconceived notions, and this definitely isn’t the worst problem to have.
     
    Though, I agree, good point about missing or extremely crooked teeth… these do create a certain connotation that isn’t compatible with an image of a professional. Sad but true. That’s the reason why we parents put giant dents in our bank accounts to get our children braces.
     
    As far as dating, looks, at least in the conventional sense, are pretty low on my list. Or at least, that’s what I like to think :) And, again, agree with the previous commenters that truly “ugly” people are pretty rare.

  22. 22
    sofka

    Ok, I have about ten posts worth to say on this topic, but here is my first, based on what others have written;  It is truly heartbreaking and soul destroying to hear people immediately start talking about hygiene issues. As if ugly people are just naturally more smelly than good looking people.  IF this was a post about “do black people face discrimination?” and people immediately started talking about personal hygene issues; people just launched into talk about washing as if being black was closely related to being smelly, this would just be unequivocably racist.  I think some of the posts here are all you need as proof that ugly people face discrimination of the most cruel and ignorant kind. 

  23. 23
    Francesca

    I have found for some less attractive individuals, personality and behaviour makes up for a lot of it. 

    I have recently met one of my Mum’s friends, he is obese, and hairy. My first look I thought “a fat hippy”. Then he opened his mouth and he was the nicest funniest guy I had met in ages.  He was so generous and lovely that my opinion was instantly change into a great admiration for him. This has happened a few times, particularly the overweight. 

    So often you’ll see comedians who are short, ugly, have funny faces. Their looks have turned them into better people, they are attractive in other ways.

    Its not full proof though. This woman who I used to work with was obese and she was a cow personality wise. She enjoyed blaming others for her own disorganisation.

    Also those really gorgeous individuals, so many of them are absolute jerks. Or up themselves, or into putting other people down. Or into just not liking people just because.  

  24. 24
    Saint stephen

    I am a good looking guy and Have dated both attractive and ugly women.
    Ugly men are more discriminated than ugly Women because Women are more Choosy and overly selective than Men.
    I think this is why a lot of ugly guys (some i know) work very hard to become wealthy and successful so at least the ladies could love them for that.
    And on the flip side some ladies don’t mind been the spender in a relationship just so they could be with a good looking partner.
    the ratio of good and average looking females are greater than that of men, so there is always a scramble for the good looking guys, some for the average Joe and almost nothing for the ugly guys.

  25. 25
    hunter

    ” Some gems come in plain wrappers” yet, at the same time, it has been my experience that if my date is attractive, I, get attention from other women.   Sounds illogical to me, but, who all said, relationships are about logic?…….

  26. 26
    Gem

    Sofka, #22,

    I’m one who wrote that I discriminate against those with bad hygene. But it’s apples and oranges. I don’t equate ugly people as having bad hygene. Poor hygene comes with the pretty people too. I’m a hairstylist and I’ve seen some physically attrative people who were down-right scummy and gross. I don’t get it, I just don’t think there is any excuse for it.

    I actually don’t think I actually seen very many physically “ugly” people in my life. I’m usually attracted to people who are more unusual looking because they are interesting to me.

    To me, ugliness comes from the heart.

  27. 27
    BC

    I very much agree with everything Robin 11 said. I mean, everyone’s perception of attractive/unattractive is different. Of course there seem to be the supermodel types of looks that very few would consider unattractive, but after that, it really is subjective I think. What I do find, just talking for myself here, is that the getting older and *losing* our once effortless good looks is the far scarier scenario. I have always had the ability to attract plenty of men, and that knowledge that you are considered hot, pretty, whatever you want to call it, is a powerful thing for your esteem…goes without saying. And a high self esteem goes hand in hand with confidence, which is always attractive. Aging is the big issue to me. Luckily, if I age anything like my mother or grandmother, I will be in good shape for years to come.

    I feel for people who are considered *unattractive/ugly*. But, even the most fetching among us can tomorrow suffer a disfiguring accident or illness, so the shallowness of judging someone solely based on their looks is senseless. Real, striking beauty is fleeting for even the most stunning people. I personally have never felt romantic attraction to slick, overstyled pretty boys. I appreciate a good looking guy, but I like a man to be a man, and I darn sure like to be prettier than my man! :-) He has to be sexy though…another issue entirely.

  28. 28
    Trenia

    It’s been said already, but level of attractiveness is so incredibly subjective. Not only that, most of what we believe to be beautiful, a European standard of beauty, has been forced down our throats for a couple hundred years. And other kinds of beauty have been conflated with negative traits and stereotypes, that we are told is an objective point of view when its not.  

  29. 29
    jack

    helene-
     
    You should get a medal for at least giving that guy a fair try.
    Far too many people will not even entertain the thought of looking beyond immediate “chemistry”  (by which most people mean tangible physical arousal).
    You tried; and for that you deserve plenty of good karma.

  30. 30
    Robin

    Sofka (# 22), I think that the message most persons were trying to get across is that “ugly” is a very subjective term.  A few posters stated that while people tended to be more or less attractive (based on our own likes/dislikes), they were unlikely to categorize anyone as “ugly” based on appearance, although they would use the term to describe someone’s actions or behavior.  From there, a few people specified some of the traits (outside of looks/facial features) that would make someone more, or less attractive to them, such as good hygiene, and gave personal anecdotes… I’m not sure I understand what was written that was so offensive to you. 

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