It's been a long time since discrimination and contempt for others was a common out-in-the open occurrence in the society. These days, most people seem to have become more civil when it comes to handling their reservations against others who do not seem to fit their standards. But then again, it sometimes seems like discrimination appears to be an almost central part of the world existence. Taking this abstract concept to a more concrete example, let's take the ever-present comparison done between who society considers “beautiful” and “ugly”. This is the question we're going to explore – is it indeed legal to discriminate against those that we consider “ugly”? Are one's physical features the basis of societal acceptance?
A Real Life Scenario
Imagine that you are the boss of a big corporate firm. Naturally, applicants for an advertised position come and go. They may be coming in by appointment or as walk-in applicants. Now, for a job position that requires a female, you finally come to the point of limiting your final choice into two candidates. The thing is, one of which you find to be a beautiful woman while the other is not. As you take a look at their resumes, you find both of theirs equally impressive. There is no question as to their potential ability in handling the. They give you accurate answers during the course of the interview. Confidence and self-esteem in their abilities is equally high for both. But then again, the task requires dealing with lots of people face-to-face. The bottom line is – which of these two applicants would you hire? Or take this instance. You are currently looking for a hotel manager. Your clientele attracts wealthy foreigners and a-list celebrities. Are you willing to assign someone in the front line who doesn't exude a pleasing appearance but may be perfectly suitable for the task?
The question remains, is beauty truly an important requirement to land a job? Why do these job applicants bother to dress up and apply makeup on their faces if appearance isn't an issue? University professors often inculcate in the minds of their students the fact that applying and accepting your first job in your chosen career is the start of your professional life. Applicants sell their skills. Their resumes must be grammatically correct, legibly written, and impressive since it is their passport to obtaining the dream job that will define their future.
The Comparison: “Beauty and the Beast”
So is it morally right to choose the beautiful over the ugly? Is it not impolite to include the words “with pleasing appearance” in bold letters among the number of qualification requirements in a job post? Well again, maybe for those less ethically inclined, this can be acceptable. If all that influences an interviewer's choice of candidate for the job is the applicant's beauty, then most likely, all you'll see in these offices are handsome men and beautiful women who appear to be in a beauty pageant. Where does this leave the not so physically blessed people? Are they doomed to become vendors in the subway alleys? How about the issue of ability – do people assume beautiful people automatically are smarter than their less physically attractive counterparts?
Practically speaking, not all careers require an exceptional physical appearance. However, may beauty be a tool in creating an impressive business presentation?
As Shown by Leading Studies
Dr. Daniel S. Hamermesh spearheaded an infamous survey in Canada and the United States which reported that less attractive people earned less while the more attractive people earned more. In line with the legal career and profession, the private practicing lawyers are those who are generally considered good-looking while their opposites are settled in the government offices. He found that better-looking attorneys who graduated in the 1970s earned more after 5 years of practice than their worse- looking classmates, other things equal, an effect that grew even larger by the fifteenth year of practice. Male attorneys' probability of attaining an early partnership also rises with their handsomeness. To wrap it up, his study proved the unfairness in the treatment of both sides. The “beautiful people” earned higher revenues compared to the non-beautiful. And one more thing, most of the elected officials were rated to be attractive as well! (Reference: “Beauty, Productivity, And Discrimination: Lawyers' Looks And Lucre,” Journal of Labor Economics, 1998, v16(1,Jan), 172-201.)
Is this supposed to be the case? Is this meant to add insult to the injury of ugliness? Physically, economically, politically, and emotionally, the gains seem to be geared more towards the beautiful. Does it follow that beauty constitutes good character as well?
When Beauty is Favored
True to what has been said, reality simply sinks in that being beautiful is greatly favored. People tend to choose beautiful friends, beautiful lovers, and beautiful employees. One's physical attraction plays a major role in the acceptance that he or she will find in their respective environments – whether in their professional lives or personal lives.
Does all of this mean that the non-beautiful person is doomed?