WGSS 07.15 Looks, Lookism, and the Law
People discriminate against other people based on appearance. We all do it, whether we like it or not. Nevertheless, all discrimination is not the same -- choosing a mate or a reproductive partner is quite different from hiring or firing an employee or renting space to a tenant. The law clearly prohibits discrimination of certain “protected classes” in situations where lifestyle and wage earning is concerned. Conversely, the law allows and, arguably, encourages discrimination against certain types of personal appearance. Appearance discrimination of those in unprotected classes can go so far as to endanger the fiscal and psychological welfare those human beings, but few laws and policies exist to counteract the discrimination. Should American society, as a fair, democratic and just society, tolerate certain types of appearance discrimination or should we ask our legislators, policy makers and courts to offer protections like those offered to protected classes? If so, how can we help them do it well? On the other hand, would their interference only make things worse? After all, one can argue that ineffective law and policy is equal to or worse than none at all. Dist: TMV.