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Ear to the Ground

Affirmative Action for Ugly People

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Posted on Sep 1, 2011
Flickr / Alcino (CC-BY-SA)

Research over the years has shown that attractive people tend to reap economic rewards, from higher salaries and more promotions to lower interest rates on mortgages. In fact, one study showed that a person in the ugliest one-seventh of the population, as assessed by random observers, earned 10 to 15 percent less per year than a comparable, good-looking worker.

Economics professor Daniel Hamermesh argues in an Op-Ed in The New York Times that such disparate treatment of people based on their physical appearance is “a matter of simple prejudice,” and that maybe it’s time we granted “legal protections to the ugly, as we do with racial, ethnic and religious minorities, women and handicapped individuals.” —BF

Daniel S. Hamermesh in The New York Times:

The mechanics of legislating [legal protection to the ugly] are not as difficult as you might think. You might argue that people can’t be classified by their looks — that beauty is in the eye of the beholder. That aphorism is correct in one sense: if asked who is the most beautiful person in a group of beautiful people, you and I might well have different answers. But when it comes to differentiating classes of attractiveness, we all view beauty similarly: someone whom you consider good-looking will be viewed similarly by most others; someone you consider ugly will be viewed as ugly by most others. In one study, more than half of a group of people were assessed identically by each of two observers using a five-point scale; and very few assessments differed by more than one point.

For purposes of administering a law, we surely could agree on who is truly ugly, perhaps the worst-looking 1 or 2 percent of the population. The difficulties in classification are little greater than those faced in deciding who qualifies for protection on grounds of disabilities that limit the activities of daily life, as shown by conflicting decisions in numerous legal cases involving obesity.

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By simple truth, September 2, 2011 at 3:44 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

It should be noted, that there are many very wealthy,
and physically ugly people.

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politicky's avatar

By politicky, September 2, 2011 at 12:26 pm Link to this comment

Sadly, so many of the people who look attractive on the outside
are horribly ugly on the inside.

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By morristhewise, September 2, 2011 at 10:15 am Link to this comment

Applicants for a credit of being ugly could go in front of a committee of judges.
It would be as simple as deciding who is mentally disabled.

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By Inherit The Wind, September 1, 2011 at 8:34 pm Link to this comment

I don’t believe it: I offer in rebuttal:
Mitch McConnell
Phil Gramm
Jesse Helms
Richard Cheney
Karl Rove
John Ashcroft
and
Rush Limbaugh.

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By SoTexGuy, September 1, 2011 at 6:04 pm Link to this comment

Putting aside all synthetic thought on what is or is not ‘ugly’.. what’s the big deal?

If it were true that ‘ugly’ people could not get jobs, proper representation or even just a taxi a block off of Times Square.. wouldn’t this be an issue self corrected by natural selection? How could they feed themselves and reproduce? It’s clear that no matter how oppressed the author thinks these people are they
are thriving!

I think it’s all hokey.. people have the free right of association including even in some work environments. Does the author think everyone should have a shot at a Hooters girl job? or a Speedo suit ad slot?

The author himself seems to be the problem here.. identifying ‘lower order’ people that otherwise simply have issues to overcome just as was suggested do highly ‘attractive’ people… and everyone, for that matter.

I believe he is a closet eugenicist..

All in fun..

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A Bird in the Hand's avatar

By A Bird in the Hand, September 1, 2011 at 5:06 pm Link to this comment

I have something that you can ‘deal with’ Glider…

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By glider, September 1, 2011 at 4:04 pm Link to this comment

Hey, it is a harsh reality of nature that ugly people are going to be selected against regardless of whatever legislation our government would pass to ameliorate their condition.  Deal with it.

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By gerard, September 1, 2011 at 3:55 pm Link to this comment

Pass a law that all job interviewers wear a solid band of black velvet completely covering their eyes.

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kerryrose's avatar

By kerryrose, September 1, 2011 at 3:39 pm Link to this comment

Maybe the truly ugly do not view themselves that way, and would be crushed if they were labeled ugly.  Our ability to self-deceive is often a survival mechanism.  If you limp, it’s hard to deny, if you’re ugly, it is easy to rationalize.

Also, women can be punished if they are attractive by both men and women.  Men especially. Some men seem to project all their prejudices onto an attractive woman, projections of not being ‘good’ or ‘serious’ or ‘trustworthy.’  It is especially common in the workplace or school.  I think attractive women feel that it is a dual edge sword.

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prisnersdilema's avatar

By prisnersdilema, September 1, 2011 at 12:23 pm Link to this comment

Welcome to the Monkey House… Kurt Vonnegut RIP…

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By SarcastiCanuck, September 1, 2011 at 12:20 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Who gets to judge that these people are in the bottom 1/7th and part of the ugly class?Who gets to tell these poor people that they are ugly and doomed to this stature?Am I the only one who sees the absurdity not to mention the calousness in this?Fucking whacko superficial culture we live in now.

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