The Beauty Bias: The Injustice of Appearance in Life and Law

Paperback | June 17, 2011

byDeborah L. Rhode

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Beauty may be only skin deep, but the damages associated with its absence go much deeper. Unattractive individuals are less likely to be hired and promoted, and are assumed less likely to have desirable traits, such as goodness, kindness, and honesty. Three quarters of women considerappearance important to their self image and over a third rank it as the most important factor. Our annual global investment in appearance totals close to $200 billion. The Beauty Bias explores our cultural preoccupation with attractiveness, the costs it imposes, and the responses it demands. Deborah Rhode describes the social, biological, market, and media forces that have contributed to appearance-related problems, as well as feminism's difficulties inconfronting them. The book also reveals why it matters. Appearance-related bias infringes fundamental rights, compromises merit principles, reinforces debilitating stereotypes, and compounds the disadvantages of race, class, and gender. Yet only one state and a half dozen localities explicitlyprohibit such discrimination. The Beauty Bias provides the first systematic survey of how appearance laws work in practice, and a compelling argument for extending their reach. The book also offers case histories of invidious discrimination and presents a plausible legal and political strategy foraddressing them.

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Beauty may be only skin deep, but the damages associated with its absence go much deeper. Unattractive individuals are less likely to be hired and promoted, and are assumed less likely to have desirable traits, such as goodness, kindness, and honesty. Three quarters of women considerappearance important to their self image and over a t...

Deborah L. Rhode is the Ernest W. McFarland Professor of Law at Stanford University, and is the author of numerous books, including In the Interests of Justice, Access to Justice, and Ethics in Practice.

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Format:PaperbackDimensions:272 pages, 8.25 × 5.5 × 0.68 inPublished:June 17, 2011Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0199794448

ISBN - 13:9780199794447

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Table of Contents

Preface1. IntroductionThe Personal Becomes Political: The Trouble With ShoesThe Costs and Consequences of AppearanceSurveying the Foundations: Social, Biological, Economic, Technological, and Media ForcesFeminist Challenges and ResponsesAppearance Discrimination: Social Wrongs and Legal RightsLegal FrameworksA Roadmap for Reform2. The Importance of Appearance and the Costs of ConformiDefinitions of Attractiveness and Forms of DiscriminationInterpersonal Relationships and Economic OpportunitiesSelf- Esteem, Stigma, and Quality of LifeGender DifferencesThe Price of Upkeep: Time and MoneyHealth RisksBias3. The Pursuit of BeautySociobiological FoundationsCultural Values, Status, and IdentityMarket ForcesTechnologyThe MediaAdvertisingThe Culture of Beauty4. Critics and Their CriticsNineteenth and Early Twentieth Century CriticsThe Contemporary Women's MovementCriticsResponsesPersonal Interests and Political CommitmentsBeyond the Impasse5. The Injustice of DiscriminationEnsuring Equal Opportunity: Challenging Stigma and StereotypesChallenging Subordination Based on Class, Race, Ethnicity, Gender, Disability, and Sexual OrientationProtecting Self-Expression: Personal Liberty and Cultural IdentityThe Rationale for Discrimination and Resistance to ProhibitionsThe Parallel of Sex HarassmentThe Contributions of Law6. Legal FrameworksThe Limitations of Prevailing Legal FrameworksProhibitions on Appearance DiscriminationA Comparative Approach: European Responses to Appearance DiscriminationThe Contributions and Limitations of Legal Prohibitions on Appearance DiscriminationConsumer Protection: Prohibitions on False and Fraudulent Marketing PracticesDirections for Reform7. Strategies for ChangeDefining the GoalIndividualsBusiness and the MediaLaws and Policy

Editorial Reviews

"This is a well-researched and thoughtful exploration of beauty ideals in legal, professional and other hard-hitting real-life spheres. A serious contribution to the literature of the politics of appearance." --Naomi Wolf, author of The Beauty Myth