The Beauty Bias: The Injustice of Appearance in Life and Law (Paperback)Deborah L. Rhode (author)
Paperback 272 Pages / Published: 28/07/2011
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"It hurts to be beautiful" has been a cliche for centuries. What has been far less appreciated is how much it hurts not to be beautiful. The Beauty Bias explores our cultural preoccupation with attractiveness, the costs it imposes, and the responses it demands. 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 consider appearance important to their self image and over a third rank it as the most important factor. Although appearance can be a significant source of pleasure, its price can also be excessive, not only in time and money, but also in physical and psychological health. Our annual global investment in appearance totals close to $200 billion. Many individuals experience stigma, discrimination, and related difficulties, such as eating disorders, depression, and risky dieting and cosmetic procedures. Women bear a vastly disproportionate share of these costs, in part because they face standards more exacting than those for men, and pay greater penalties for falling short. The Beauty Bias explores the social, biological, market, and media forces that have contributed to appearance-related problems, as well as feminism's difficulties in confronting them. The book also reviews 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 explicitly prohibit 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 offers case histories of invidious discrimination and a plausible legal and political strategy for addressing them. Our prejudices run deep, but we can do far more to promote realistic and healthy images of attractiveness, and to reduce the price of their pursuit.
Publisher: Oxford University Press Inc
Number of pages: 272
Weight: 292 g
Dimensions: 208 x 145 x 19 mm
"The book is illuminating and important: it explores the often unacknowledged, yet pervasive, discrimination against people, particularly women, who don t conform to mainstream notions of beauty and appearance [Rhode] is the one of the country's leading scholars in legal ethics and gender Rhode is incredibly prolific."--Danielle Citron, Concurring Opinions
"[Rhode] is convincing in her arguments that laws punishing appearance discrimination might be a logical step in exactly the right direction it's hard to deny the validity of the problem that she confronts. And it's even harder to ignore the extent to which concerns about appearance shape our daily lives. Rhode so clearly enumerates the costs to society incurred by appearance discrimination that readers judges and lawmakers included will find themselves unsettled."--Christian Science Monitor
"Provocative Rhode is at her most persuasive when arguing that in the United States, the penchant to discriminate against unattractive women (and also short men) is as pernicious and widespread as bias based on race, sex, age, ethnicity, religion, and disability. She provides overwhelming evidence of bias against the overweight, the unattractive, and the aging. And while some of these cases may be covered under the Americans with Disabilities Act or race discrimination law, most are not."--Dahlia Lithwick, Slate.com
"This book is extremely well written. There are plenty of everyday examples of appearance discrimination and the book is written with a passion and enthusiasm that sweeps the reader along...a call to arms...No doubt it will create a considerable body of literature and much debate."--Legal Studies
"Rhode writes clearly and thinks deeply. I found her case convincing morally and legally."--Dallas Morning News
"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
"Rhode's insightful analysis and lively writing style brilliantly lays out the ways in which prescriptions about appearance, whether mandated by the law, influenced by the billion dollar cosmetics industry, or the leaders of social movements, affect people's opportunities and their everyday lives."--Cynthia Fuchs Epstein, Past President, American Sociological Association; Professor of Sociology, CUNY Graduate Center
"When the fastest-growing medical specialty is cosmetic surgery, we should all be concerned. Deborah Rhode's analysis offers real insight into what compels our 'beauty behavior, ' the economic consequences, and what we can-and must-do about it. This book should be on every woman's bookshelf."--Kim Gandy, Former President, National Organization for Women
"Deborah Rhode uncovers 'beauty bias' as an obstacle for women every bit as disabling as sex or gender discrimination, but more damaging because it is virtually immune to legal challenge. Her discourse and strategies for ending appearance discrimination speak to every woman and should be supported by all people concerned with social justice."--Herma Hill Kay, University of California, Berkeley School of Law
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