xvi, 252 p. : ill. ; 22 cm.
Includes bibliographical references (p. -238) and index.
The personal becomes political: the trouble with shoes -- The costs and consequences of appearance -- Surveying the foundations: social, biological, economic, technological, and media forces -- Feminist challenges and responses -- Appearance discrimination: social wrongs and legal rights -- Legal frameworks -- A road map for reform -- The Importance of Appearance and the Costs of Conformity. Definitions of attractiveness and forms of discrimination -- Interpersonal relationships and economic opportunities -- Self-esteem, stigma, and quality of life -- Gender differences -- The price of upkeep: time and money -- Health risks -- Bias -- The Pursuit of Beauty. Sociobiological foundations -- Cultural values, status, and identity -- Market forces -- Technology -- The media -- Advertising -- The culture of beauty -- Critics and their Critics. Nineteenth-and early-twentieth-century critics -- The contemporary women's movement -- Critiques -- Responses -- Personal interests and political commitments -- Beyond the impasse -- The Injustice of Discrimination. Ensuring equal opportunity: challenging stigma and stereotypes -- Challenging subordination based on class, race, ethnicity, gender, disability, and sexual orientation -- Protecting self-expression: personal liberty and cultural identity -- The rationale for discrimination and resistance to prohibitions -- The parallel of sexual harassment -- The contributions of law -- Legal Frameworks. The limitations of prevailing legal frameworks -- Prohibitions on appearance discrimination -- A comparative approach: European responses to appearance discrimination -- The contributions and limitations of legal prohibitions on appearance discrimination -- Consumer protection: prohibitions on false and fraudulent marketing practices -- Directions for reform -- Strategies for Change. Defining the goal -- Individuals -- Business and the media -- Law and policy.
"It hurts to be beautiful" has been a cliché for centuries. What has been far less appreciated is how much it hurts not to be beautiful. This book 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. This book also explores the social, biological, market, and media forces that have contributed to appearance related problems, as well as feminism's difficulties in confronting them. It 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 book provides the first systematic survey of how appearance laws work in practice, and a compelling argument for extending their reach. It 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.
9780195372878 (hbk. : alk. paper)