Does Appearance Matter? Who are You Looking at?


Does our appearance determine our life chances?

A young woman who was born with a visible difference tells you what it’s like in the above video, entitled “The Visible Difference.”

Born with a cleft lip and palate, Alexandria Barker is a psychology student in Britain. Corrective surgeries and a loving family have made her “visible difference” no longer a problem for her, but she knows that not all are as lucky as her. Many people with a visible difference have trouble in the work place due to low self esteem.
As she explains: “As soon as you look at a person, people judge you. So, if you have a physical difference, you’re judged straight away. If you haven’t had any experience of it before, it will be hard to understand how people do feel.”

Britain is taking steps towards supporting people with clefts and other facial disorders. It is sponsoring research and efforts to change social consciousness regarding oral-facial disorders at the Center for Appearance Research at Bristol. Their Appearance Matters project is discussed in the video.

Does appearance matter when we look for a job?

Alexandria talks about the reality of people affected by physical stigmatization:
“Social interaction is a lot harder, because obviously [stigmatized people] have lower self-esteem. Then it will be harder to make friends, go out and enjoy simple things. If they’re looking for retail jobs or anything like that, serving customers, they’ll be afraid to do that. I’ve had some friends who made sure they didn’t get jobs in that role, because they were too scared of the response. Now they’re stock room assistants, so they work in the back of the stores.”

Stay tuned for a follow-up post.

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To learn about CLEFT HEART: Chasing Normal, click the Amazon or Barnes & Noble buttons in the margins. Or click the image of the book cover. My coming-of-age memoir has intertwining love stories, mystery, tragedy, and triumph.

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