Lookism & Halloween: witch or bitch face?

It is Halloween and the time that witch faces show up at parties and at neighborhood trick-or-treat outings. All sorts of other faces show up, too—esp some representing lookism gone wild (for example, sweet faces from Disney's studios and  pretty ones from Hollywood's glamor factories).Among meme-loving sophisticates, moreover, there's now the chance to put on a "resting bitch face" mask as well as a witch mask. In the last couple of years, both the New York Times and the Washington Post have … [Read more...]

Facial symmetry is sexy, but why?

Facial symmetry has been felt to be attractive, even sexy, because our DNA correlates symmetry with good health. But Stephanie Pappas reports on a recent study that calls all this into question:Despite the widespread assumption that symmetry might be a sign of good health, studies have turned up little evidence of a link between the two. A few small studies have linked facial asymmetry with some short-term health woes, like scratchy throats, but many others have found no links at all.However, … [Read more...]

Beauty varies by country/sex, but lookism still fuels surgeries.

As we try to fight lookism, we see one obvious factor supporting our cause. It is the fact that beauty and attractiveness vary by sex and by country. That is, men and women have different ideals regarding attractiveness as do people from different countries. (Not so commonly referenced is the factor that attractiveness ideals change over time, e.g., the 1800s, the 1920s, the 1950s, now).Most distressing, however, is the fact that western media (films, magazines, the internet, etc.) are spreading … [Read more...]

Jesus with a cleft lip in Mary-Magdalene biopic?

Joaquin Phoenix Will Likely Play Jesus with a cleft lip.Hollywood is abuzz with the news that Joaquin Phoenix will likely play Jesus, with a cleft lip,  in a new movie about Mary Magdalene—an important woman in Jesus' life. It will reportedly be "an authentic and humanistic portrait of one of the most enigmatic and misunderstood spiritual figures in history.” Jesus with a cleft lip will be a first.Other actors to have famously taken on the role of Jesus in past films include Willem Dafoe (The … [Read more...]

“Lookism” and dishonesty about ugliness.

In my last blog, I wrote about the kids edition of "Ugly." Today, I'm writing about the adult version that brings up a complicated lookism issue: can we be butt-ugly honest about the role of looks in society?Ugly & Lookism.First, let's hear from the "subject" of this inquiry, Robert Hoge.To hear Hoge tell it, he was born with a giant tumor on his forehead, severely distorted facial features, and legs that were twisted and almost useless. His mother refused to look at him when he was born, … [Read more...]

Lookism couldn’t defeat the author of “Ugly.”

Googled for books with "ugly" in their title the other day. Here's what I found.  Go here for blurbs about some of the "ugly" books.  (Who said you can't judge a book by its cover?)Besides the Ugly Face Booth  and Confessions of an Ugly Girl, a book simply called Ugly caught my eye.The author, an Australian, had a large tumor on his face at birth and deformed legs. At first, his own mother abandoned him in the hospital, wishing he would die. The book is about Robert Hoge's life growing up … [Read more...]

Lookism’s ugly side & how we can counter it.

 As some who has taught sociology, a piece by sociologist Heather Laine Talley caught my eye the other day. I especially noticed her comment that lookism, like sexism and other -isms, is often unconscious and taken for granted. So true.  Our society may've gone overboard around unconscious, so-called "white privilege" in discussions about the big -ism of our day, racism. But it is worth examining the little-mentioned issues of lookism and ableism, especially as they relate to people with … [Read more...]