Why not give it a try?

Reader comment on: Affirmative Action for the Ugly

Submitted by Neither Brad Pitt nor Angelina Jolie (United States), Aug 26, 2013 17:27

It is well-known that tall people are favored in hiring and advancement over shorter (and even shorter and more intelligent) colleagues. It is also clear that once a person descends below a certain level of generally-accepted attractiveness, either because of God-given physical attributes or personal slovenliness or -- as is also well-known -- being morbidly obese, chances for professional advancement diminish. Outside the entertainment and allied industries (fashion, modeling and being a Playboy centerfold) I believe that physical attractiveness in a woman can be deleterious to her advancement. So far -- and this is hardly the only yardstick -- only one of the women named to the U.S. Supreme Court would generally be deemed a looker, and that was the first. The ones currently serving are neither highly attractive nor highly unattractive. For a woman, being in the middle is ideal.

We have all known men and women who have clearly been disadvaantaged either by a stroke of genetic bad luck, or by a propensity to be unsually obese, from kindergarten through postgraduate studies and then on through their professional and personal lives.

Why shouldn't there be affirmative action for them? I admit I haven't read the Globe article to which you refer, but even without reading it, I can name at least ten people I've known over the years whose lives would have been vastly improved if such a program existed. It didn't, and the results have been rejection from very early years, leading to lack of adequate social skills since they were deemed pariahs because of their looks, leading to a dearth of opportunities to bond and marry and, in some cases, the ultimate and tragic results have been unbearable loneliness and suicides.

Classmates, playmates, teachers and everyone can be horrifically cruel to those who don't fit into any human society's ideas of generally acceptable physical appearance. Maybe affirmative action wouldn't help, but other than the traditional arguments against AA in general (here, that a better-looking, equally academically or professionally accomplished person would be disadvantaged by it) why not give it a try?

The part of the Globe article you quote, "But without a broad public understanding of the concrete disadvantages of unattractiveness" shows not "social engineering run amok: but rather a complete and intentional disregard for what is obvious if you look at the lives of people you've known your whole life. It doesn't take a complex longitudinal socioloigical study to see the obvious "concrete disadvantages of unattractiveness."

Life is unfair and the playing field is grossly uneven. Why not see if this could help? (I can hear the dissents already, but so be it.)

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