APPEARANCISM: Understanding Our Biases Based on How People Look

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Hunter College, Lexington Ave. and 68th Street, Manhattan

Photo ID required for entrance to building, please. West Building Faculty Dining Room, 8th Floor

New York, NY 10065

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The new term Appearancism calls attention to discriminatory treatment of people based on their physical appearance.

While not as well-recognized as racism, sexism, or even ageism, this prejudice is widespread and affects peoples' opportunities in social relationships, job opportunities, and self-image. And of course it’s an integral component of those other “isms”.

PLEASE COME TO SHARE YOUR EXPERIENCES, THOUGHTS, AND RECOMMENDTIONS!

  • Have you observed or experienced Appearancism – as perpetrator or target?

  • What impact on people’s lives do you think that Appearancism may be having:

    • In interpersonal relationships (friendships, dating)?

    • In organizational life or other work situations?

    • In how people feel about themselves?

    • In our political preferences and choices?


  • How is Appearance visible on social media, the Internet, and other digital platforms, e.g., swiping people on Tinder, fabricating one's appearance on Social Media, or, on the positive side, overcoming biases by being able to conceal one's race, sex, ethnicity, or other visual identifiers?

  • Do you think that our reactions to public figures (like political candidates) are affected by their physical appearance -- beyond the cases of celebrities who are obviously lauded by their looks?

  • What steps could we take to ameliorate the harm being caused by Appearancism?

“Appearance-related bias infringes fundamental rights, compromises merit principles, reinforces debilitating stereotypes, and compounds the disadvantages of race, class, and gender,” argues Deborah Rhode in The Beauty Bias: The Injustice of Appearance in Life and Law. Other books exploring Appearancism are The Beauty Myth: How Images of Beauty Are Used Against Women by Naomi Wolf, and Survival of the Prettiest: The Science of Beauty by Nancy Etcoff.



Date and Time

Location

Hunter College, Lexington Ave. and 68th Street, Manhattan

Photo ID required for entrance to building, please. West Building Faculty Dining Room, 8th Floor

New York, NY 10065

View Map

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