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Beauty Bias: Discrimination and Social Power

ABC-CLIO, Incorporated

Beauty Bias: Discrimination and Social Power Overview

Society has always been fixated on looks and celebrities, but how we look has deep ramifications for ordinary people too. In this book, Bonnie Berry explains how social inequality pertains to prejudice and discrimination against people based on their physical appearance. This form of inequality overlaps with other, better-known forms of inequality such as those that result from sexism, racism, ageism, and homophobia. Social inequality regarding looks is notable in a number of settings: work, medical treatment, romance, and marriage, to mention a few. It is experienced as limitations on access to social power. Berry discusses the pressures to be attractive and the methods by which we strive to alter our appearance through plastic surgery, cosmetics, and the like. Berry also discusses cultural factors, such as the manner in which globalization of media, advertisements, and movies have trended toward homogenization, whereby we are all encouraged to appear tall, thin, white, and with Northern European features even if we are none of those things. She also analyzes the underlying social forces such as economic incentives that, on the one hand, channel us to be as physically acceptable as possible via the sale of diet pills and skin lighteners, and on the other hand, encourage us to accept ourselves as we are by selling us plus-size clothing. The book concludes with suggestions for equal rights extended to all regardless of appearance. Here, Berry describes budding social movements and grassroots endeavors toward an acceptance of "looks diversity."

Beauty Bias: Discrimination and Social Power Table Of Content

Preface     ix
Introduction: The Power of Looks     1
The Ramifications     15
Looks and Health     17
Looks and Romance     29
Looks and the Workplace     39
The Pressures     53
The Diet, Fitness, and Supplements Industries     55
Cosmetics, Cosmeceuticals, and Other Superficial Changes     63
The Plastic Surgery Industry     71
The System     85
The Medical and Health Insurance Communities     87
The Legal Community     95
The Economy, Globalization, and Power     101
Conclusion: Toward an Acceptance of Looks Diversity     111
Filmography     127
Selected Resources     129
Notes     133
Bibliography     157
Subject Index     161
Name Index     163

Beauty Bias: Discrimination and Social Power Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

"Sociologist Berry has taught at several American universities….In this text, she tackles social inequality centered on physical appearance skin color, hair texture, height, weight, eye shape, disabilities and deformities, condition of the teeth, evidence of aging, and beauty which, compared to other forms of racism, is still legal and socially acceptable. Berry examines the ways that physical appearance affects health, chances at romance (and marriage and family), and workplace experiences; the activities and procedures people undergo to become more socially desirable via their appearance; how various systems medical and health insurance professions, the legal system, the global and economic community respond to people differently depending on appearance; the issue of choice to engage in appearance enhancement; and movements to promote looks-diversity acceptance."


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