London: “Lookism”, which is discrimination based on one’s looks, is being claimed as the new racism of civilised societies.
Economist Daniel Hamermesh argues that ugliness is no different from race or a disability, and suggests unattractive people deserve legal protection.
“My research shows being good-looking helps you earn more money, find a higher-earning spouse and even get better deals on mortgages,” the Daily Mail quoted him as saying.
“Some people are born ugly and there’s not much they can do about it. You’re pretty much stuck with your looks.
“Logically there’s no less reason to protect the ugly than the disabled, African Americans, other racial minorities or religious minorities, as we do. We could even have affirmative action for the ugly,” he stated.
Lawrence Davies of the Equal Justice law firm believes one should be cautious of amending current equality laws.
“People who appear to be conventionally beautiful have fewer barriers to workplace success,” Davies stated.
“However, protecting conventionally ugly people or offensively linking that condition to a disability would take society in the wrong direction,” he said.
The issue of lookism has been highlighted by the case of 61-year-old Shirley Ivey who is suing her former employer in Washington.
Ivey left her job at the Department of Consumer and Regulatory affairs suffering from stress after claiming being told by a supervisor that he would like her more had she been prettier.