Lookism according to the Merriam Webster dictionary is to discriminate against someone on the basis of their physical appearance. It’s apparently a new form of discrimination that’s emerging in society. It is even the cause of several court actions in the US. According to some experts ugliness is no different to racism or disability and that people who are mistreated because they are deemed less attractive deserve legal action to.

Journalist Shona Sibary on the Daily Mail site wrote about how she learnt to accept her “ugliness”. She was born with a birth defect that meant that she couldn’t open her eyes properly as a child. And as she grew up she developed “buck teeth” which gave her classmates ammunition to tease her at school.

She describes how her parents were both how her parents were both beautiful. Her father was a model in the 60s and her mother looked like a cross between between Elizabeth Taylor and Vivien Leigh.



Journalist Shona Sibary

She writes, “I’ll never forget having lunch at the home of my eccentric great aunt when she put down her fork, appraised me across the table and said: ‘Well, you clearly haven’t inherited your mother’s looks. I hope, for your sake, you’ve got a strong personality. I felt crushed, of course. I sensed, even at that age, that being pretty gave you advantages I didn’t have”

Despite being happily married with children, Shona says that because of her looks she has always been at a disadvantage in her relationships both romantic and social.

Shona with husband Keith on their day

People have applauded her for her honesty, but I can’t help but feel saddened by this story. Why should people be made to feel inferior because of something that is so subjective? What is it about society that puts people with “good looks”on a pedestal? Is it the rise of the celebrity? Is it the fact that so much of our lives is based on visuals? What is it?

Women especially put so much pressure on themselves to live up to an unrealistic standards, why is it like this? Is it because as Shona suggests every woman’s dream is to be pretty?

What do you think?

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