Lookism is the idea that we perceive a person’s behavior through how they appear on the surface. This can mean their height, ethnicity, gender, hairstyle, etc.
For attractive people, lookism means getting paid more, getting easier access to relationships and opportunities, being looked upon favorably in court, and so on.
For unattractive or unconventional people, lookism means being rejected more, facing discrimination, or being ignored.
Let’s say there are two people. One is 6’5 and one is 5’4. Both could say and do the exact same thing. However, one might be applauded and the other criticized.
While this sounds extremely unfair, this is simply life. We are not entitled to anything.
However, lookism is not black and white. The different perspectives must be examined.
- When one is beautiful, you will garner more attention. However, what if you are a attractive woman walking on the sidewalk who wants to be left alone?
- When one is socially undesirable, you are ignored. However, what if being ignored allows you to learn skills and perspectives that no one else has?
Of course, if you have been dealt a “different” card, it can feel impossible to see the different perspective. You’ve been cheated! Why can’t people just see you for who you are? Why can’t you just be treated with respect? Where is YOUR validation?
I only recently came to a solution after re-reading a old poem.
People are often unreasonable, irrational, and self-centered. Forgive them anyway.
If you are kind, people may accuse you of selfish, ulterior motives. Be kind anyway.
If you are successful, you will win some unfaithful friends and some genuine enemies. Succeed anyway.
If you are honest and sincere people may deceive you. Be honest and sincere anyway.
What you spend years creating, others could destroy overnight. Create anyway.
If you find serenity and happiness, some may be jealous. Be happy anyway.
The good you do today, will often be forgotten. Do good anyway.
Give the best you have, and it will never be enough. Give your best anyway.
In the final analysis, it is between you and God. It was never between you and them anyway.
Mother Teresa, Do It Anyway
By focusing on physical attributes, people may be “irrational” and “self-centered”. Yes, it is unfair. But, we must learn to let the resentment go.
[Recommended reading: Perfect me: Beauty as a Ethical Ideal by Heather Widdows]