A Conversation for Ask h2g2

What do you call discrimination against ugly people?

Post 1

Woodpigeon

Just wondering, we have words such as feminism, racism, sectarianism and ageism to describe types of discrimination against different people in society.

What word exists to describe discrimination against people who are not blessed with good looks? It strikes me this is a fairly common phenomenon in life today.

Just recently in Ireland, the national TV station tried to get rid of the weather forecasting team because "they were not professional enough". Yeah right. They were not sufficiently pleasing on the eye more like....


What do you call discrimination against ugly people?

Post 2

drewbert

I've heard the term "lookism" before... though my hunch is it hasn't made it into the OED yet smiley - winkeye


What do you call discrimination against ugly people?

Post 3

Cheerful Dragon

There is a particular variety of "lookism" that I understand there have been cases of in the States. I guess you could call it 'weightism' or 'fatism' because the people affected are grossly overweight, and therefore not presentable (hence employable) enough regardless of how good they are at their job.


What do you call discrimination against ugly people?

Post 4

Trigger Vorbs

How about grossism?


What do you call discrimination against ugly people?

Post 5

DelphicOracle

I've seen the term "body fascism" used, though again, that seems to be more with reference to weight/thinness that looks per se.


What do you call discrimination against ugly people?

Post 6

DelphicOracle

That "that" that you just read should have been a "than". Sorry, I appear to be orthographically challenged today....


What do you call discrimination against ugly people?

Post 7

The Cheese

I would say looksism since racism is about race and sexism is about gender.


What do you call discrimination against ugly people?

Post 8

Ormondroyd

Alternatively, you could call it "the fashion industry". If that sounds harsh, try buying large sizes in the latest industry-prescribed garments! smiley - bigeyes


What do you call discrimination against ugly people?

Post 9

mics

Most instances of 'lookism' can be covered under harasment laws.

Mic


What do you call discrimination against ugly people?

Post 10

Potholer

I'm curious about your question - exactly who would you say _feminism_ in general is discriminating against.?

(Take it as read that I accept that if/when taken to ludicrous extremes, some threads of feminism discriminate against anyone of either gender who doesn't buy into their own desperately narrow belief system, but effectively, those people are just philosophical xenophobes, not real feminists.)

Anyway, back to your main point. While I certainly don't deny much unfairness in the media business is down to one form of negative discrimination or another, given the nature of journalism, I wouldn't be at all surprised if much of the time, the root cause is a positive (though no less evil) '-ism' , namely nepotism.


What do you call discrimination against ugly people?

Post 11

Researcher 79523

Perhaps "Estheticism" (or is it "Aestheticism"? There would be no 'A' in french, my first language...)
Since ugliness is defined (subjectively) from the aesthetics of one person, or a group, and that aesthetics is a "neutral" word, like race, and a little more formal than look (for lookism) so it might have a better chance of being accepted by the OED...

But I have to say that human beings innately like good looking people (and things) over ugly people. Racism and sexism are cultural (although rooted in xenophobia) but Aestheticism is more like a reflex, an instinct. I know I'm not a looker, but usually, after I strike up a conversation with people, they don't care much how I look (although I have yet to meet a girl who wants me...) so that their reflex of overlooking me gets overlooked after I have a chance to show my worth.

But I admit that if I were deformed in some way, getting over that would be a lot harder for other people. I know it's hard for me not to stare in those cases...


What do you call discrimination against ugly people?

Post 12

Cheerful Dragon

Neither Richard (my husband) or I would be described as good-looking; we're both decidedly average in appearance. What attracted us to each other was the similarity of our sense of humour and the fact that we hold very similar views on most things.

As for 'deformities', it depends on the deformity, how obvious it is, etc. I try not to stare, but I sometimes wonder if the people concerned would prefer a frank and open approach. I have occasionally met people with 'handicaps' or 'deformities' and I usually want to ask how it happened and how they cope. I never do for fear of hurting their feelings or offending them in some other way. Does any one out there have experience of this? Would it cause offence if I asked such questions?

BTW As far as I'm aware, the English spelling would be Aestheticism as the word 'aesthetics' comes from Latin (I think). The Americans would drop the initial A - they usually do in cases like this (anaemic becomes anemic, haemo-globin becomes hemo-globin, etc.)


What do you call discrimination against ugly people?

Post 13

Woodpigeon

I just re-read my original question and it appears that my phrasing was a little inaccurate. I do not associate feminism with racism or sectarianism. You are right in pointing out the difference. My point was that certain prejudices inherent in some groups in society could equally be applied to attitudes towards "non-beautiful people", but that there was no word for this in English as far as I knew.


What do you call discrimination against ugly people?

Post 14

Anonymouse

Since when the h*ll does a person have to be 'presentable' to be employable? There's some mighty ugly acting folks out there, and if you can get a job that pays that kind of dough with those mugs, what does a machine care?

(Erm.. did anyone guess this is a touchy subject? smiley - winkeye)


What do you call discrimination against ugly people?

Post 15

Cheerful Dragon

Since when did a person have to be smartly dressed to turn out good quality work, if you want to get on to the subject of 'presentable'. I have worked for a number of companies whose 'dress code' banned anything casual (jeans, T-shirt, sweatshirt, trainers) on the grounds that 'customers might come round and we feel our employees should be presentable at all times'. The quality of work produced by myself and my fellow employees was no different from that at places with a more relaxed dress code.

(This is also a touchy subject! smiley - winkeye)

Mind you, I've never worked for a company whose dress code was as restrictive as that at Andersen Consulting is alleged to be. They go as far as to stipulate skirt lengths, and that men with prominent nipples should wear a vest (singlet, not waistcoat) to ensure that they don't show through the man's shirt! At least, that's how I understand the dress code stood a year or two ago. Maybe it's changed since.


What do you call discrimination against ugly people?

Post 16

The Mummy, administrator of the [email protected] Project (A193231) and The Reluctant Dead on the FFFF (A254314)

Well, I've seen some very good points in here. However, why would we need a word for any form of discrimination. Discrimination is disgusting enough as it is, no matter which criteria are used. Let's not try to devide it up in a number of categories, giving it an air of distinction. Yuck!


What do you call discrimination against ugly people?

Post 17

Rickshaw Splat

How about 'Human nature'.


What do you call discrimination against ugly people?

Post 18

Bluebottle

That's being very pessimistic, I fear smiley - sadface Sadly, it may be true.


What do you call discrimination against ugly people?

Post 19

The Mummy, administrator of the [email protected] Project (A193231) and The Reluctant Dead on the FFFF (A254314)

Alas, I believe I must also concur. 'Human Nature' often seems to be simply a synonym for discrimination. But then again, whoever takes to discrimination will also use *any* excuse for doing so. They will even abuse words like 'love', 'peace', 'faith' and 'truth' to make their motives acceptable, and eventually cause only the opposites - being 'hatred', 'war', 'despair' and 'lies' - to rule their territory.


What do you call discrimination against ugly people?

Post 20

Bluebottle

That's the trouble with hiding behind words - it's motives that make the most difference in the end.


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