Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Rhode Tackles "THE BEAUTY BIAS: The Injustice of Appearance in Life and Law" in New Book

•Why, when over 1/6 of the population lacks access to basic health care, are cosmetic procedures the fastest growing medical specialty—with women accounting for 90% of the procedures?
•Why have beauty pageants for girls between the ages of 5-10 evolved into a billion dollar industry?
•Why, in representative surveys, have over half of young women reported that they would prefer to be hit by a car than be fat, and two-thirds would rather be mean or stupid?
Because we live in a culture of severe BEAUTY BIAS.

Deborah L. Rhode -- Legal Momentum Board Member and Ernest W. McFarland Professor of Law and the Director of the Center on the Legal Profession at Stanford University -- explores the answers to these questions, and addresses many other costly, time-consuming, and even deadly trends in THE BEAUTY BIAS: The Injustice of Appearance in Life and Law. In this sobering look at aesthetic demands in America, Rhode surveys the pervasive discrimination against people—many times women—over issues ranging from hairstyle to weight and beyond. "The kind of attention people once gave to the state of their souls," Rhode writes, "they now give to the state of their bodies. And too often, the result is far from constructive."

Drawing from both research and first-hand experience, Rhode tours the cut-that-throat-and-tighten-it effects of beauty obsession. We learn that:
•Attractive students receive more attention from teachers and classmates
•Overweight individuals are often assumed to have poor work habits
•Short males are penalized in hiring, promotion, and earnings
•Minorities spend billions in plastic surgery for Anglo-European features
•Waitresses can be restricted to specific weights, hairstyles and shoes, when it is rarely the case for their male counterparts

THE BEAUTY BIAS is a call to action, demanding we treat appearance "not just as an aesthetic issue, but as a legal and political one as well." Here, Rhode not only points out the flaws in current discrimination law, but offers a plan to temper America's ever-growing and destructive addiction to "beauty."
To learn more about the book, please visit THE BEAUTY BIAS: The Injustice of Appearance in Life and Law.

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