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Voorkant Rhode 'The beauty bias - The injustice of appearance in life and law' Deborah L. RHODE
The beauty bias - The injustice of appearance in life and law
Oxford etc.: Oxford University Press, 2010; 252 blzn.
ISBN-13: 978 01 9537 2878

[Slordigheden in de tekst: Thorstein Veblan (8), Michelle O'Bama (10)]

(ix) Preface

Een persoonlijk verhaal over uiterlijk en werk.

"I’ve always wanted just to blend in, to remain aesthetically unmemorable."(ix)

Maar als je niet veel aandacht aan je kleding besteedt, doen anderen dat in werkkringen als de juridische wereld wel.

"My point in revisiting this ludicrous experience is not to overstate its importance. As a happily married academic, I have been blissfully insulated from serious concerns about appearance. Nothing much turns on how I look. But the event does highlight the double standard of appearance for women and men, and the way that seemingly petty cultural expectations get in the way of women’s lives. If men can manage to be presentable without shoppers, stylists, and related expenditures, why can’t women?"(xiii)

[En blijkbaar is ze zo gevoelig voor wat anderen van haar vinden dat ze elke keer akkoord gaat wanneer collega's haar meenemen om kleren met haar te kopen die in hun ogen wel acceptabel zijn in die context of stylisten op haar afsturen. Dat is een andere manier 'to blend in': geen nee durven zeggen, erbij willen horen, geen conflict durven aangaan. En daarna klaagt ze in het gegeven citaat dat vrouwen lastig gevallen worden met hun uiterlijk. Ze had alleen maar 'nee' hoeven zeggen. En nog zo'n raar normatief uitgangspunt: ze is 'gelukkig getrouwd' en hoeft zich dus niet serieus druk te maken over haar uiterlijk. Uh, wat? Dan hoef je er niet aantrekkelijk uit te zien voor je partner? Dat is alleen als je nog iemand moet vinden?]

Uiterlijk speelt dus een grote rol, voor vrouwen meer dan voor mannen, voor oudere vrouwen meer dan voor oudere mannen. Er is dus een dubbele standaard.

"This double standard leaves women not only perpetually worried about their appearance, but also worried about worrying."(xv)

[Als je aan die standaards wil voldoen, ja. Maar dat is het punt, nietwaar, je moet er niet aan WILLEN voldoen.]

"Why, in a country [de Verenigde Staten uiteraard - GdG] where more than a sixth of the population lacks access to basic health care, are cosmetic procedures the fastest-growing medical specialty, with women accounting for ninety percent of the patients? Why has the contemporary women’s movement made so much progress on other issues of gender inequality but so little headway on unforgiving standards of appearance? The Beauty Bias reflects my search for partial answers and promising responses."(xvi)

(1) Chapter One - Introduction

"Most people believe that bias based on beauty is inconsequential, inevitable, or unobjectionable. They are wrong. Conventional wisdom understates the advantages that attractiveness confers, the costs of its pursuit, and the injustices that result."(2)

"Injustices related to appearance fall along a spectrum, and involve everything from debilitating discrimination and social stigma, to the costs of conformity in time, expense, and physical risk. Even relatively minor inconveniences can cumulatively exact a substantial price, which is partly what launched this book."(3)

Ze beschrijft alle ellende die voortkomt uit het dragen van hoge hakken, maar zelfs de meest intelligente of feministische vrouwen blijven ze dragen. Waarom?

"If men manage to be sexy without help from their footwear, why can’t women? And why have we made so little headway, in law, politics, and public education, in addressing the injustices of appearance?"(5)

[Ik heb het gevoel dat die vraag in duizend variaties terug gaat komen zonder dat er een antwoord op komt. Omdat vrouwen er zo graag bij willen horen dat ze geen 'nee' durven te zeggen? Omdat ze voortdurend met de ogen van mannen naar zichzelf kijken? Omdat ze voortdurend jaloers een competitie aangaan met andere vrouwen?]

(22) Chapter Two - The Importance of Appearance and the Costs of Conformity

"Beauty may be only skin deep, but that is deep enough to confer an unsettling array of advantages. Although most of us learn at early ages that physical attractiveness matters, few of us realize how much.(...) Appearance imposes penalties that far exceed what most of us assume or would consider defensible."(23)

[Voor vrouwen én mannen. Ik hoop dat dat simpele gegeven dadelijk niet verdrinkt in zelfmedelijden ...]

"Is attractiveness something that researchers can adequately identify and measure? Although conventional wisdom holds that beauty is in the eye of the beholder, in fact most beholders agree about the appeal of certain characteristics. (...) But today’s globalization of mass media and information technology has brought an increasing convergence in standards of attractiveness."(24)

"Researchers on appearance have achieved a substantial measure of reliability through a “truth in consensus” method. In essence, subjects rate a photograph or an individual on a scale of attractiveness, and those ratings are then averaged to produce an overall assessment. Such methods yield a strikingly high degree of agreement even among individuals of different sex, race, age, socioeconomic status, and cultural backgrounds."(24)

[Ik betwijfel dat. Alleen de oppervlakkige Patzer en andere Amerikaanse bronnen worden genoemd. De evolutie-ingang word ook al genoemd, al deugt daar niets van. Betrouwbaar? Ik dacht het niet. Americocentrisme more likely ...]

Wat betreft discriminatie op uiterlijk is er een continuum van kenmerken waaraan je zelf niets kunt doen of veranderen en kenmerken die je zelf kunt kiezen en wel kunt veranderen, met van alles ertussin wat minder duidelijk ligt. Volgen allerlei bekende gevolgen van een aantrekkelijk of niet aantrekkelijk uiterlijk.

"By age twelve, girls place greater emphasis on attractiveness than competence, and their frequent dissatisfaction with their looks can result in anxiety, shame, eating disorders, and related dysfunctions."(26)

[Niet alleen bij meisjes.]

"Other factors, particularly age and weight, play a similar role, and sex-based double standards amplify the disadvantages for women.(...) About 60 percent of overweight women and 40 percent of overweight men report experiences of employment discrimination."(28)

[Meer voor vrouwen, minder voor mannen, maar mannen dus ook.]

"Given these consequences, it makes sense for individuals to be concerned about their appearance."(28)

"In this context, enduring satisfaction is more likely to come from being comfortable with who we are than from constantly attempting to upgrade our image. Much of the effort and concern that individuals now invest in their appearance could be better spent on relationships with family and friends, and on paid or volunteer work that leads to personal growth or makes a meaningful social contribution."(30)

Maar het zijn vooral vrouwen die zich druk maken over hun uiterlijk.

"By virtually any measure, appearance is more important to women than to men. Women’s self-worth is more tied to physical attractiveness and their attractiveness matters more in sexual relationships."(30)

"However, recent trends suggest that men are becoming more concerned about some aspects of appearance."(32)

Overzicht van de kosten in geld en tijd die de preoccupatie met het uiterlijk met zich meebrengt. En van de gezondheidsrisico's, zowel fysiek als mentaal.

"Even when advertising is not misleading, its expense often inflates the price of products well beyond what their contents justify. Over ninety percent of the cost of cosmetics goes to packaging and marketing; the remainder goes to ingredients that are often of minimal value."(34)

(45) Chapter Three - The Pursuit of Beauty

"Underlying that quip are more serious questions about where our preoccupation with attractiveness comes from and what costs it imposes. To what extent are current standards a function of deeply rooted sexual drives, market forces, technological advances, or media pressures? Only by understanding what fuels our concerns about appearance can we effectively challenge their adverse consequences."(45)

De sociobiologische evolutionistische benadering wordt eerst beschreven.

"From this perspective, our aesthetic preferences are to large extent hardwired, based on circuits in the brain shaped by millions of years of sexual selection."(45-46)

"Yet these frameworks cannot account for variations across time and culture in other perceptions of attractiveness. Weight is the most obvious example."(47)

[Ze is in ieder geval kritischer dan ik verwachtte, maar nog lang niet genoeg.]

"Appearance, and efforts to enhance it, serve a range of functions apart from reproduction. The urge to improve on nature is common to every known society; cosmetics have been in use for at least forty thousand years. Adornment often expresses aesthetic, religious, and political values. It reflects and reinforces socioeconomic status and can signify group identity or individual resistance to cultural norms."(48)


"Multiple social and economic forces have reinforced the importance of appearance. Among the most significant have been the market, technology, the media, and advertisements. Taken together, they lay the foundations for discrimination based on appearance and the personal costs that it imposes."(48)

Ze worden na elkaar doorgenomen. Eerst de krachten van de markt.

"The rise in consumer-oriented cultures has increased the significance of appearance as a source, as well as signal, of wealth.(...)
The rise of department stores, mass marketing, and shopping malls helped reinforce a consumer ideology that made attractiveness seem a matter of choice, not chance, and provided opportunities for recreation and female bonding."(49)

[Maar hoe dan? Waarom sloegen die verkooppraatjes aan? En als het echt 'de vrije markt' is kunnen vrouwen als consumenten toch ook weigeren om producten te kopen? Waarom dus gaan ze mee in die consumentenideologie? Waarom - concreet - zou je je laten aanpraten dat rimpels 'misvormingen van je gezicht' zijn?]

"In recent decades, the beauty industry has widened its scope and increasingly targeted girls and men. Female adolescents have been a particularly inviting market because most are unhappy with their bodies and vulnerable to media messages."(51)

[Ja, maar opnieuw: waarom zijn ze ongelukkig met hun lijf? Waarom zijn ze kwetsbaar voor de boodschap van de media in plaats van tevreden te zijn met zichzelf?]

Voorbeelden van de invloed van de 'beauty industry':

"By the early twenty-first century, about half of six- to nine-year-olds were wearing lipstick, around two-thirds of preteens wanted to lose weight, the number of adolescents receiving breast implants had quadrupled over the preceding decade, and over 90 percent of female teenagers reported shopping as their favorite activity. A hot-selling t-shirt for teens captures prevailing priorities. The slogan blazoned across the chest reads: “Why have brains when you can have these?”
Moreover, aggressive marketers no longer wait until adolescence. Thongs, makeup, and “Jail Bait” T-shirts are available for seven-year-olds; “youth spas” offer “minifacials” for six-year-olds; Charles Dior makes lace bras for preschoolers; a $3 billion dollar industry capitalizes on the princess craze; and makeover and “Darling Diva” parties target girls beginning at age four, offering makeup, hairstyles, and manicures."(51)

[Dat is natuurlijk wel de VS, ik denk niet dat het in Europa zo erg is.]

"Although male products still account for less than 10 percent of the global grooming market, they represent a growth industry particularly among younger and gay consumers. Men’s representation among cosmetic surgery patients has also increased.(...) Marketers are also peddling unrealistic body images for boys: GI Joe has grown increasingly muscular"(52)

Wat betreft de technologie: er zijn meer mogelijkheden om je uiterlijk te verbeteren en dus is er meer vraag naar. Voorbeeld: cosmetische ingrepen. De media spelen er een grote rol in, met name advertenties zijn van grote invloed.

"The media have also had increasing influence on both the importance and definition of attractiveness. Although publications for women long included tips for “beautifying” products, their audience expanded significantly with the rise of women’s magazines in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. In these magazines, the lines between advice and advertisements have often blurred."(54)

"Fashion, figures, food, and furnishings have been the main staples of women’s magazines, and have often yielded ironic juxtapositions."(55)

"Beauty pageants are another media staple. The tradition is longstanding."(56)

"Initially condemned as “indecent and exploitative,” many pageants have consciously cultivated an image of wholesome respectability. Miss America competitions carefully monitor contestants’ morals as well as attire, including the precise amount of skin (in inches) that their bathing suits can reveal and, in some states, the exact number of pounds that they can gain without losing their crown (two for Miss Texas). To combat critiques of sexual objectification, Miss America pageants began awarding scholarships, changed the label of their swimsuit contest to a “physical fitness” competition, and demanded displays of “talent” as well as “issue platforms” demonstrating a commitment to some widely accepted social cause. However, many contests resist this facade."(56-57)

"In the United States, opportunities for competition begin at startlingly early ages, and have spread to countless other educational and employment settings. Since the 1960s, a billion-dollar youth industry has emerged, involving an estimated three thousand pageants for girls between five and ten years old. Over the last decade, these events have become more professionalized and more sexualized."(57)

[Niemand dwingt je in je lijf te laten snijden. Niemand dwingt je om die tijdschriften met al hun oppervlakkigheid en misleiding te kopen. Niemand dwingt je om mee te doen met schoonheidswedstrijden. Toch doen vrouwen dat en maken ze dat hun dochters dat doen. Waarom?]

"For men, cultural expectations have traditionally been less demanding. However, male concerns have recently been increasing, partly in response to media messages."(59)

"Studies of film, television, and print media repeatedly find that older women are grossly underrepresented and rarely unreconstructed."(61)

"A final example of the media’s preoccupation with appearance and sexual double standards involves the coverage of female athletes. Those who are attractive receive vastly disproportionate attention, and much of it highlights sex rather than sports."(64)

(69) Chapter Four - Critics and Their Critics

"Barry observes: I’m not saying that men are superior. I’m just saying that you’re not going to get a group of middle aged men to sit in a room and apply cosmetics to themselves under the instruction of Brad Pitt in hopes of looking more like him. Men would realize that this task was pointless and demeaning. They would find some way to bolster their self-esteem that did not require looking like Brad Pitt. They would say to Brad: “Oh YEAH? Well what do you know about LAWN CARE, pretty boy?” (...)
Barry joins a long line of critics, ranging from conservative Christians to radical feminists, who have mocked or denounced cosmetic pursuits.(...)
Yet that position has attracted its own share of critics who invoke feminist principles to justify their cosmetic choices."(69-70)

[Wat die Barry zegt zeg ik ook. Ik zeg niet dat mannen niet gevoelig zijn voor oordelen over hun uiterlijk, maar ook al zijn ze onzeker over hun uiterlijk: ze zullen over het algemeen niet de weg inslaan die vrouwen wel inslaan. Dus weer de vraag: waarom?]

"Market forces, however, kept putting temptation within evereasier reach, and by the early twentieth century, much of the stigma surrounding cosmetics had eroded."(72)

[Dit soort taalgebruik is misleidend. 'Marktwerking' suggereert iets los van mensen, maar er is helemaal geen markt los van mensen, er zijn alleen maar mensen die verkooppraatjes houden en andere mensen die die verkooppraatjes geloven. Maar waarom zou je dat doen? Om te verleiden, om een baan te versieren zegt Rhode.]

Noch de eerste feministische golf met zijn 'dress reform' (tegen corsetten en zo) noch de tweede (met zijn bra-verbranding etc.) had veel succes.

"The public reception was not unlike the response to early dress reformers. Feminists were seen as “dowdy,” “frumpy” “moralizers,” who hated men because they could not attract them. Because radicals gained disproportionate media attention, the early feminist movement in general, and its critique of beauty in particular, was often dismissed even by those who accepted most of its other egalitarian principles. In The Sceptical Feminist, Janet Radcliffe Richards voiced a common concern: “The image of the movement comes from the individuals in it. If large numbers of them are unattractive the movement as a whole is bound to be so too.”"(73)

"Indeed, over the last quarter century, as the feminist movement has grown increasingly fragmented, different subcultures have differed sharply on matters of appearance."(74)

"Despite their other differences, many contemporary feminists have shared certain concerns about appearance along the lines set out in chapter 2. The most obvious is cost [niet alleen in termen van geld bedoeld - GdG]. (...)
Prevailing beauty ideals also objectify women."(74-75)

[Als je reacties leest van feministes, dan zie je vaak het woord 'dwang' / 'gedwongen' en soortgelijke termen opduiken die vrouwen als een slachtoffer neerzetten. Erg gemakkelijk om het zo te benaderen. Ik vind het denigrerend naar vrouwen zelf toe: alsof ze niet in staat zijn de verantwoordelijkheid voor hun eigen leven te nemen.]

"To many contemporary feminists, what underlies such follies are complex cultural forces in which women no less than men have a substantial stake. Over two-thirds of college students majoring in advertising are women, and they are well represented among the leaders of cosmetic, fashion, weight-reduction, and modeling industries."(76)

[Dat klinkt al een stuk genuanceerder. Vrouwen spelen dus zelf ook een grote rol in het handhaven van het schoonheidsideaal waarvan vrouwen zelf zo'n last zeggen te hebben. Ook professioneel dus. Maar Rhode stapt er in dezelfde alinea al weer overheen: vrouwen worden in die positie geplaatst bla bla, maar de woordjes 'ook door hun eigen seksegenoten' zie ik er niet meer bijstaan.]

"Many women who recognize beauty norms as oppressive feel humiliated by the inability to escape them. They are ashamed for feeling ashamed."(77)

"One female patient expressed a common view: “I wish I could have said ‘To hell with it. I am going to love my body the way it is,’ but I had tried to do that for fifteen years and it didn’t work.” For these women, the goal has been not beauty but normalcy — fixing an aspect of their appearance that they “just really hate.”"(78)

[Heel zielig. Wat maakt die 'inability', die schaamte dan zou ik willen weten. Waarom werkte het niet om jezelf te accepteren? Waarom zo graag normaal zijn en er bij willen horen? Waarom gaat een vrouw zich ineens beter voelen wanneer ze een cosmetische ingreep heeft verricht en is dat wel een goede reden om je beter te voelen? Rhode gaat de hele tijd voorbij aan dat soort vragen. En wat natuurlijk ook opduikt is de opmerking van vrouwen dat ze er zelf voor gekozen hebben, net zoals de vrouwen die hoofddoeken dragen. ]

"While women remain divided over cosmetic practices, they often share discomfort about the culture that produces them."(80)

"In one study of makeup in the workplace, virtually all the participants believed that they had a choice about whether to use cosmetics. But they also believed that women who decline to wear makeup “do not appear healthy, heterosexual or credible.”"(81)

[Dat is nu wat ik bedoel: er is geen dwang, maar toch slagen vrouwen er in zichzelf wijs te maken dat het nodig is om makeup te dragen.]

"Many women who self-consciously opt for conformity remain unapologetic about their choice."(82)

[Dat 'mag', maar dan moet je niet klagen over dwang et cetera.]

"Can’t we criticize appearance-related practices without criticizing the women who find them necessary? Underlying these questions are deeper, more vexed issues of false consciousness, free “choice,” and the “authentic” or “autonomous” self."(84)

[Is er een speciale reden dat we vrouwen niet op de vingers mogen tikken vanwege inconsequent gedrag, verkeerde keuzes, afwijking van verdedigbare principes? Lijkt me niet. Waarom mogen we vrouwen die make-up en zo willen dan niet hardop bekritizeren?]

"By contrast, most contemporary feminist theorists, influenced by postmodern perspectives, see no universal, uncontested standpoint from which consciousness can be declared “false” or identities considered “authentic.” Yet they also emphasize the link between the personal and political. Choices are never wholly “free” or solely “personal.” Cultural practices inevitably shape individuals’ preferences, and their individual responses in turn help sustain or alter those practices."(85)

"Whatever their other disagreements on these issues, most women appear to share certain core values. Appearance should be a source of pleasure, not of shame. Individuals should be able to make decisions about whether to enhance their attractiveness without being judged either politically incorrect or professionally unacceptable."(87)

"So how do we get from here to there? There are no easy answers, but refocusing the feminist critique is an obvious place to start. It has not helped feminists’ political agenda or public image to denounce widely accepted beauty practices and women who won’t get with the program. Greater tolerance is in order, along with recognition that women are not all similarly situated in their capacity for resistance. Those who write about women’s issues need to recognize that not everyone has the luxury of being able to say “screw you” to the cosmetics industry.(...)
Focusing attention on personal decisions rather than collective practices asks too much of individuals and too little of society."(88)

[Heel aardig en vriendelijk. Maar ook gevaarlijk als benadering. Het kan gauw uitmonden in postmodern pseudotolerant gezeur. Begrijpen is nog niet rechtvaardigen. Context maakt dat je individuen beter begrijpt in hun (verkeercde) beslissingen, maar kan niet de rechtvaardiging zijn van het laten vallen van principes, kan alleen maar duidelijk maken waarom iemand er niet aan kan of wil voldoen.]

"If the goal is altering current priorities, it makes sense to concentrate critiques less on individual decisions and more on the culture that encourages them."(89)

[Dat lijkt me weer wel waar.]

(91) Chapter Five - The Injustice of Discrimination

"The costs and disadvantages associated with appearance raise two fundamental questions. Are any of these consequences unjust? If so, do they call for some legal remedy or other societal response? In considering these questions, it often makes sense to distinguish among various aspects of appearance. At one end of the spectrum are physical attributes that are difficult or impossible to change such as height and facial features. Although sex, race, and ethnicity are generally considered to be such immutable traits, they implicate identity in a more fundamental sense than other characteristics and are therefore considered separately in most discussions and policies concerning discrimination. At the other end of the continuum are purely voluntary characteristics involving fashion and grooming.(...)
In general, American law prohibits discrimination on the basis of race, sex, ethnicity, religion, age, and disability, but not appearance."(92)

[Inderdaad is ook leeftijd een kernmerk waaraan je als individu weinig kunt doen. Op p.95 wordt het ineens niet meer in de kop genoemd, maar gelukkig wel in de tekst.]

"The clearest argument for banning discrimination based on appearance is that it offends principles of equal opportunity and individual dignity."(93)

"Discrimination on the basis of appearance carries both individual and social costs. It undermines self-esteem, diminishes job aspirations, and compromises merit principles.(...) Characteristics such as attractiveness that may justify decisions in one sphere, such as intimate personal relationships, are unjust when they spill over to other spheres, such as education or employment."(94)

"In short, discrimination based on appearance unfairly stigmatizes individuals based on factors that often are at least partly beyond their control."(95)

[Het vervelende is alleen dat niet altijd valt uit te maken of iets op het vlak van uiterlijk werkelijk 'buiten je controle ligt'. De kleren die je kiest? Hoe en of je je opmaakt? Dik-zijn? Heb je daar echt geen invloed op? Tuurlijk wel. Maar dat is niet het criterium. Die zaken zeggen weinig tot niets over iemands competenties en dus mag het daar bijv. bij sollicitaties niet over gaan. Tenzij je natuurlijk weer meeweegt dat je met de kandidaat ook dagelijks moet omgaan en dat jij en je collega's geen zin hebben in iemand die dik is of wat ook. Lastig.]

"Like many other forms of discrimination, prejudice based on appearance compounds the disadvantages of already disadvantaged groups, particularly those defined by class, gender, race, ethnicity, age, disability, and sexual orientation.(...)
Minorities are also held to idealized norms that favor Anglo-American features and to grooming requirements that are unevenly applied."(96)

"Appearance discrimination also compounds gender inequality by reinforcing a double standard and double bind for women. As prior discussion noted, female employees face stricter standards than male employees and can suffer discrimination for being either too attractive or not attractive enough. (...) Although some women benefit from their beauty, it is not a stable form of self-esteem. Nor does it generally produce the same social benefits as qualities related to merit.(...)
Female employees also disproportionately suffer from grooming standards that sexualize the workplace and focus attention on their looks rather than their competence."(96-97)

"A final objection to discrimination based on appearance is that it restricts individuals’ right to self-expression."(99)

"The same is true for other appearance-related choices that are not necessarily tied to racial or ethnic identity. Hair length, facial hair, earrings, tattoos, and piercings have been such issues, and they have accounted for longstanding controversies."(100)

"To some commentators, however, when prejudice based on appearance involves seemingly voluntary characteristics, such as weight, it appears less offensive than other forms of discrimination."(104)

[Dat hangt er dus van af of het 'voluntary' is en wat je vrijwillig noemt. Ik denk dat we niet moeten willen ontkennen dat veel mensen alleen maar dik zijn omdat ze te veel eten of dat te dik zijn uiteindelijk wel degelijk negatieve gevolgen voor iemands gezondheid kan hebben waar andere mensen financieel voor opdraaien. Maar het is niet in alle gevallen zo en dat moet dus duidelijk zijn. Bovendien betekent dat ook niet dat discrimnatie op basis van uiterlijk gerechtvaardigd is waar uiterlijk er niet toe doet.]

"A related business concern is that appearance will influence an employee’s credibility and an employer’s image.(...)
Yet concerns about employee credibility often reflect more about the prejudices of the employer than about the behavior of customers or patients."(105)

"For some goods and services, however, employees’ attractiveness can be an effective selling point, and part of a strategy to “brand” the seller through a certain look."(106)

"Moreover, the reasons why antidiscrimination law generally does not permit customer preferences as a defense apply equally to bias based on appearance even if it does not involve race, sex, age, or disability. Those preferences generally reflect and reinforce precisely the attitudes that society is seeking to eliminate."(106)

"This approach is not without difficulty in some contemporary contexts involving appearance-related discrimination. For example, what is the “essence” of the job for television newscasters? How much does attractiveness matter and what if viewers set higher standards for women than men? (...) A true commitment to equal opportunity argues for rejecting customer preferences as a defense except where appearance is essential to the occupation, such as modeling, acting, or sexual entertainment. In contexts where the necessity of attractiveness is open to dispute, employers should have to demonstrate, not simply assert its importance."(107)

"A final cluster of arguments against prohibiting appearance discrimination is pragmatic. To many commentators, the preference for attractiveness appears natural and immutable in a way that other forms of bias do not. Some cite sociobiological explanations reviewed in chapter 2. Attempting to ban discrimination based on such deeply rooted preferences strikes these observers as impractical and imprudent. In their view, “some aspects of what we consider physically attractive are . . . hardwired. . . . The taste for physical beauty is unfair. But legal intervention is unlikely to eliminate it.”"(109-110)

[Dat is een benadering die weinig ziet in de culturele invloed op wat we aantrekkelijk vinden.]

"Although such concerns are not without force, neither do they justify the prevailing tolerance for appearance discrimination in contemporary legal doctrine and social practices. An initial difficulty lies in critics’ assumption that prejudice based on appearance is more natural and harder to eradicate than other forms of bias. In fact, considerable evidence suggests that in-group favoritism—the preferences that individuals feel for those who are like them in salient respects such as race, sex, and ethnicity—are also deeply rooted."(112)

"Our prejudices run deep, and while law can never eliminate them entirely, it can do more to address at least the worst abuses."(116)

(117) Chapter Six - Legal Frameworks

Vroeger waren er al veel voorschriften voor hoe je je hoorde te kleden, en zo verder, vanuit het idee fatsoen, decorum, klasse.

"Contemporary defenses of decorum are more limited, but have not entirely vanished."(117)

Vaak wordt beweerd dat er door het invoeren van het idee 'discriminatie op uiterlijk' een stortvloed van rechtszaken zal ontstaan die het bedrijfsleven schade zal berokkenen.

"Yet such criticisms have proceeded without factual foundation. To assess their validity, this chapter offers the first systematic research on how appearance-related protections actually work. Its review of claims under both general antidiscrimination statutes, and more specific laws on appearance, undercuts critics’ apocalyptic assertions."(118)

Voorbeelden van dat de huidige wetgeving [de voorbeelden die ze hier geeft betreffen voornamelijk de V.S.; zie verderop voor voorbeelden betreffende Australië en Europa - GdG] niet voldoet.

"The problem with this prevailing approach to appearance regulation is not only that judges often seem clueless about the disproportionate demands that many codes impose on women. The difficulty is also that a framework comparing male and female burdens fails to capture all of what makes these regulations objectionable."(121)

"Any informed judgment about the law’s capacity to cope with appearance discrimination requires a better understanding of how explicit prohibitions play out in practice. To that end, the following analysis offers the first systematic research concerning laws prohibiting such discrimination."(125)

"No jurisdiction has experienced the flood of frivolous litigation and business backlash that critics have predicted."(126)

"A number of factors may account for the lack of litigation and complainants’ low success rates. One is that those subject to the law are sufficiently aware of its reach that they avoid discriminating on the basis of height or weight, or at least expressing those factors as a reason for their actions. Another explanation is the difficulty of proving that bias is responsible for substantial damages except in egregious cases, and those may well settle without formal action. In cases where height or weight may be one, but not the only, basis for allegedly unfair treatment, courts tend to side with defendants."(133)

"Yet the cases in which the plaintiffs at least got an opportunity for trial illustrate the kind of inequitable treatment that justifies a ban on appearance discrimination."(134)

"A comprehensive search revealed only one other nation with an explicit prohibition on discrimination based on appearance."(134)

En dat was Australië. Daar ongeveer hetzelfde beeld als in de V.S.

"Several factors may account for the infrequency of complaints and decisions. One is the difficulty of finding legal representation. Very little legal aid or pro bono assistance is available for discrimination claims. Parties who manage to find help and file a complaint are subject to conciliation and mediation processes that are likely to resolve meritorious grievances."(135)

Het komt dus vaak niet tot rechtszaken en het succes ervan is gering. Verrvolgens bekijkt Rhode de wetgeving en ervaring in Europa.

"It is difficult to draw definitive lessons from other countries’ approach to appearance discrimination because almost no research and few decisions are published on the issue. The most analogous comparisons are with Europe, where antidiscrimination and privacy laws have some application to appearance claims. European Union law protects against bias based on race, ethnicity, sex, sexual orientation, gender, age, religion, and disability, but not appearance. However, there are some reported challenges to grooming codes as a violation of privacy or gender equality.
Courts have generally interpreted European sex discrimination law as applied to appearance along similar lines as American courts. Sex-specific grooming codes are permissible as long as their overall effect is comparable for men and women and the regulations have a reasonable business justification."(137)

Ook daar worden werkgevers - meer in de UK, minder in Frankrijk en Duitsland - snel tegemoet gekomen in hun opstelling dat bepaalde uiterlijke kenmerken slecht zijn voor het bedrijf. Diepgravender vragen - zoals: wat is het nut van bijvoorbeeld jas en stropdas in een baan waarbij er geen contact is met buitenstaanders - worden nooit gesteld.

"Yet the scope that European courts and legal officials allow for individual grooming decisions is not without significant limits."(138)

"Yet the low incidence of legal victories is not unique to appearance-related law; it is common in other areas of discrimination. Relatively few victims of bias file complaints, and only a tiny percentage successfully litigate their claims."(140)

"One final area in which law could do more to address appearance-related concerns involves fraudulent beauty and weight-loss advertising claims. As previous chapters have noted, these claims both encourage preoccupation with attractiveness and delude purchasers about what will secure it.(...)
In recent years, an increasing volume of bogus promises and the medical risks of ineffectual dieting have prompted at least some initiatives."(141)

"Although consumer-protection law in theory provides remedies for fraudulent claims, in practice it is highly ineffective. Seldom do purchasers have sufficient damages to make challenges worth-while."(142)

"The gaps in existing legal frameworks suggest several directions for reform, discussed more fully in chapter 7. One obvious strategy is to enact or amend civil rights laws to ban discrimination based on appearance. In the absence of such legislative action, courts and enforcement agencies could interpret existing statutes to provide more protection from appearance-related bias. Sex discrimination law could be read to strike down dress, grooming, and weight restrictions that enforce traditional stereotypes. Constitutional and statutory provisions could be more broadly and consistently extended to protect expression of religious values and cultural identity. Disability statutes could be interpreted to ban discrimination based on weight regardless of whether it involves extreme obesity with demonstrable physiological causes."(143)

[Ik weet niet, hoor. Ik heb op het moment het gevoel dat het - waar dat speelt / mogelijk is - iemand niet verantwoordelijk houdt voor een aantal zaken zijn of haar eigen uiterlijk betreffende. Het bevordert slachtoffergedrag, denk ik. En daar hebben we door alle juridificering al genoeg van. Bovendien zijn er meer universele redenen om het gedrag en uiterlijk van individuele mensen te willen veranderen. Ik vind het bijvoorbeeld een slechte zaak wanneer religieuze elementen als hoofddoek of wat ook getoond mogen worden in publieke beroepen. Religie is niet iets waar we ruimte voor moeten willen maken, is iets persoonlijks hooguit. Dikheid moet zo veel mogelijk tegengegaan worden omdat dat simpelweg niet gezond is voor wie dan ook op den duur.]

"Finally, more regulation and enforcement could target fraudulent claims and unsafe products involving appearance. Government agencies need more authority to regulate cosmetics, as well as additional resources and stiffer sanctions to combat misleading claims. Consumers should have more financial incentives to hold manufacturers accountable; triple damage awards and attorneys’ fees might deter companies that now peddle ineffectual products to vulnerable purchasers."(143)

[Daar ben ik het wel helemaal mee eens. Ik zou nog veel verder willen gaan. Heel de marketing / reclamewereld zou moeten worden aangepakt, alle cosmetische ingrepen verboden tenzij om medische redenen, enz. Het betekent als zo vaak de radicale bestrijding van het kapitalisme.]

(145) Chapter Seven - Strategies for Change

"No one advocating change in attitudes toward appearance should be naive about all that stands in the way. The importance of attractiveness is deeply rooted, and the economic stakes in its pursuit are enormous. But the costs of appearance discrimination are also considerable, and we have by no means reached the limit of what can be done to address them."(146)

Er is weinig overeenstemming over het doel wat nagestreefd zou moeten worden.

"The research summarized in preceding chapters suggests three principal objectives for reform. One should be to promote more attainable, healthy, and inclusive ideals of attractiveness. Our aspirational standards should reflect greater variation across age, weight, race, and ethnicity, and our workplace grooming requirements should reflect greater tolerance for diversity and self-expression. A second goal should be to reduce discrimination and stigma based on appearance, and to combat the double standards and sexualized grooming codes that impose disproportionate costs on women. A third objective should be to encourage lifestyles that place more emphasis on health, rather than simply appearance, and to create a social environment that supports them."(147)

"An employer’s interest in maintaining a particular image deserves recognition, but it needs to be balanced against employees’ expressive interests."(147)

Individuen kunnen tegen de sociale druk ingaan, kinderen anders opvoeden, etc.

"Finally, individuals can engage in all the standard tactics of political activism that pressure businesses, the government, and the media to take issues concerning appearance seriously."(149)

"On the relatively rare occasions when a critical mass of individuals has registered concern, their complaints have produced results. Marketers have pulled ads, employers have changed policies, and local governments have passed legislations. Activists have also enlisted others in their protests and reduced their own risks of unhealthy behavior."(150)

[Misschien, maar het kapitalisme bleef bestaan als de voornaamste oorzaak van veel van de genoemde ellende.]

"Businesses that contribute to appearance-related problems should also assume more responsibility for solutions."(151)

[Ja, maar dat doen ze onder het kapitalisme dus niet.]

"The media can play a similarly constructive role, not only by reinforcing more diverse and healthy cultural ideals, but also by providing greater coverage of appearance discrimination and more responsible treatment of weight-related issues."(151)

[Maar ook hier geldt dat ze dat niet zullen doen binnen een kapitalistisch systeem.]

"Finally, the food and cosmetics industries could do more to promote health and reduce costs associated with appearance. At a minimum, they should supply more complete and accurate product information."(153)

[Maar opnieuw ... dat zullen ze niet doen. Het bedrijfsleven en de media zullen hooguit de scherpe randjes afslijpen van hun producten, bijvoorbeeld als er gewonden vallen en er meer regulatie komt waaraan ze zich zullen moeten aanpassen. Zelfregulatie werkt nauwelijks in een kapitalistische systeem. En fundamenteel zullen ze dus niet anders doen.]

"As chapter 6 indicated, sanctions for deceptive claims should be strengthened, and enforcement and public education resources should be increased. Individuals need to become more aware of the serious risks, low probabilities of success, and dubious health-related claims of many appearance-related purchases. A second priority would be to expand prohibitions on discrimination based on appearance."(154)

"In the United States, efforts along these lines have bumped up against strong countervailing financial interests. Many cash-strapped schools have made profitable arrangements with fast-food and vending companies in order to support valuable educational programs."(156)

[Precies. Zie Naomi Klein's boeken. Alle publieke mogelijkheden om iets goeds te doen worden door neoliberale regeringen wegbezuinigd, waarna het bedrijfsleven mag instappen om voor veel geld slechte dingen te doen.]

"More research about what works, or fails to work, in practice is necessary to craft effective policy initiatives."(159)

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