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BOTH SEXES PERPETUATE `LOOKSISM'

I read with delight the front-page article on "looksism" in the May 18 Deseret News. I was a plain child and a homely teenager. Friends of both sexes insisted that I had a "fun personality," but it doesn't take brains or character (which I was blessed with) to notice that the pretty girls were the first choices when boys wanted an evening out, and the first ones to be forgiven of social blunders.

After long talks with male friends, I came to believe that many men would rather fight with a beautiful and ill-tempered woman than have sweet conversation with an ugly but caring woman. Psychobabble labels it insecurity on the men's part; social engineers might call it survival of the fittest. Who cares which? Either way, it carries out far beyond the dating context and into employment, grades, opportunities and privileges.Both sexes perpetuate this form of cultural prejudice, and it is two-edged: Many plain people mistrust the character worth of "pretty people," a misjudgment which can also prove grossly unfair.

If there were a social or political way to eradicate this Hollywood approach to people's worth, I would support it. But there isn't. You can't legislate maturity or insight, and only mature people have the insight to grasp the value beyond appearances, just as great artists understand that ultimate reality is much bigger than the visible plane of being. I regret the shallowness in my own life, and the years I spent undervaluing the weave and layers that comprise the human soul and experience.Rhoda Jessop

Draper