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Lookism and younger workers

by on May 1, 2013

We’ve blogged before on lookism. We’ve described it as a form of discrimination that judges people on their appearance rather than on their skills, requiring them to conform with a particular way of looking in order to be able to work.

Our examples to date have related to older women and in the context of visual media like televsion.

So it’s very interesting to come across this article which reports on research by New York University’s East Asian studies department analysing the rise of plastic surgery among teens in South Korea and concluding that K-pop is the cause. NYU Professor Thomas Looser explains how the expectation that even teenaged K-pop stars will get plastic surgery is an extension of the tightly controlled, slick production associated with the genre.

NYU Professor Olga Fedorenko’s quotes in this piece are a very useful further explanation of lookism. She says: ‘Perfecting one’s appearance via plastic surgery is on the same continuum as maintaining a fit body through exercise. A failure to take care of one’s looks is thus often perceived as a failure of self-discipline and self-care, and thus a signal that the ‘not beautiful’ individual is deserving of lesser social opportunities.’

And it seems that for young and old, lookism exists particularly (but not only) for those working in highly visual media environments.

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