Thursday, April 10, 2008

Fair


After watching a ‘gay movie’ from Netflix I was making a silent assessment and decided, while the film certainly wasn’t Oscar-worthy, I liked it. I liked its story, characters, and acting.

Then, because I was having this silent conversation with myself in my head, I admitted that I may not have liked the film quite as much if the leading man wasn’t such a smokin’ hottie. That thought caused me to wrestle with the question of whether or not it was fair to like something because you were attracted to a person associated with the thing, or not like something as much because you were not attracted to the person connected to it.

It’s no secret that very often in life people who are generally considered “good looking” get favors and considerations the rest of us do not. I remember watching an episode of 60 Minutes where this theory was tested out. Writers wrote a fake resume and then put a Caucasian-sounding name on it (like Alison Webster) and then used the exact same resume but put an African American-sounding name on it (like Shaniqua Jackson). Both resumes were submitted for several jobs but only ‘Alison Webster’ got the callbacks.

Now, I realize that this doesn’t prove the employers were appearance-biased, it only proves they were race-biased, since they did not see the applicants but made assumptions based on the names. But similar studies have been done where people apply for jobs (such as restaurant workers) in person. The attractive people usually were treated nicer and given more reason from the interviewer to expect a callback than the not-so-attractive applicant. In some cases the attractive applicants had absolutely no experience, but were selected over the not-so-attractive (read: f-ugly) who had recent, relevant experience.

I didn’t like what this said about me. I gave the movie a higher rating because I was attracted to the leading character than I would have if the leading character were not attractive to me. That doesn’t seem fair. Then I began to wonder if I ever treated people differently because of their looks.

Fortunately, I am not in a position where I hire, fire, or professionally evaluate anyone, so I am pretty sure I have not affected anyone’s career. But what about in more subtle areas? Do I tip attractive servers more than unattractive servers who do an equal job? Would I give my dry cleaning business to a dry cleaner whose prices were the same (or even higher) because the guy behind the counter was a hottie?


I’m not sure I can accurately answer these questions consistently, but I do know one thing: This awareness of appearance-based inequity will definitely cause me to pay better attention to the way I treat everyone.

Crush du Jour: Edward Finlay

4 comments:

TankMontreal said...

This post begs the question, "Would people read your words if you didn't feature a Crush du jour every day?"

Call me an old stick-in-the-mud, but I think your essays stand quite nicely on their own. You don't need to clutter the pages with fantasy hunks.

Oh, you do it do add some colour? Well okay then. Carry on.

*wink*

Michael said...

You should post a couple of ugly crush du jours so you feel better about being hyper aware of the appearance factor.

Scot said...

Tank was thinking the same way I was: I was expecting a "Crush deJour" more like this guy

cb said...

And here I thought after that post, the whole "crush du jour" thing was just a wee bit ironic.

The world revolves around appearance. Its how people make tons of decisions.

No problem in that. So, what was the movie??