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“Lookism”

Recently, an article was published in the New York Post regarding Peloton’s height requirements for their exercise equipment.  It appears that you must be at least 4′ 11″ to be able to use the bike and that is leaving many people feeling slighted.   When confronted by “shorter” customers the response from the company was “we wish you the best of luck.”  Is that discrimination?

According to the APA, “Discrimination is the unfair or prejudicial treatment of people and groups based on personal characteristics.”  Is that all characteristics?

What if someone gets rich because of a physical trait that you do not have – is that discrimination?  In other words, instead of becoming wealthy because of hard work, intelligence, or entrepreneurship, what if someone is simply the beneficiary of being attractive? Or being tall?

As captured by this tweet from Rob Henderson, this is not mere speculation.

Dan Mitchell come across new research on the economic advantages enjoyed by attractive folks.

Highly attractive women’s salaries are one-tenth higher than the average even at similar education and competence levels, a low attractivity means a loss of 4 percent, according to a study presented by sociologist Petra Anyzova at a workshop.


Based on a job market research project today. …Anyzova said that the results are similar to the findings of other studies and the trend suggests that men are disadvantaged if they display more feminine traits and women are disadvantages if they display more masculine traits.In the case of men, the impact of physical attractiveness on being able to secure a higher socio-economic status is significant.

And here’s another study Henderson tweeted about.

So what are the implications of this research?

Yes, some people are very lucky because of their looks or their height and they wind up with extra income because of those random characteristics, but that shouldn’t be a reason for government-coerced redistribution.

The same thing is true for those fortunate enough to be born into the right families.

Yes, the research suggests that life isn’t fair and there is discrimination.

The real issue is whether this discrimination is real and whether it justifies legal intervention.  I do not doubt that discrimination exist based upon “looks,” but does that mean we should have some sort of legal authority with the power to sue, fine, arrest, or otherwise harass based on whether people claim they didn’t get certain advantages because of their appearance?

Discrimination is real and there are laws against it, but many areas of discrimination are not regulated by law.  If there is true discrimination based on height, looks, or anything else that a person can not control should all of it be regulated by the law?  What is the limit of said laws?

You do not have the right in your private business to not hire certain people, but do you have the right in your private life not to date certain people based on their looks?  Is the NBA discriminatory, because they do not hire a proper percentage of short people?  Is the model industry discriminatory, because they don’t hire a proper percentage of “non-attractive” people?

What is the purpose of law?  Four principal purposes of law are establishing standards, maintaining order, resolving disputes, and protecting liberties and rights. The purpose of the law is not about creating ultimate equality and fairness.  The law and the creation of law will never create a World of fairness – no matter how many laws are created.  While fairness will never be available in all situations, civility and respect can be.  However, civility and respect can not be mandated by law, only given freely by all people to all people.

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