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Studium Generale: Why Beauty Matters | Lookism, Discrimination and Shame - Heather Widdows

When:Th 09-03-2023 20:00 - 21:30
Where:Academy Building, Broerstraat 5, Groningen

The way you look is becoming more important as our culture moves from a text-based culture to an image-based culture. As it does so our value framework changes, such that who we are has become directly connected to how we look, and we seek to change our bodies to improve ourselves. One consequence of this value shift is the rise of lookism; discriminatory treatment by others, and harsher judgements of ourselves. Philosopher Heather Widdows explores the rise of lookism in the context of a culture which is valuing appearance more. She explores this phenomenon, arguing that it is both extensive and corrosive. Those who are unattractive are disadvantaged in the job market, in the classroom and in the courtroom. She charts how lookism, in the practice of body shaming, negatively affects individuals’ self-conception. She draws an analogy with sexism to show that arguments that lookism is ‘normal’ or ‘natural’ should not prevent us from naming lookism as a form of discrimination and seeking to address it through changing attitudes and regulatory intervention.

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