Great story, thank you so much.

If I could add just a bit, and something I’m sure as a psychology student you are already aware of, much of pretty privilege is unconscious and therefore much harder to struggle against.

We can’t stop doing what we are not aware of doing.

Pretty privilege is often not connected to sexual attraction. Teachers who give better grades to attractive children are not generally thought to be sexually attracted to those children. Well-designed studies have shown they are not aware they are giving better grades on the basis of looks. If you asked them, they would tell you they were not, and they would believe what they were saying.

The same can apply in the workplace. Supervisors and managers who would never sexually harass someone might still hold an unconscious bias in favor of conventionally attractive people. And again, to remove the element of sexual attraction, straight male supervisors have been shown to exercise unconscious bias toward attractive men. Studies have shown that as with teachers, they don’t know they’re doing it. If you asked them, they would insist they were not and they would believe they were telling the truth.

Things gets very complicated with employees who work with the public. For example, conventionally attractive salespeople have been shown to make more sales. So a manager’s bias toward a pretty sales rep might be a reflection of societal bias rather than personal bias.

So an important question to ask is what kind of systemic processes can we put in place to combat bias that people are not aware of holding?

How can school evaluation systems become more neutral? How can we make the workplace more fair?

Tough but important issues for all of us.

Written by

Writer. Runner. Marine. Airman. Former LGBTQ and HIV activist. Former ActUpNY and Queer Nation. Polyglot. Middle-aged, uppity faggot.

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