It Hurts Not to Be Beautiful

by Angela N. Johnson

“Not only does it hurt to be beautiful, it hurts not to be beautiful” -Rhode

Stanford Law Professor, former president of the Association of American Law Schools, and former chair of the American Bar Association’s Commission on Women in the Profession, Deborah Rhode discusses “beauty discrimination” in her discussion on the price we pay for an undue emphasis on attractiveness.  Aside from money, appearance is the greatest source of women’s dissatisfaction.  “Attractive teachers get higher ratings from students and attractive students get higher intelligence ratings from teachers” (Rhode). Our nation doles out more money in cosmetics than education or social services and cosmetic surgery is the fastest-growing area of medical specialty. So what does this have to do with law and the legal profession?  Discrimination by protected class is illegal; beauty, though a common class of discrimination, is not protected (per recent court rulings in discrimination lawsuits).  According to Rhode, “Good looking lawyers are more likely to be hired, promoted, and earn higher salaries” (Rhode).  Watch Deborah Rhode discuss her research and book, “The Beauty Bias” during her hour-long forum which has been posted by Standford Law on Youtube.

Source Citation: Rhode, Deborah. The Beauty Bias: The Injustice of Appearance in Life and Law 22 October 2010.  Accessed via:


One Comment to “It Hurts Not to Be Beautiful”

  1. Unfortunately (and fortunately) this is true. We live in a very competative world and we tend to live up to these expectations. Image is very important… hence why we dress a certain way in different environments, why we do our hair and look after our skin… it is all about marketing yourself!

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