Friday, June 18, 2010


Gee, Golly!
Is beauty, or isn't beauty a blessing? A necessity? A goal? A time-consuming, costly, full-time job? A part-time job? YES ...

Beauty is more important than, better than luck...? YES ...

Based on my life, luck happens more frequently if you're beautiful -- doors open -- in your career, your love life, there are more possibilities, more opportunities and a better chance for success in whatever you're pursuing.

You look better, you're prettier at age 16 than you are at age 30. So looking young is an advantage. Go for it! Aside from learning how to use makeup, you need to learn what to wear, and have a good assortment of youthful, flattering clothes.

I am not selling this idea. I think it's a fact of life. If you're a girl you learn most of this early -- around age 3 or 4. By age 6 you're on your way to being an expert. You've heard the story of "Snow White." You say, "Mirror mirror on the wall..." and you know that YOU are the most beautiful of all.

Deborah Rhode, Professor of Law at Stanford, author of 20 books, has written a new book: "The Beauty Bias: The Injustice of Appearance in Life and Law.” It's a survey of "appearance" laws and how these laws creates gender prejudice.

Professor Rhode says: “‘It hurts to be beautiful’ is how my mother always explained girdles and high heels and a host of other burdens that have grown over time, but I’ve also learned how much it hurts not to be beautiful ... The impact is much more insidious than a lot of us suppose."

Rhode explains: "The cost of beauty -- in time, money, also in physical and psychological health -- is close to $200 billion." and adds, "Many individuals experience stigma, discrimination, and have eating disorders, depression, and risky dieting and cosmetic procedures." And later, she reminds the reader that all this is compounded by a virtually unregulated beauty and diet industry and soaring rates of elective cosmetic surgery.

Rhode details how unattractive individuals are less likely to be hired and promoted, are assumed less likely to have desirable traits, such as goodness, kindness, and honesty. And she has statistics -- three-quarters of all the women in her survey consider appearance important to their self image, and one-third rank it as the most important factor.

Stating, then proving with examples that discrimination against unattractive women and short men is as widespread as bias based on race, sex, age, ethnicity, religion, and disability, Professor Rhode lays out the case for an America in which appearance discrimination is no longer allowed.

I am shaking my head yes, and moaning silently -- please, please don't promote more legislation, more laws, more governmental supervision -- not now, Professor.

There are urgent laws on the docket in Congress that we need, all of us need right away in order to survive. And let's not forget the laws that affect women, laws that been passed, are still being argued, attacked, and negated. (Mammograms, contraception, sex education, abortion are still hanging on the clothesline -- solved but constantly under siege! And don't forget it took almost 70 years for suffrage to become the law of the land.)

I've written about the pursuit of beauty. Beauty has been a major theme for me in my five novels. And my 3-year-old self is still a voice, a pull, a confusion, a misdirecting force for Em the blogger.. I handle it and a hundred little things that tell me I'm growing old by avoiding the mirror and quoting Aristotle, reminding myself women down through the ages feel what I feel.

He said, 2400 years ago : "Personal beauty is a greater recommendation than any letter of Introduction."

And then, I head for my computer, chanting -- beauty is as beauty does ... beauty is as beauty does.
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