Francesca Minerva: We are all lookist, but no one is blameworthy

Dr Francesca Minerva, FWO research fellow at the University of Ghent, department of philosophy and moral sciences.


Lookism is discrimination against the unattractive, and it is a widespread but little known form of discrimination. I will discuss the role of implicit bias in influencing lookist behaviours. I will argue that discriminatory behaviours against the unattractive are most likely influenced by implicit, rather than by explicit, attitudes. I will take into account a doxastic, a behavioural and an affective account of lookism (borrowing from Neil Levy’s discussion of the role of implicit bias in a doxastic, behavioural and affective account of racism).  I will argue that people who harbour implicit (but non explicit) lookist attitudes are, at least in part, lookist (despite their holding anti-lookist explicit beliefs) but that they are not blameworthy. The fact that lookism is such a poorly known form of discrimination makes it almost impossible for people to acknowledge their lookist attitude and to counter their effects.


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