Lookism is a term that describes the discriminatory treatment of people who are considered physically unattractive. It occurs in a variety of settings, including dating, social environments, and workplaces. Lookism has received less cultural attention than other forms of discrimination (such as racism and sexism) and typically does not have the legal protections that other forms often have, but it is still widespread and significantly affects people's opportunities in terms of romantic relationships, job opportunities, and other realms of life.
The examples and perspective in this article deal primarily with the United States and do not represent a worldwide view of the subject. (December 2012)
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Physical attractiveness is associated with positive qualities; in contrast, physical unattractiveness is associated with negative qualities. Many people make judgments of others based on their physical appearance which influence how they respond to these people. Research on the "what is beautiful is good" stereotype shows that, overall, those who are physically attractive benefit from their good looks: physically attractive individuals are perceived more positively and physical attractiveness has a strong influence on judgment of a person's competence. Furthermore, research shows that on average, attractive individuals have more friends, better social skills, and more active sex lives.