Appearance-Based Discrimination in Corporate America

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When the issue of discrimination materializes, the common types that come to mind are class, race, and gender discrimination. However, appearance-based discrimination in the workplace is a growing issue in America. Discrimination based on appearance is different from other forms in that it can be used to discriminate against a wide range of people. From gender, race, and sex, to social class, age, and weight, every person has a physical appearance, which in turn makes every person a candidate for being judged. Whether intentional or unintentional, the physical appearances of workers from all walks of life are being subjected to corporate scrutiny. When deciding who should represent their companies, American employers tend to focus on a person’s ability to conform and outward appearances rather than a person’s skill level. One such instance has already led to two lawsuits being filed against the corporate giant Abercrombie & Fitch. Discussed in Paula Rothenberg’s book Race, Class and Gender in the United States, Carol Vu uncovers Abercrombie’s vision of their ideal employee. People of African American, Filipino, or Latino descent were unable to provide the stereotypical all-American look that Abercrombie typically expects their workers to exude. It is no coincidence that these minority groups also comprise the bottom tier of the American Ethnic Hierarchy. There is also a direct correlation between the minority groups who make up the bottom tier of the American Ethnic Hierarchy also belonging to a substantially poorer economic class than the Euro-Americans in the top two tiers (Marger 308-310). This is another contributing factor leading companies like Abercrombie to hire a mainly white staff. If the higher economic cl... ... middle of paper ... ... Works Cited Darlin, Damon. "Extra Weight, Higher Costs." Nytimes.com. The New York Times Company, 2 Dec. 2006. Web. . Ehrenreich, Barbara. Bait and Switch: The (Futile) Pursuit of the American Dream. 1st ed. New York City, N.Y: Henry Holt, 2006. Kindle Ebook. Marger, Martin N. Social Inequality: Patterns and Processes. 5th ed. New York, N.Y: McGraw-Hill, 2011. Print. Tahmincioglu, Eve. "Fat Chance: It's Not Easy for Obese Workers." Msnbc.com. Msnbc Digital Network, 26 Jan. 2007. Web. . Vu, Carol N. "Abercrombie Settles Class-Action Suit." Race, Class, and Gender in the United States: An Integrated Study. By Paula S. Rothenberg. 8th ed. New York, N.Y: Worth, 2010. 253-55. Print.
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