Wednesday, September 10, 2008


Bet you are more familiar with terms like sexism and racism than you are with "lookism". But it’s a real phenomenon.

As commentator John Stossel once wrote in an ABC News article on lookism:

“We like to think of America as a meritocracy. A lot of us think we value people because of what they accomplish, or their character, or generosity, or intelligence — that's what we thought mattered, but are we just putting blinders on?

More often than not it seems qualities other than skill, intelligence or character pay off. Here's an example. Anna Kournikova is ranked 37th in women's tennis, and has never won a major singles championship. So, why is it that Kournikova makes millions more dollars from endorsements than players ranked higher?

So why do I bring this up? This year’s presidential race. Note that I didn’t say the “vice-presidential race.” There is no such thing. But when John McCain added Sarah Palin to the Republican ticket I think it’s safe to say that there are some voters out there who absolutely “fell in love" with her regardless of what her policies, thoughts or experiences are. And they may well vote for the Republicans because of it.
Senator McCain had defended his decision to choose the undeniably very attractive Palin as his running mate based on all kinds of things like her maverick personality, her intelligence, and her ability to “shake up” the status quo.
But you see there are a few more people—men and women, out there who would have probably fit that bill. For example, Linda Lingle would been a great choice. She’s the current governor of Hawaii (pictured here).

But that didn’t happen now did it.

Is the Republican party ready to have its vice presidentail nominee be one “72 year old” heartbeat away from the presidency? I find that hard to believe. (Well that's assuming that the potential new VP would actually be allowed to lead or would just be a puppet--but that's for another blog post.)

Before Palin's election as the governor of Alaska 20 months ago, her resume was so thin that it would have been tossed out of the running for just about any senior executive position in government, industry or academia before interviews were even granted. By the way, attending six colleges in six years is not only a bit uncommon, it’s really makes you wonder what in the heck was always going wrong.

So, we now have a situation where all the Democrats I know think that the Republican ticket is just awful, and all the Republicans I know think it is incredibly awesome.

But i
t’s all those people who don’t quite know yet what they think that I worry about. I just ask with all seriousness that all who fall into this category take a moment to stop and check whether lookism is causing you to not see what is in front of your own eyes. Think about why you have that “falling in love” feeling. Could it be just an “ism”?.

Maybe. But like racism and sexism, this is something that can be understood. And once that’s done, we really can see people through different lenses. Just something to think about. -Monica

1 comment:

Jenni said...

I think he picked her because she was young, dynamic, and an unexpected choice. A rotten choice in my opinion, but I can understand why McCain did it.

Obama, on the other hand. I know I'll be unpopular for saying it, but I was TERRIBLY disappointed with his choice for VP. Biden? Really? I think he made a completely uninspired choice, a choice that basically validates all the republicans who say he doesn't have enough experience. He doesn't have enough experience, so he picked a running mate that does, like Bush did with Cheney.

What about Richardson? Or Tim Kaine? People who would make a real difference in the voting and in our new administration? I think even Hilary would have been a more inspired choice than Biden.

I'm still behind Obama, but part of me thinks if his VP choice had been more inspired, Palin wouldn't be getting near the amount of press that she is.