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Alexa Stieg
WRTC 103 Rhetorical Analysis Essay
15 February 2016
Prof. Fielding

Discrimination Against Unattractive People in the Workplace is Unfair

Deborah L. Rhode argues in her piece that discrimination against unattractive

people in the workplace is a serious problem. Rhodes article is published in Louise I.
Gerdess The Culture Of Beauty, where each new title is an opposing viewpoint topic
focused on beauty in todays society. Alexa Stiegs PSA could be found in a beauty
magazine. The rhetoric found in both Deborah Rhodes article and Alexa Stiegs
complementing PSA relies greatly on ethos, logos, and pathos to portray the upsetting
reality of those who are discriminated against in the workplace based on their looks.

In her opposing viewpoint, Rhodes main claim is that unattractive people are
victimized in the workplace according to their looks and weight. She claims that those
who are not attractive do not receive equal opportunities. Rhode explains reasons for this
type of discrimination are due to individuals not meeting a certain requirement or
expectation. For example, if a swimsuit model is not size 0 she will not be offered the
job. The attended audience consists of both woman and men of society who are
concerned with equal opportunity, beauty or who obtain a job position. The argument is
written in a scholarly style and is organized topically, consisting of 6 topics. The topics

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are, in order, Acceptable Bigotry, More than Just Weight, Confirming the Unattractive
Bias, Reinforcing Stereotypes, Looking at Legal Solutions, and Answering the
Opponents. The components are presented in a logical order by first explaining the issues
and subtly introducing ways and examples of discriminations being overruled.

Deborah Rhode is a credible author on the topic. She is a Stanford University Law
professor, the director of the Center on the Legal Profession and the director of the
Program in Law and Social Entrepreneurship at Stanford University. She is one of the
most frequently cited scholars on legal ethics and has received many awards for her
work. She received her legal schooling from Yale Law School. As a lawyer, she is
educated in what is just and not just. She has been exposed to many lawsuits and because
of her practice with legal ethics; she is a credible authority of the topic.

As for the appeal logos, Deborah Rhode uses numerous pieces of evidence
throughout the entirety of the article. Using a mix of statistics, reported occurrences and
results from studies, Rhode creates a credible and trust worthy support for her claims.
Rhode uses the resulting statistics from a survey by the National Association to Advance
Fat Acceptance, where 62 percent of its overweight female members and 42 percent of
its overweight male members said they had been turned down from a job because of their
weight(Rhode). This statistic strongly supports her claim of people being discriminated
based on attraction in the workplace by showing how much of society is affected by this
discrimination. In addition, Rhode uses an instance where an overweight woman was
denied the job of a bus driver because the company doctor decided she was not up for

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the task after watching her waddle down the hall (Rhode) in 1994. The doctor did not
even run tests on her, he merely judged that she could not perform the task by observing
her physical appearance. Both of these credible examples help support her claim that
discrimination based on physical attraction is wrong.

Towards the end of the article, Rhode uses the appeal of pathos and attempts to
start emotional movement by stating all the civil right progress that happened in the late
mid-late 1900s to today with sex discrimination laws. She moves the readers and
provides reasons why fighting against discrimination of physically unattractive
individuals is worth it in the end by using all of the previous success in history as an
example. Earlier in the article, Rhode uses an example of a 240 lb. aerobics teacher who
was denied a franchise by Jazzercize, which is a national fitness chain. Jazzersize
explained that their instructors are toned and fit, even though the instructor worked out
most days of the week and never had a shortage of students. Later, Rhode brings back up
the example and explains that the instructor, who lives in San Francisco (which has
prohibitions against appearance discrimination), was able to bring a claim against the
company. The company eventually changed their policy. Giving this example allows the
readers to realize that it is possible to get what is just. The examples create emotion
within the reader and creates a feeling of possibility, motivates them to follow their hearts
and to act on what is right, which is ending discrimination based on physical attraction.

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Stop the discrimination based on appearance

Created By Alexa Stieg

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The claim of this PSA is that discrimination based on physical attraction is
ethically wrong. The PSA conveys the purpose to base work-place decisions on a
persons intellect, capability, intelligence and skills and not based on how he/she
physically looks. The intended audience is to all of society who occupies a job. The ad
contains the two photos of a brain and an attractive woman. The brain is captioned with
this is what really matters(Stieg) where as the attractive woman is captioned not
this(Stieg). The text is red where it is a powerful word and point of the message. The
words stop, matters, not, discriminating and physical attractiveness are all
colored red so the viewer can see the importance of the words.

The credibility of the author on the issue is not very high. Alexa Stieg is not an
authority on the issue considering she has only read Deborah Rhodes article on the topic;
therefore, she is only educated on one side of the issue. The authors tone is appropriate
to the purpose. It is a strong voice that resonates with justness and what is right/wrong.
The word choice the author chose is appropriate for the topic, it is simple and easy to
understand for all. The PSA is very professional. It is linked with the non-profit called
Anti-Discrimination Center Inc by stating the nonprofits URL.

Unlike the credibility of the author, the PSA shows a strong appeal of logos. The
claim is very evident with its title and the red colored words. It is supported with a
statistic showing that a high percentage of both men and woman are discriminated against
in the work place based on things that do not matter and that they cannot necessarily
control. The argument portrayed in the PSA is arranged in a logical order. It has a title, a

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small visual explaining that the brain and ones ability is what really matters and not the
way a person looks on the outside. Then it further advises to stop physical discrimination
in the work place, followed by a statistic to prove the argument. At the bottom of the PSA
there is the nonprofit url.

As for pathos, the PSA conveys emotion mainly through the text. Above the two
photos, the caption says that someones intellect is what really matters versus someones
appearance. The word matter is in red to really stress the meaning. This evokes emotion
because it allows the viewer to really emphasize on the things that truly matter in life, and
physical attraction should not be a need in order to get a job that somebody wants. The
statistic arouses emotion by allowing the audience to realize how much of society is
effected by this discrimination. To know that over half of the women of society cannot
potentially follow their dreams because they are not as thin as other women or not as
attractive as other women is very sad. This allows the audience to empathize and want to
make a change.

The verbal argument and the PSA both share qualities and compliment each other
through their differences. The PSA doesnt add any new information that the verbal
argument did not contain, but it does concisely summarize the main claim of the verbal
argument by explicitly saying stop discrimination. On the contrary, the verbal argument
tries to persuade the reader to take the steps to stop discrimination. The PSA deepens the
understanding of the verbal argument by providing the visuals of the brain and the
attractive woman. Providing a picture of the brain paired with the caption directly

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informs the reader that this is what should be considered when a firm is hiring people
versus the picture beside it of an attractive woman. While both are strong and convincing
in different ways, the verbal argument would have to be more persuading because of how
many examples of physical appearance discrimination is stated and because of all the
examples with past success based on defeating discrimination. The verbal argument
evokes motivation within the reader, allowing them to want to conquer the problem while
the PSA just creates sadness and empathy. However, paired with one another, the verbal
argument and PSA create strong and plausible main argument.

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Works Cited

Rhode, Deborah L. "Discrimination Against Unattractive People in the Workplace Is a

Problem." <i>Gale</i>. Greenhaven Press, 2013. Web. Feb.-Mar. 2016.

"Deborah L. Rhode | Stanford Law School." <i>Stanford Law School</i>. Stanford Law
School, n.d. Web. 21 Feb. 2016.

Free Image on Pixabay - Brain, Human, Cortex, Anatomy. 2014. Free Vector Graphic:
Brain, Human, Cortex, Anatomy. Web. 21 Feb. 2016.

<i>Evelina Chiang Pretty Girl with a Sexy Dress</i>. 2010. <i>Wikimedia</i>.

By Chris Willis. Web. 21 Feb. 2016.