Économie et Statistique n° 393-394 - 2006Life Story survey

Economie et Statistique
Paru le : 01/11/2006

Youth: discrimination based on appearance

Olivier Galland

People sometimes feel that their rights have been violated or their dignity attacked in some of their social relationships. This is most often reported by young people. Young people are much more sensitive to different forms of ostracism than adults, and are particularly sensitive to attacks on their self-image: they complain more of humiliation ­ mockery and insults ­ than injustice or rights violation. Young people, particularly large girls and thin boys, believe that their physical appearance (weight, height and look) is the main reason for the ostracism that they experience. Yet, whatever their body size, young girls are more sensitive to this kind of ostracism than boys, and experiencing it reduces their chances of developing personal relationships. Racism is another form of discrimination linked to appearance. One in four young people of non-European origin declare being a victim of ill treatment due to their foreign origins. The intensity of this feeling of discrimination varies according to origin and gender. Young immigrants recently arriving from sub-Saharan Africa and Asia and men of North African origin feel particularly stigmatised. Whilst cultural factors (language skills, religious practice, sense of national identity) increase the probability of a person declaring having been a victim of discrimination, they do not completely explain it. Regardless of their cultural behaviour, young victims of professional exclusion or urban segregation feel overexposed to racist discrimination.

Economie et Statistique

No 393-394

Paru le : 01/11/2006