Date of Award

Spring 1991

Document Type



Communication Studies

First Advisor

Harry Smith

Second Advisor

Tom Hamilton

Third Advisor

Tom Herbeck


The role students' attractiveness plays in teachers' perceptions and attitudes was first discovered by Dion in the early 1970's. The educational arena, already torn by evidence of discrimination by race and gender, was now faced with yet another controversy. The possibility of children being disadvantaged in the classroom because they lacked personal beauty instilled fear and curiosity in the minds of educators, psychologists and parents. This fear lead to two decades of research, with even more controversial findings. This study synthesizes literature from the late 1960's to the late 1980's in the disciplines of educational, social, and child psychology; sociology; and communication, which examines various aspects of attractiveness discrimination in the classroom and its affects on children. Although attractiveness discrimination affects all ages and penetrates all aspects of society, the affect it has on the selfesteem, intellectual development, and future success of children is detrimental to America's youth, educational system and society. Because of the magnitude of the effects, this study is primarily concerned with attractiveness discrimination in the classroom.