It's a huge problem in every nook and cranny of society (even in our oh-so-enlightened subcultures and activist circles), yet no bands talk about it between songs, no conferences are organized to educate others on how to challenge it, and I hear almost no one talk about it, let alone combat it. A few examples of this phenomenon are as follows:
People hooking up w/ other people on the basis that they're "soooo hot" inspite of being a manipulative asshole, comments like "you're too cute to stay mad at" when someone has fucked up big time, and the time my parents didn't buy a car that ran like clockwork because they didn't like the way it looked.
It's lookism, and it's fucked.
I fucking hate how everyone is so hung up on appearance and often ignore other qualities or people who aren't totally gorgeous. I'm sick of the fact that I hear no one addressing this issue (particularly people I know who address other "isms" on a regular basis, some of whom are the most concerned about looks) when I see it as a significant problem in society and a reason why a lot of my past friends' relationships turn to shit, due to them being attracted to people based on asthetics and then finding out that the person is a piece of self absorbed trash, a pretty person with an ugly personality. It's like dating someone who has an obsessive relationship with their car. Sure it's attractive and may assist someone in finding a date, but I'd like to think that most people would like to date someone who will care more about THEM that something as superficial as how their fucking car looks (even if it's a horrible car that breaks down and gets awful mileage). I think the same goes with appearance, someone who is obsessed with looking good is not going to be as likely to have their priorities straight in a relationship or in life. Someone I know once mentioned "extremely intelligent" and "puts effort into how he looks" as qualities she looks for in a partner. Well, you're not going to find any decent balance of these two.
Personally, I put hardly any effort into how I look. Part of the reason is because I don't fucking have the time, energy or money to make myself look pretty, as these are all locked up in other, much more important efforts, but more importantly I refuse to participate a system where merits are based on something as superficial as how I fucking look. On the other hand, right now, I'm feeling like I'm never going to date anyone again unless I make myself pretty to get noticed. Not that I ever would, but this can't be ignored.
Not to say that there's anything wrong with noting appearance. There are certain kinds of people that I find physically attractive and I'll admit that I am flattered when people say I'm cute or whatever. However, I don't want this to undermine my other qualities, nor do I want to have any sort of advantage over someone who isn't considered as attractive but has more admirable qualities than myself. In terms of relationships, this is fucking ridiculous. Looks contribute NOTHING to a relationship. Hell, I don't even know if I like someone until after I talk to them for a while, and it's usually something else that sparks that initial conversation.
There ARE people who DON'T put effort into how they look, who are naturally attractive. However, in many cases these people learn early on how to take advantage of their appearance in terms of getting dates, getting out of trouble, and so forth. On the contrary, people who are considered "ugly" learn to feel ashamed of how they look early on, often coinciding with the beginning of their lifelong relationship with the parasitic beauty and fashion industries. These are people who could have amazing potential if there wasn't so much pressure to look a certain way and who could also contribute a great deal to a meaningful relationship if their appearance wasn't an issue. Instead, they are socially conditioned to feel insecure about their outward appearance, which is exploited by the aforementioned industries that benefit financially from this manufactured insecurity.
To those who think that you can't be physically attracted to someone who is ugly, just about every person I have ever dated has been called ugly and/or fat by someone who I considered a friend at the time (apologies to any exes that are reading this). Some of these people even I thought were ugly, but I was able to see beyond external beauty and see that these people were (in some cases) beautiful on the inside and had a lot to offer. If I can do this, anyone can.