An overwhelming majority of people prejudice those with facial disfigurements, a survey has revealed.
Research by the charity Changing Faces has revealed people with facial disfigurements are likely to be marginalised in life and at work because little is expected of them.
The study revealed that although all respondents claimed to have no prejudice against those with facial disfigurements, in reality 90% of 1,000 people held implicit prejudices.
The survey asked people to sort a number of images of people with and without facial disfigurements and to assign positive and negative words to them from a supplied list, to show how attractive, sociable, happy and successful they find the images.
People had difficulty associating positive words but easily associated negative words with images of people with facial disfigurements.
James Partridge, founder and chief executive of Changing Faces said: “It’s vital that people understand that their own attitudes and behaviour influence how people with disfigurements are considered and treated.
“We want to live in a society in which everyone is valued for the unique contribution that they can make – it should not be acceptable that people are treated unfairly because of the way that they look.”
Changing Faces has launched the Face Equality campaign today in response to its survey.
Over the next three to five years, the campaign will raise awareness of the facial prejudice and discrimination that people with disfigurements face every day.
Part of the campaign is to collect 100,000 photographs of faces on its website by mid-summer 2008, including those of celebreties Joanna Lumley and Barbara Windsor, when a final collage of all donated faces will be unveiled.
Nicola Brewer, CEO at the Equality and Human Rights Commission, said: “Only the bravest organisations talk about subjects that most people would rather ignore. We welcome this positive and inspirational campaign which shows that how you look should be nothing to do with what you can achieve.”