Numerous studies have proven that we do ‘judge a book by its cover’, and if your cover (appearance) is flawed, you can expect to be at a disadvantage everywhere from the school playground to the courtroom. Our reconstructive practice includes many patients who must ultimately live with some form of disfigurement, and we are constantly seeking out better ways to alleviate this physical and psychological burden.
Society prides itself in the great strides taken to reduce prejudice associated with race, sexual orientation etc., but is enough effort being made to eliminate ‘scar-shaming’? A recent publication (JAMA Dermatol. 2017; 153(6):559-664) would argue not, as it revealed the disproportionate use of disfigurement to characterize movie villains. Of the all-time top 10 movie villains, 60% had some form of facial disfigurement.
What can we do? Consider supporting charities such as About Face. Write a letter to the Walt Disney Company. And please become more aware and sensitive to this form of prejudice.