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9 out of 10 people are in denial about their prejudices towards people with facial disfigurement

May 8th 2008

Revealing new research exposes worrying unconscious prejudices in modern Britain. The ground-breaking research commissioned by the charity Changing Faces reveals that people with facial disfigurements are likely to be marginalised because little is expected of them, both socially and professionally. The survey results reflect the anecdotal experience reported by people who contact the charity.

The survey technique used was an Implicit Attitude Test (IAT) which was developed by Professor Anthony Greenwald of Washington University to explore attitudes on issues such as race and sexual orientation. It seeks to explore dormant prejudices held in the subconscious mind. Participants are asked a series of questions to measure their conscious attitudes and the answers are then compared against their subconscious IAT responses.

The IAT survey conducted by COG Research Ltd 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.

The study revealed that although all respondents claimed to have no prejudice against those with facial disfigurements, in reality 9 out of 10 of those surveyed held implicit prejudices. People had difficulty associating positive words but easily associated negative words with images of people with facial disfigurements.

In response to these stark survey results, Changing Faces is launching the Face Equality campaign. The overall aim is to ensure that people with disfigurements are treated fairly and equally irrespective of their facial appearance.

Over the next 3-5 years, the campaign will:

  • Raise awareness of the facial prejudice and discrimination that people with disfigurements face every day
  • Stimulate debate around the subject of disfigurement
  • Challenge society to change the way we all face disfigurement
  • Offer practical strategies for people to change their behaviours.

Key elements of the Face Equality campaign include a nationwide advertising campaign, an online 'day in the life' film and ‘calls to action’ for improvements to be made in health care, education, recruitment practice, customer service, media portrayals and public policy.

Changing Faces urges people to stand out and show their support for Face Equality by uploading an image of their face – ‘lending their face ’ - to the campaign. The charity plans to collect 100,000 faces by mid-summer 2008 when a final collage of all donated faces will be unveiled in a prime London location. Barbara Windsor, Jonathan Ross, Jemma Kidd, Joanna Lumley, Linda Robson and Shana Swash are just six of the celebrities who are lending their faces to the campaign.

Visitors to the website can also:
Take the Implicit Attitude Test online
Learn key facts about disfigurement
• Learn strategies to interact positively with people who have disfigurements.

Nicola Brewer, CEO, Equality and Human Rights Commission said: “Only the bravest organisations talk about subjects that most people would rather ignore. Changing Faces is one of those organisations. It does a remarkable job raising awareness of this important issue and challenges negative attitudes to facial disfigurement. We welcome this positive and inspirational campaign which shows that how you look should be nothing to do with what you can achieve.”

James Partridge, Founder and Chief Executive of Changing Faces who has a facial disfigurement from burns as an 18 year old, 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."

Ends

for more informaton visit:-

Changing faces

Posted by, Asif Yusuf

 

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