The Penalty for Good Looks in Western Australia

Essay by SikosmHigh School, 11th gradeA, July 2006

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Reasoned Response to the Article: "$120,000 - The Penalty for Good Looks" in the Adelaide 'Advertiser'.

The Western Australian Full Court's decision to award a reduced compensation to Widow, Mrs Teresa de Sales, because of good looks is completely legal. But is it right? This law was passed in 1863, when women did not have much in the way of an independent income, when they were dependent on their husbands for food and shelter. This law stated that as beautiful widows had a higher likelihood of getting remarried and thereby have a more stable financial status than plain women, they did not need a full compensation. Back then this was a useful law - supporting those women who were not as likely to remarry - but now, being more independent than in the past, they can choose whether to marry or not. A beautiful woman may not want to get married again, but because of this law, they would have to survive with less compensation than a plain woman who may or may not want to get remarried.

This law, which traveled into the Australian legal system from England, has been repealed from the English Legal System since 1971. Australia should repeal the law too. In a land where everyone is said to be equal, there should not be a law discriminating between one woman's face and another's. Mrs de Sales said "...It shouldn't matter if I had four arms and purple spots; a person should still get 100 per cent of their payout." What Mrs de Sales meant was that every women, plain and beautiful, are equal and they should all, therefore, be compensated the same. To more accurately state her point, Mrs de Sales should have said: "...It shouldn't matter if I was the most beautiful person in...