Should we genetically select for the beauty norm of fair skin?

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Fair skin is often regarded as a beauty ideal in many parts of the world. Genetic selection for non-disease traits may allow reproducers to select fair skin for the purposes of beauty, and may be justified under various procreative principles. In this paper I assess the ethics of genetic selection for fair skin as a beauty feature. In particular, I explore the discriminatory aspects and demands of such selection. Using race and colour hierarchies that many would find objectionable, I argue that selection for beauty that is underpinned by such hierarchies is not a trivial selection. Given this, I claim that we should not make such selections.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)246–268
JournalHealth Care Analysis
Publication statusPublished - 21 Mar 2017


  • Beauty
  • Fair skin
  • Race
  • Colour
  • Discrimination
  • Genetic selection
  • Procreative beneficence
  • Procreative autonomy


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