Sunday, November 20, 2005

Judging on Looks

There have been a number of threads lately, some quite heated, about the wrong headedness of judging someone on looks. I've been giving some thought to this so I wonder if people could offer some opinions.

First, some of my thoughts ( go into coma now ).

You see a woman walking towards you. She is wearing a plumed hat, a garish blouse with padded shoulders, toreodor pants 'Jelly' shoes and Barbara Cartland makeup. Do you think:

1) Whoa! call the fashion police!
2) Looks like they left the door open at the institution again
3) Damn! The choice of clothes being offered at the discount stores is heinous!
4) What a charming, individualist person! I admire her bravery for wearing such an interesting collection of clothes and painting her face that way. I think I'll introduce myself and try to get to know her.

You are a woman and you are walking downtown at night. You see a VERY scruffy guy coming right towards you. It's dark and there is no one else on the street. Do you think:

1) Poor bugger , probably homeless and maybe I can help.
2) Oh shite! is this trouble coming my way?
3) What an interesting eccentric gentleman, I bet he has some interesting stories!

Addition to above scenario - if you answered number 2, would you have the same reaction if you saw a cop or a conservatively dressed woman walking towards you?

Also, why SHOULDN'T people judge on appearances? Do people think that others's will somehow read their mind and just know that inspite of the fact one is dressed in a deliberably say, fear provoking way ( vampire wannabe's etc.) that other's should instantly recognize the goodness of the person's heart or intentions?

Do you think it might be a bit ego-centric to take affront because people DO judge by appearances? Why should we assume that somehow people will KNOW we are interesting, different, individualistic and making a statement - a bid for personal freedom that is always admirable? Is it?

We are hard-wired to avoid danger.Some of the ways we assess this is appearance , demeanor and situational variables. It might be worthwhile to stop the scary looking person on the street at night and engage in a conversation about shared interests or what they are trying to project, or, it might be worth it to get the hell out of there.

It seems to me (JUST MY OPINION) that people want it both ways. They want to judge and be not judged. And you know, judging right can save your life. Judging wrong -same. So people will have to assess YOU, yes?

Also, I mentioned in my line of biz. , looks are very important. I have to deal with all age groups. I try to be sensitive to the fact that geratric people from a different generation might react badly because they do not understand what's 'trendy'. I need to be sensitive to this. Or, what if some dude that saw 'Once was a Warrior" and got the full black face tatoo decided to go into pediatrics(in another culture from NZ). How do you think a toddler who is already in a fearful state might react to that?

Strangly, I try not to judge by appearances. That also comes with 'my' territory. I once endured a long train ride with a fellow who smelled like a goat and looked like something that got extruded from a sheet-metal factory- everyone else backed away from him. In reality, he was a very nice young man from a small town who just wanted to 'make a statement' (though I think a bath might have been included in it).

So tell me people, should people NEVER make judgements, SOMETIMES make judgements, ALWAYS make judgements and when and where? For instance, do you think you should be considered for every job no matter how you present yourself? etc.

Also, can you HONESTLY say you never judge another person on their looks? For instance, you do assume that the man in the buisness suit or the woman in the 'banker's bow' blouse, may be a deeply spiritual person at home, or, a right hell raiser or just assume their personality matches their work clothes ? And if someone makes a judgement on you based on your 'interesting ' look, (should you have one), do you assume that the person who may not like it is a close-minded jerk, or alternately,that their experiences and tastes may be 'right' , as well?

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