I’ve always been told to look my best. And to be honest, I do care about my appearance. I comb my hair every morning, choose clothes that are appropriate for wherever I’m going, and attempt to prevent anything ostentatiously unattractive from showing. You may accuse me of being shallow, yet society has shaped us in such a way that appearances are a definite aspect of who we are. Appearance-based discrimination exists, which is why so many of us struggle to attain an attractiveness that really should be unnecessary.
Even science has revealed that we are naturally attracted toward people with symmetrical faces. Image via viewzone.com.
But in the end, appearances are simply that – appearances. They are the way that something or someone looks, but not what or who that thing or person truly is. I’m not only referring to physical appearances either. Too many of us pass up opportunities to meet other people just because of the way they talk, how they walk, who they hang out with, etc. All of these things, while not directly associated with their actual physical appearances, are shallow assumptions and possible misrepresentations of who that person really is.
One of my friends once said that a marriage is 50% based on looks and 50% based on personality. I hope I’m not the only one who disagrees with that statement. I understand how at first a person may be attracted to another individual based on their appearance, but could you really build a bond that intense with someone – we’re talking a life time commitment – giving equal weight to their appearance as to who they are? Once you spend time with someone and become more deeply acquainted with them, isn’t it true that you notice their physical appearance less and less compared to their personality? Perhaps this is why the divorce rate in America is on the rise. If your spouse suddenly became ugly overnight, would you immediately decide to divorce them?
Allow me to use myself as an example
because I’m lonely and I need attention. If I were to approach one of my friends and tell them that I’m black, I doubt they would believe me. In fact, they wouldn’t, because to them I am clearly Asian. But just because I’m Asian doesn’t mean that I like rice, or that I can’t write well, or anything else – really, it only means that I’m Asian. Sure, appearances (and how one’s ethnicity contributes to their appearance) is a part of us, but it is by no means the sole factor determining who we are.
I'm sure you know not to judge a book by its cover... but in this case you can, because Jem is gorgeous and so is Clockwork Prince.
I’m not saying that all attractive people are brainless imbeciles. All I’m suggesting is that we should try to get to know people before judging them. Before deleting that person of your friends list for that one ugly picture they uploaded, strike a conversation with them and see if you have things in common. Before casting away that Caucasian guy because all the other Caucasian guys you’ve met turned out to be duds, ask him whether he enjoys reading books in his free time or playing tennis like you do (these things apply to me, but, you get the point).
Maintaining one’s appearance is necessary, but ultimately personality and ethics are more important. Some of the strongest people on the planet are disfigured, such as Nick Vujicic and Jacqui Saburido, but that hasn’t prevented them from inspiring others and making an impact on society.
What do you think of appearances versus reality? I’m interested in hearing others’ opinions, especially on the marriage question. I’m writing this at 11:30 PM on Christmas Eve but I’ll probably publish it the day after Christmas, so, I hope everyone had a wonderful holiday!