You Can’t Judge a Book by its Cover

That phrase was a mantra to me growing up. It was trumpeted by every third children’s book, my school’s curriculum, and even a few He-man and GI Joe PSAs. I understand now that it was an subtle attempt by all these institutions to instill ideas of racial and sexual equality into my fragile little mind. For the most part, it worked. We don’t judge people or things by their appearance today. Unfortunately, we’ve gone so far as to think that appearance doesn’t matter at all.

You might say this is our society evolving. I say it’s willful ignorance. Why? Appearances are a part of our decision making process. You wouldn’t trust a personal trainer with a beer gut, and you wouldn’t step into a house that was swaying in the wind. How can we critically think if we don’t account for information we take in through our own eyes?

This goes beyond using appearances to keep our personal safety. The forces of aesthetics influence our culture to this very day. If we pretend they don’t exist, we can’t understand how our society works and we’ll ultimately lose control of our culture entirely.

  • Melissa Quinn

    Here, here, James! I totally agree. It’s hard to trust a bald hair stylist or a financial consultant who’s obviously living beyond their means. I do judge folks by their appearance and behavior, else I cannot choose an appropriate course of action. I do obey those heebie jeebies. Everytime I failed to do so, I regretted it deeply, though luckily no great or lasting harm came of it. Sometimes I’ve been pleasantly surprised to find my caution was not warranted, but I’d rather not have the word “SUCKER” emblazoned on my forehead.

  • http://www.james-strocel.com James

    Exactly my point. You also realize when your instincts are talking, so you can discern when to listen to them.