We live in a world in which we are constantly judged by our appearance despite the ideal “judgment by merit.” People we pass by in a crowded city will size us up and immediately form an idea in their head of whom they think we are in less than two seconds; often times, this idea is completely wrong, as many people judge solely on a few factors of a person’s appearance. Either way, there are several cases in which it is blatantly wrong to be judged by your appearance, yet most people probably do it every single day. Why? Think of it this way: Human beings are afraid of the unknown. If a person thinks he or she knows who you are, even if that thought is completely wrong, then he or she will feel more secure for the moment.
One of the most common attributes I’ve seen people be judged by is their height. For one reason or another, many tall and average-sized people seem to have it in their heads that people who aren’t quite as tall as them are somehow “inferior” to them. Folks, a person cannot control his or her height; tall people didn’t “earn” their height, and shorter people weren’t “unqualified” for it. Now, this is a problem that is usually common in men; after all, many girls like to date the tall guys, so the short guys are automatically taken out of the dating pool for no good reason. Additionally, people seem to have it in their heads that tall people are better athletes, and while having more height gives you an advantage in basketball, a tall person isn’t a better tennis player than a short person. When coaches use this mentality, many smaller kids are cast aside before the second round of try-outs.
People are also judged by their weight. Again, even though a significant portion of the world is overweight, society seems to believe that it is okay to discriminate against obese people. Fat jokes are one thing; sometimes, though, someone will not want to associate with someone who’s overweight. I’ve seen it happen before, and I was greatly appalled. Just as it makes no sense to judge someone by his or her height, it doesn’t make sense to judge someone by his or her weight. You don’t know that the person is too lazy to exercise; maybe it’s a genetic thing. And your weight has nothing to do with your personality, so you really can’t judge an overweight person until he or she actually talks to you; however, the damage done seems to be irreversible, and obese people may never get a fair shake in this world.
Possibly the inverse to being judged for being obese, skinny people aren’t let off the hook, either, and this holds true for males and females. A skinny male who wears glasses and doesn’t play sports is branded as a “nerd” in his school, and even though I don’t mind the term, I know that several people do. Additionally, if a guy is skinny, then people may automatically assume that he is weak. Females, though, might have it worse with this one. Although girls like to be skinny, they always have a “limit” in the back of their minds because they don’t want to end up looking as if they have anorexia in their efforts to lose weight. So, what happens when a girl just happens to be thinner than average? Other girls may spread rumors about her being anorexic, possibly out of sheer jealousy, which would be a completely unfair assumption. People sure are picky about your weight, aren’t they?
Not all judgments are bad, though; in fact, some of them can be used as “evidence” for someone’s own efforts. For example, if a bodybuilder is walking on a crowded beach, people might stare at him and assume that he is a bodybuilder who trains every day to build up muscle mass. This assumption is completely right in this case, and notice the “trains every day” part of it; the people acknowledge that the bodybuilder has worked for this instead of being born with it. Sure, people can be born slightly more muscular than others, but it’s pretty clear when someone’s been working out. You can’t be born with the genetic programming to be short and “work your way up” to being taller (unless you cheat and use HGH or get leg-lengthening surgery), but you can be born small and work to building a bigger, more muscular body.
As you can see, there are myriad reasons as to why a person might be judged based on his or her appearance. If you feel bad about it, I don’t mean to point the finger at anyone; it’s only human nature to judge someone at first sight, yet it can be changed. The next time you pass someone on the street and immediately form an image of the person’s life in your head, think long and hard about it. Why did you think that the person was a champion athlete? Why did you think she was a successful person? Why did you think this was someone you would want to spend your time with? By analyzing your own reaction to a person’s appearance, you can train yourself to think more about a person before you judge him or her; who knows, it might even encourage you to actually talk to more people!