Monday, August 25, 2014

Judging from appearances

Over the weekend, a friend shared this article that I keep going back to. In it, the young woman decided to do a social experiment where she created a dating profile on OKCupid, then changed the photos daily to look like different female stereotypes. She kept the bio unchanged. The responses she got are frankly unsurprising.

People judge. It sucks. We draw conclusions based on what we see, and while they can be correct, they might not be, either. I've spent a lot of my life fighting against the stereotype I've been pegged as, most of the time unsuccessfully. Of course, that can work to my advantage, but it's frustrating to say the least. Sometimes, genre fiction relies on those appearances.

What it makes me work harder for, then, is to keep an open mind about people. Everybody has their own unique stories, and we shouldn't base our opinions on them without facts. Are some of these stereotypes valid? Absolutely. That's how they got to be stereotypes in the first place. But it's those types of conclusions that create such a dangerous environment in our world today. Our headlines are rife with them.

How can we make the world a better place if we continue to behave so blindly?