We are not what we wear

Web Lead

Emily Ritter-Riegling

Emily Ritter-Riegling

Though we are constantly told to not judge a book by its cover, my friend once confessed to me that she only looks at books that appeal to her from the outside. We are told not to judge on appearance yet, subconsciously, we always do – whether it is types of clothes, hair, colour of skin, or makeup.

Based on appearance, we judge not only wealth but personality, intelligence, and ethics, among many other things. It is not only true, but horrible. It’s so incredibly wrong, yet it is something we all do. It is ingrained in us to evaluate a person from the outside even though we keep telling ourselves that it is not right.

It’s heartbreaking because we all know this to be true, so we try to dress and look a certain way so that we will be perceived a certain way. We know that based on what we wear and how we look, people will judge us so we manipulate how they will judge us. It gives everyone a chance at a disguise, a chance to hide who they really are behind stereotypes and assumptions.

But judgment and importance of appearance is not just something humans do. Many animals find their mates based on their outward appearance, making their appearance the most vital part of the mating process. So maybe this is just a basic human instinct, but does that excuse it? Because everything that is human instinct is not always okay.

We can try our best to not see people for how they look on the outside, but for what they are like on the inside.  So often people try to look a certain way so they will be seen differently and it can be deceiving. Everyone is so complicated that to know someone – who they are, what they like or care about – takes time and the ability to see more than just the outside. It is important to not let looks affect how you see people.

There is this war we have been fighting against ourselves and our instincts that tell us to evaluate a person’s worth based on how they look. If we can learn to accept how we look and wear what we want, we are making a change. Be happy with who you are because it is not defined by your appearance. And it is important that we don’t let ourselves be represented by that. Take a stand and show who you really are and give others a chance to do the same.