Some really critical elements of one’s psyche get formed in early childhood. For example, I learned in grade school that “cool” (or popular) and “smart” (or educated, competent, etc.) were opposites.
So I saw a gal today whose T-Shirt caught my eye. Not just because it was nearly skintight and bright yellow but because I habitually and unconsciously read things. It said “You would be cooler if you were me.”
My brain, of course, came back with “Probably. But you’d be smarter if you were me.” All of which got me thinking back on grade school. Hell, for all I know she’s actually smarter than me. Still, that’s certainly not the impression I got.
Which comes back to selling yourself. How you present yourself to the world is going to effect how other people see you. It’s also cultural. Glasses make you look smart. Blonde hair makes you look ditzy. Skintight clothing makes you look — well, there’s no polite way to say how skintight clothing makes you look, and it will vary from person to person based on body type anyway. As I said, though, it’s cultural. This is all in the context of my 80s-90s American upbringing. If I were from a radically different culture, glasses might be the signal of a prostitute, platinum-blonde hair might signal high intellectual refinement, and skintight clothes might scream “practical.”
Then again, maybe not.
Maybe , maybe not. But then again, it’s not the -person- you’re evaluating, is it?
More, I think, your charicture of the person.
Yeah. I know. Spelling.
She may have well been the bimbo you paint her to be, or perhaps just someone who thought the shirt was funny. I once happened to run into a whino at a gas station. He was sitting near the pumps and asked for a dollar. I didn’t have one since I was paying with a credit card. He said okay, and then asked if I happened to know how to solve a quadratic equation. I looked over and he had a Trigonometry book sitting on his filthy lap. Just goes to show you can’t judge a book by its cover.
I have seen pictures of you Bob. Perhaps you’d like me to make narrow minded judgements of you based on your appearance? “Some really critical elements of one’s psyche get formed in early childhood” is true, but these same elements are mallable and change as we become older and more intelligent. Those “critical” elements are generally what we call stereotypes Bob. Some people, like you apparently, cling to them.
/Want/ you to? No. /Expect/ you to? Absolutely! It’s how the human mind operates. (Of course, seeing as you seem to read my blog, we’re well beyond that point now. You can now judge me by my words if you would like. I don’t mind that either.) It actually serves a really critical function. Looked at one way, the human mind is nothing more than a powerful analytical engine. When it percieves things, it categorizes them, then adds definition as it becomes available, sometimes even changing the top-level classification (though this is harder — thus the oft-noted importance of the first impression.)
If the human mind could not perform this vital task of discrimination, you would be hopelessly awash in disconnected observations and unable to function. Your inability to classify an object as a cat or a dog would leave you unable to relate to either properly. Your inability to distinguish between the various lines on the road would render you unable to drive. Your inability to distinguish between a sales associate and a customer would put you in difficult and embarassing social situations.
Stereotypes are just part of the human cognitive process. You can, with effort, change them. You cannot, however, ever be /rid/ of them. The thing to do then is to reevaluate your stereotypes (which of them are realistic? Which of them are useful?) And then modify or discard them as seems appropriate.
A lot of our cultural sterotypes are unrealistic, unfair, and/or useless, and should certainly be discarded. That was not, however, the thrust of this particular entry.
I’m enlightened enough to know that first impressions, especially ones based on appearance, are often wrong. Actually, that’s partly why I posted this — because I found my reaction funny. I was laughing at/mocking myself. Of course, that’s not what some of you saw, now was it?
I am consistently amazed by those who I categorize as “bimbos/party girls” on first seeing them, and then later finding out that they are smarter than me.
Are you trying to insinuate something about my skintight full-body leotard?
No Honey… that screams practical, really.