Dominic Olley ’14 – Guest Columnist

A saying most of us are well aware of, but rarely do we truly follow it.

Researchers say within seven seconds of viewing an individual you have already concluded an opinion about them.  Within seven short seconds, a person decides if another person is good looking or ugly, cool or lame, have fashion sense or not.

But why?

Why do we make quick assumptions about people without getting to know them first? People in our society would rather read a classmate’s tweets or look at their Instagram pictures rather than actually sit down and talk to them. Why don’t we get to know them before we form conjectures about them, because how can we possibly make an accurate judgment on a person without approaching them on a personal level?

With technology increasing every day, our daily lives are surrounded with apps and gadgets that allow us to be very visual with one another. Instagram is a social networking site based off nothing but pictures and videos. Vine is another site used strictly for 6 second video clips. Another popular app is Snapchat, it is used for instant picture sending with your friends. We live in a very visual world but sometimes those visions can mislead you.

Justin Timberlake, Beyoncé, Kim Kardashian

Besides having the big bucks what do these celebrities have in common?

Style, fashion, a cool image.

Our society strongly revolves around a “cool” image.

But why?

How come not wearing the latest trend or style labels you as “lame” or “not hip”. It’s pretty sad to think about, people consider the coolest fashion the most costly.

The cost of a “cool” t-shirt is about $40 and a pair of jeans costs about $70.

That’s insane,

So crazy.

Absolutely ridiculous.

That’s what we say, but why are we still suckered into buying it, why?

To fit in and stay trendy.

Times are tough for most families and a $40 t-shirt and a $70 pair of jeans is not in their budget.

How is it fair kids in all grades are being bullied because of the shoes on their feet or shirt on their chest? In schools the people with a knock-off anything are powerless. How is it their fault their father or mother lost their job and can’t afford the cool shoes? But they are considered lame.

Personal looks are important to us. Every morning we wake up and brush our teeth to keep a healthy, good looking smile. Comb and style our hair to give us the appearance of neatness, like we should want.

But what about the people who aren’t so fortunate to be born with a nice smile and good teeth?  What about the people that have a slightly larger than average nose, ears that tend to stick out, or are heavier than others?

These are the people that society has manipulated time and time again. Judging the misfortune or odd man out has become normal and it is a problem that needs to be resolved if peace is to be achieved in society.

The boy with the earrings is a punk.

The girl with purple hair is weird.

The boy with K-Mart brand jeans is dorky.

The boy with earrings takes care of his little cousins, goes to work and does his homework every night. He doesn’t have time to be a punk.

The girl with purple hair dyed it in honor of her mom, who passed away from cancer.  Purple was her mom’s favorite color.

The boy who has the “dorky” jeans from  K-Mart told his mom to buy those instead of the “cool” jeans just so that she could get a pair too.

The contrast between the two all depends on your seven second decision. Did you make an assumption about that girl with the purple hair, maybe  you thought she  just doing it for attention. Would you have made that same assumption if you talked and got to know her?

Odds are you wouldn’t have.

Happiness and acceptance would be emotions felt by all if “judging a book by its cover” stopped. The desire for this reality should make us have a drive to be more accepting towards our classmates, neighbors, and surrounding individuals.

Imagine a dramatic decrease in the suicide rate if more people suffering from depression or other mental problems didn’t have to be afraid to stand up and say something in fear of being judged by other people.

Imagine how many more girls would eat, rather than starve themselves to make sure they maintain a low weight.

More students with unique talents would shine instead of hide. They would show the world what they are capable of rather than keep it to themselves.

Greater understanding for each other would be learned and more peace would be spread instead of destroyed.

“Don’t judge a book by its cover”. It is a saying that we all need to practice.


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