How important should appearance be in the way we judge others and the world around us?

“It is only shallow people who do not judge by appearance” Oscar Wilde. We live in a very materialistic world; a world where we are not judged by the merit of our characters but on the quantity of our belongings. When a man first approaches a woman, studies have shown that she will base 55% of her initial impression of him on his appearance and his body language, 38% on how he speaks and 7% on what he actually says.

This shows that most appearance is the most important factor in determining your impression of a person. I am the youngest child in my family with 3 older sisters and consequently, I have grown up with a large emphasis on appearance and looking good. But why should this be? You all know the cliché, ‘It’s what’s on the inside that counts’. Could we truly live in a world where nobody was judged for what they look like?

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We judge people even without consciously thinking about it; it is inherent amongst humans that they judge others and the world around them, purely for the mundane reason of defending yourself. This enables you to assess whether a person or a scenario looks safe. This is how we know to avoid dark alleyways late at night and drunks in a street.

The fact is appearance is strongly impregnated into modern-day society. Actors and actresses make a living out of putting on an appearance to entertain the audience. There is a reason that the British fashion industry alone is worth 21 billion pounds. Feeling good about the way we look is central to our happiness. People purchasing clothes and make-up would be a flagrant waste of money if they were not judged and complemented on their appearance.

There are certain occasions where appearance is very important to the overall mood. At a funeral it is customary to wear black clothing so if you were to ignore this dress-code you would be judged as disrespectful to both the person who has died and their family. At a job interview, if you were to turn up with messy hair, an un-tucked shirt and dirty shoes, the first impression you would be giving is one of laziness and disrespect. You can learn a lot about someone by the way they present themselves and the way they want others to perceive them. Men who wear purple ties are less likely to be promoted.

However judging on appearance alone leaves you susceptible to being deceived. Throughout history there have been countless examples of appearance which has been misconstrued to devastating consequences. You all know the story of the Trojan horse. In this example, the ‘Trojan horse’ seemed like a gift from the Gods but in fact its purpose was to deceive the Trojans in to letting Greek soldiers within their walls.

As the Sicilian proverb says, “Where you’re not known, you’re judged by your appearance”. I encourage you to make judges on people’s appearance as you can gleam a lot about a person just by the way they present themselves to others.

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