Fight Off Judgement: How We Are Judged by Our Appearance


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Fatima MubarikIn this paper, the author attempts to explain how every day each one of us are judged based on our appearance and understand how it affects us. The author explains the judgement of appearance based on skin color, how you dress or look religiously, and gender. The author points out the negative and in the end positive outcomes of judgement based on appearance supported by events of her, her family’sies and her friends’ lives and research. AP Language and CompositionMrs. Hiffman12/12/17“Is she in the right class? ” “This must be a mistake. ” Here we go again.

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Another person judging someone else based on their appearance. My good friend Ayana hears these whispers every time she walks into an AP or honors class for the first time. Whispers saying she was probably a part of the violence nearby or that she is too stupid to be in this class. Yes, she is black and yes, this means she looks different than the rest of us, but that shouldn’t be a problem. The worst part is, these whispers affect her in a negative way. Going home every night crying to her parents and bleaching her skin just to try it fit in. “Never judge a book by its cover”, is one of the most common phrases out there when it comes to one’s physical appearance. Sadly the reality is that people do judge you by the way you look.

The color of our skin is a strange thing. It can set standards and expectations for our behavior. According to Elizabeth R. Thorman, the writer of on an article in Psychology Today, studies have been released that show that most of us had developed stereotypes about blacks by the age of five5. At such a young age we begin to judge people based on the color of their skin and most of us can’t help it. The first thing we notice about a person is how they look and this could lead to us setting stereotypes, that are usually incorrect.

My cousin, Anum and I always love shopping together. However, when Anum and I go shopping, I always notice the same thing. If there are two sales associates in a store standing near each other, one black and one white, and if my cousin has a choice, she will go directly to the white sales associate. Even if she doesn’t realize it, she prefers the help of a white lady rather than a black lady. This doesn’t only occur while shopping. In restaurants, she will always prefer a white server over a black one. This could be because she did not grow up near people who have darker colored skin than hers and people are often unaware of their implicit biases, but this shouldn’t be an excuse. Everyone is human, and we should all be treated the same no matter how we look.

Allen, the author of a This I Believe essay article, states how he has been guilty for stereotyping based on skin color. His father would always tell him and his family to watch out when black people are around and to never take valuables into their neighborhoods. He was also told to stay away from them since “all they can to is cause trouble. ” Later in his life, after applying to college, he found out his roommate was black and he began to gather items that he would not have brought if his roommate was white, in order to feel safer. After living with his black roommate for a few days, Allen noticed his roommate did not touch any of his personal belongings and things were not destroyed in their room. Slowly, Allen’s black roommate began to earn his trust. It turns out, after living with him for a couple of weeks, Allen realized he was one of the most trustworthy people he has ever known. Throughout his experience, Allen came to the realization that the color of your skin does not define who you are as a person. He states, “you should never judge a person by their color. Color has no effect on a personality; it’s the actions a person chooses that defines you. ” I strongly agree with what Allen says and it applies directly to my cousin, Anum. No one has the choice of what skin color they want to be. You are born that color, you have no control over it and that does not mean they should be penalized for the rest of their life. Just because someone is darker than you, or lighter than you, it does not make them any different than you or any less of a human than you. We should judge others based on their character, not the color of their skin. If Anum would take the time to get to know a black person closely, maybe she would not be so biased towards them. As Martin Luther King once said in his I Have a Dream speech, “I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character. ” This speech was about 55 years ago and people still judge others based on the appearance of their skin.

The color of a person’s skin is not the only instance in which people are judged based on appearance. How you dress or look religiously is also another factor. I have four close family friends who live in Saudi Arabia and they come to the United States to visit at least once a year. On their visits, they would always wear a burqa, Islamic covering from head to toe. However, when they visited us in the beginning of August, I was shocked to see that they were no longer wearing Burqas. They had taken it off because they were afraid of the judgment and hate they would receive from certain Americans. They were afraid of receiving hate for being a Muslim. They said that the last time they came to America, they were in a mall and since they were wearing burqas, a man kept following them around. After some time, while riding an escalator, one of them asked the man if he needed something, and the man responded with “What are you doing here? Go back to your own country. ” Confused in the moment, they were not sure of what to do and just stared blankly at his face. As soon as they got off the escalator, they went straight to their car and home. They called their father, who was still in Saudi Arabia, and cried telling him that they wanted to go back home in Saudi Arabia. The man judged them based on their appearance of dressing like a Muslim and as a result, they actually changed it. They changed the the way they dress so it would be easier to fit in. They did not want to experience the same thing again.

Every day, we see hate towards all Muslims on the internet, in the media, or even in conversations with people. Terri Britt, the writer of an Huffington Post article says, “It’s like we’re all being brainwashed to mistrust and judge anyone who even remotely looks like a Muslim terrorist. ” This hate is everywhere because people are afraid and there’s a tendency to profile anyone who looks like a Muslim or is a Muslim to be aligned with terrorists. It’s a person’s natural instinct to want to protect themselves and their loved ones, so people tend to shun anyone that remotely resembles something that could hurt us. However, when stating the facts, Omar Alnatour in a Huffington Post article says, less than 2% of the 1. 7 billion Muslims in the world are terrorists. So why does everyone who looks like a Muslim have to suffer cruel stereotypes? If someone dresses or looks different than you this does not mean you need to judge them based on their appearance. Everyone is unique and that is the beauty of this world.

Look at Ahmed Mohamed, a 14 year old boy who built a harmless clock at home to show his teachers at school. He thought the clock would make his teachers proud, but he thought wrong. The teachers assumed this 14 year old Muslim boy built a bomb and he was immediately arrested. He was innocent but as a result, the media did not rest. Everytime you turned on the radio you would hear, “Ahmed Mohamed brings a bomb to school. Is it this linked to a terrorist attack? ” This boy did not deserve to treat this way. Let’s say a Muslim actually did commit a crime. Any Muslim who commits a crime is labeled a terrorist right away, but anyone else? Oh, they just needed a therapist. If you look like a Muslim, the bottom line is you are prone to judgement.

My mom and I were once standing in the checkout line at Bed Bath and Beyond because my mom wanted to purchase some pillows. I was wearing an abaya, Islamic clothing, and so was my mom. Later, when a man entered the store and saw our pillows, the first thing he asked is, “Do you speak English? ” In that moment, I was so furious because he only asked me that question because I was wearing an abaya, because I looked like a Muslim. He would never have asked anyone else that question. All I could say was “yes” and he asked me where I got those pillows, I just pointed in the direction. Just because I was wearing Islamic clothing, and looked a little different from the rest, that man judged me based on my appearance and assumed that I did not know any English.

Another one of the biggest ways a person can also be judged by their appearance is by their gender. Women are much more likely to get judged on their appearance than men. When I was younger, my dad always used to hate taking me to sports games because it was a “bad environment” for girls. He thought that because I was a girl and the way I looked, my clothing, would make me more prone to attention. He would tell me this because he said there are always drunk and sometimes crazy people at sporting events and he didn’t want them to pick on me because of the fact that I was wearing a scarf and I am a girl. He said that girls don’t like sports anyway and would only take my brothers when going to games. He would never bring me along. I think that girls should be able to go anywhere they want, wearing whatever they want without people judging them on their appearance. But, as of today, he lets me go to sports games, however, it is always a reluctant “yes”. Natasha Devon, when arguing that girls are judged based on appearance in an article for the Guardian, says, “After all, while a girl growing up in 2017 may have imbibed the message that it is possible for her to become prime minister, she will also have learned that what will matter most is how her legs look in a pencil skirt. ” I agree with this statement because starting from a young age girls are expected to look and act a certain way. And if they don’t fit in, they are frowned upon. All a lot of these girls can think is what if I’m not good enough or what if people make fun of me.

It’s not only others judging women. Studies have also shown that women are in particular are more harsh concerning their appearance. Danielle Pergament, in an Allure magazine article, states that, 59 percent of women are comfortable with their appearance compared to 74 percent of men. She also says, “Twenty-seven percent of women admitted they would rather receive the praise “You’re beautiful” than “You did a great job” (17 percent), “You’re so smart” (15 percent), or “You’re so funny” (8 percent). ” I agree with this because there is no argument about the fact that women spend a lot more time, effort, and money on their appearance than men do. I believe that women care more about appearance than men not because of confidence but social status. It’s much harder for girls to fit in with other girls because girls can be a lot more judgemental about others than men. As a result, it is much harder to make friends. For men, they usually don’t care about how a person looks as much a girl while making friends. Their concern is mainly the interests of a person. When women are having a hard time trying to fit in, they become more self-aware of their appearance and are compelled to change it in order to fit in. Women should not have to struggle to fit in and should be accepted no matter what their appearance may be. Although all the judging based on appearance is terrible, I’ve come to realize there are also benefits. It encourages people to be confident by the way you look and not to care what others think. Every day a person looks in the mirror, they should see what they want to see, not what others want to see. Every day a person should accept that they are different. Every day a person should embrace their appearance.

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