More Than Packaging

Someone made a comment to me recently that was a little bit prejudiced against pretty people - male or female.  There was an implication that pretty people don't "get it," that they aren't that smart (or don't have to be), that they are a little self-involved.

I challenged that thinking with a story about a girl I became friends with in my very first semester of college back in 2001.  This girl was striking upon first impression.  She was half-Portuguese, half-Irish, and had amazingly thick, long black hair, porcelain white skin, and bright green eyes.  She was small and fit, fashionable, and just altogether beautiful to look at - probably the most beautiful woman I have ever seen face to face.

But that was only the first impression.  Getting to know her, she was very bright and intelligent, a hard worker and committed to both her job and her school work.  More than that, she was kind.  She never missed an opportunity to encourage someone.  She never spoke an unkind word about anyone, especially other women.  She was happy, and she was always thinking of others before herself, she had a great sense of humor without ever being sarcastic or vulgar, she was a sweetheart.

No one likes to have a label put on them, and I am sure my friend had been told that she was "lucky" because she wouldn't have to "work as hard" and so on.  And what a shame that is, to diminish everything else that makes up a person by writing them off based on their looks.  I don't believe we should do it to plain people, and we shouldn't do it to pretty people either.  When we assume someone's character based on their outside packaging we perpetuate a cycle of discrimination and stereotypes.

Some people are jerks.  Some people don't work hard.  But I try to get to know them before I make an assumption based on their outward appearance.

I regrettably lost touch with my friend back in 2013 when I deleted my Facebook, but the last I knew, she was a happily married new mother, and had a great career, and was just as kind and friendly as ever.  And when I think about her, of course, I remember how pretty she was.  But far more deeply I recall how she made us laugh, her generosity, and her genuine kindness toward everyone.

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