Judging People by Their Appearance

Are you tempted to treat people differently because of how they look?

Do you think most people are?

I’ve watched TV documentaries and talk shows where discussions focused on people being treated differently because of weight or ethnic background. To have my daughter actually experience a change in how people perceive her because of appearance has made the behavior a reality in my own backyard.

Ana gave me permission to share her story . . .

“Of course I’ve been blonde my entire life, so when I made the decision to change my hair color to brunette, I had absolutely no idea that the way I would be treated by people (especially men) would more different than I could ever anticipate.

As a blonde growing up, I was always known as the bright-eyed, energetic "cheerleader" by my friends. Men would always do the once over and give me the look . . . you know that look . . . like they want to eat you for dinner. Haha . . . But I never really realized it, because it was just what I was used to. When we went out to socialize, I was used to having guys approach my friends and me . . . but it always seemed that they didn't want to have an actual conversation . . . they just wanted to have the attention and see if they could go away with one of our numbers. Our personalities didn't really matter. It was definitely the "I-want-to-take-you-home approach" . . . and by that, I don't mean the take-you-home-to-mom kind of way.

After I finished college and started my career, I quickly realized that being a young and pretty woman could be used to my advantage. But at times it was also a disadvantage. With my blonde hair, I was never taken seriously. As an event planner, I was able to communicate to people in a way that would help them understand why things could or couldn’t be done. People would often say, "Wow . . . you really do know what you’re taking about!" I’d share my education background and they’d seem surprised.

When I went brunette, I noticed a dramatic change in the way that I was treated. My clients would listen to what I was saying and would not question me in the least. They seemed to have more confidence in me and believed that I would take care of them throughout their entire planning process.

While I’m still often approached, I see a huge difference in the way guys look at me and respond to what I am saying. They seem to take me more seriously and they show a lot more respect.

I don't look completely different . . . I mean, after all . . . it’s just my hair color. A guy I formerly dated even approached me at the gym and told me that I looked much more sophisticated with my hair dark.

It’s been fun to see people's reactions as well. A lot of guys have complimented the change . . . all the more reason for me to believe the men like the blondes for "dating" but take brunettes more seriously when it comes to relationships, as well as careers.”

I found Ana’s experience fascinating, especially during a time when I’m writing a novel about two people who are struggling with how the world perceives them.

I’m so thankful that God doesn’t look at our outward appearance.

The Lord does not look at the things man looks at. Man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.
1 Samuel 16:7


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