(After reading aloud a Valentine's Day card) "Don't you wish PJ was doing this episode now, girls? You all would have just melted." - Hank Green
We're told that appearances don't matter. It's what's on the inside that counts. Don't judge books by their covers, even if we all know that the literal translation of that usually works rather well if you read the back/inside front.
But then if we don't take good care of our appearances, those same people tell us that we need to take more pride in how we look, and that people are going to judge us for it. Houses should be clean when people come over, because you want to make a good impression.
Is anyone else receiving mixed messages?
Clearly appearances do matter, even though they shouldn't.
Physical attraction, of course, is the big one. It affects everyone in some way, except for asexual/aromantic people, I suppose. (KickThePj is a good example of this. I wish I had graphs of his viewer numbers before and after he was on Truth or Fail for the first time.)
Then there's stereotypes, which are worse. If you see someone you find attractive, you will think some variation on "He/She is attractive," and that will be true for you.
However, when you see someone who fits into a stereotype, there's a huge number of other things that come flooding through your mind, most of which have nothing to do with the facts you know about him or her.
Then there's just plain judging. If you notice someone looking particularly unkempt, you'll wonder. You'll guess. You'll make up stories for the person. You'll invent a character with their face, and treat the person as that character. This one, I think, is the most unavoidable.
You can find someone attractive, but that doesn't mean you have to act on that attraction.
You can recognize yourself invoking stereotypes, and remind yourself not to use them.
But judging is right on the line between fact and fiction. There's what may or may not be good evidence, but any or all of the proof could be inadvertent, or misperceived.
So what do we do?
If it's the inside that counts, but the outside that's seen, why not try to make the outside as reflective of the inside as possible? Note: as possible.
I guess I'm trying to say that I'm in favor of self-expression. I live in my room. Why shouldn't my room look lived-in?