The student media organization of California State University Northridge

Daily Sundial

The student media organization of California State University Northridge

Daily Sundial

The student media organization of California State University Northridge

Daily Sundial

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Better things to judge by than appearances

Never judge a book by its cover. Such a popular saying but how many of us really believe it?

I can’t tell you how many times people pass judgments about other people, before they can even say a word, just by the way they are dressed. By letting a person’s clothes speak for them without even getting to know a person could mean that you are misjudging them. This bad habit has been applied to a variety of situations, including job interviews, the dating game, and in places of religious worship.

Over the summer, I went for a job interview. I had on a black pair of slacks, a green fitted polo shirt, and black boots which made for a casual business look. My dad took one look at my outfit and made me change.

He finally approved of a black and white pin striped blazer with matching pants, a blue buttoned-down collared shirt, and black boots. When I asked him why he made me change, he said, “No one would ever take you seriously if you don’t wear a button down shirt to an interview.”

My original belief was that my resume and the way I responded to the interview questions were the most important, but apparently my outfit had become the first question. My mom is a nurse manager, and one of her duties is to hire new employees. She told me later that day, after my interview, that it was good my dad made me change my outfit because she turns down people if they don’t look like they want a job, including people that have worn flip flops to an interview.

In regards to appearances and clothes in the dating game, the rules are more geared toward women. When women dress, they either dress for themselves, to impress other women, or to attract men. Well, I like to dress up when I go out to social settings. My outfit can sometimes include a miniskirt, tube top, or a low cut shirt.

Well, just because I am dressed in a miniskirt doesn’t give people the right to attempt to touch where they aren’t wanted. My guy friends seem to think otherwise.

I remember talking to a friend of mine about the way women dress and what it says about them. He said that women shouldn’t dress a certain way if they don’t want the attention that it will draw.

I asked him why do people automatically assume that just because you are dressed in a miniskirt it means you are inviting people to catcall you and whistle at you. He jokingly replied by using a Dave Chappelle quote, saying it was confusing for men because, while women aren’t whores, a lot of women are “wearing a whore’s uniform.”

My argument was basically that just because a girl wears something revealing does not always mean that she wants sexual attention. Sometimes she could wear it just to look cute or be comfortable. An outfit doesn’t make the person.

The clothes are on the person, that’s it. Just because I wear a miniskirt doesn’t mean it’s an invitation to be hit on by anybody walking down the street.

I’m not completely oblivious. I’m guilty of wearing a miniskirt to get a guy’s attention, but who doesn’t like feeling attractive? At other times, it could just be really hot and I’m tired of wearing pants in 100-degree weather just because I don’t want to be catcalled.

Then there’s the rules of appearance that are socially defined. Places of worship are one of those scenarios. I don’t think that people would show up to church in bikinis and Speedos because it’s not socially accepted in those places. That is just common sense, though.

One day I went to a place of worship wearing a flower-patterned blouse and a skirt that was a few inches above my knees. My outfit wasn’t remotely revealing or sexual in any way, but my grandmother and aunt weren’t pleased with it at all. They later pulled me aside and said that any skirt that I wear to a place of worship should be inches below my knees.

I couldn’t see why the outfit had gotten such any type of reaction at all, but I complied to the rules because in Nigerian families questioning your elders is a big taboo. I choose not to question them because a lot of my culture has antiquated beliefs. I clash with them all the time, so finding that balance is always a goal.

What it all comes down to is to look the part. As sad as it is, what you wear says something before you open your mouth to speak. We shouldn’t judge people just because of what they have on.

On the other hand, dress the way you want to. If people reduce themselves to judging you by what you have on, then let them. It’s their loss, because they might miss out on getting to know a great person all because they judged by what they saw.

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