Reputation: Judging books by their covers
“Who here has ever been called a slut? Who here has ever called a girl a slut?”
For the Mean Girls fanatics, this quote may sound familiar. It may be hard for some to find meaning behind the comedy.
Of course, our school won’t have an awkward math teacher hold an assembly for high school girls to share their feelings (unless it wants to, then go ahead). And this article isn’t here to tell you to stop spreading rumors or play nice in the locker room. We all have to accept that backstabbing, dirt talking, and harsh judgments are a part of life you won’t leave behind when you receive you diploma.
They say that character is who you truly are, and your reputation is how others view you. Unfortunately, the view that we provide others may not be as accurate of a representation as we’d like. The people you meet in passing, the kids in the hallway that overhear your conversations, the Facebook friends and Twitter followers; it’s not like we can stop them, explain ourselves, and show them who we really are.
Social media has further allowed our reputations to be damaged. We’ve all seen the infamous red solo cups in pictures (but it was fruit punch) and the bikini profile pictures (I was on a family vacation). Unless every photo byline is an explanation of your actions, people’s imaginations get the best of them. Even something as innocent as a peace sign will provide room for judgment. We all think our profiles are squeaky clean.
“There’s a girl I know who seems like a super sweet, quiet person…then I log onto her facebook,” senior Nalani Gruel said. “It’s her partying, Four Loko cans everywhere, pictures that look like she’s not even wearing clothes. Though I will say she has confidence.”
It’s not just our facebooks that can let us down, it’s the friends we choose, the clothes we wear, the way we do our hair that leads others to judge us. “Unfortunately, you’re judged by the people you hang around,” McClain said. “You’re influenced by a group. You may not be doing the wrong things they do but you’ll be judged by association. I think clothing dictates that as well. That part is a little different than when I was young.”
Freshman Kaitlyn Free agrees. “If I hang out with people that do things that I don’t agree with, that would lower my reputation,” she said. “Reputation is important and I don’t want people to think I do things that I don’t.”
According to McClain, “clothing is a symbol of our personal culture”. Our physical appearance, like it or not, is the only way we have to communicate who we are without, again, explaining all of life’s snapshots. You may think you look sexy in a low cut top, it may give you the confidence you need to get through the day, to go up to the guy you genuinely like. You just have to accept what others will. If you’re okay with their speculations, then go for it. Even if you wear the most conservative clothes in the world, you will be judged for them.
“I mean I wear the same jacket everyday, so, I guess people might think I’m poor or something,” senior Kyle Brautigam said. Well, Steve Jobs wore the same style turtlenecks every day.
What we’re saying is that, right or wrong, society forces us to judge based on appearances. There will always be those that rebel against that, and are obviously judged for it. There’s absolutely no escaping it.
So take a minute to think about how you portray yourself through your day to day life. We aren’t telling you to change, that wearing short skirts makes you easy, that taking shirtless facebook pictures (guys) makes you a tool. Just think about how you view others, how quickly you yourself judge, and how we allow others to judge us just as quickly and harshly.