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Why no one can escape being called shallow


With ABC News program Nightline testing the amount of obnoxious behavior people are willing to tolerate from others based on their “good looks,” or a study by the scientific journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences finding that attractive men are more likely to receive funding for their start-up businesses, it is clear physical appearance remains a central factor when judging others. 

As much as everyone would like to sit atop a moral high horse, playing lifeguard for those splashing in the three-foot area of the pool, one way or another, today no one is safe from being
called shallow.

The word has been tossed around carelessly nowadays as the line between having preferences and being superficial becomes all the more blurred. Often a guy finds himself in the middle of – or a girl find herself overhearing – a
conversation in which can simply be classified as “no fat chicks.”

Unflattering names may be coming to mind when describing the men engaging in this conversation – granted, the word “fat” isn’t very flattering in itself. It’s considered socially normal to criticize these men for making such
a statement.

However, the situation seemingly becomes different when it
is flipped.

It’s not uncommon for a group of women to have a similar discussion about “short guys.” In fact, not only is it the norm for those conversations to take place, but it is also widely accepted.

The question then becomes if it is fine for women to choose men based on a physical attribute they have no control over, why are men criticized for picking women based on something that can be changed?

The answer is that it’s not fine. Yet, the real answer should be that no one should care. 

Break down those two conversations to their most basic element and you essentially have one group that prefers sexual partners that are taller and one that prefers them at a lighter weight. This is where the line between one’s preference and one’s shallowness get tossed aside just so the critics can feel they possess the moral high ground.

Now is when those same critics shout the cliche advising everyone to not “judge a book by its cover,” because a book that looks great isn’t necessarily interesting.

Only when one starts to judge another’s personality strictly based on looks, or when personality isn’t even a deciding factor, is the word “shallow”
acceptably used. 

It’s not considered judging if someone doesn’t like a certain physical attribute on a person and chooses not to pursue that individual. It might suggest pickiness, but knowing what one wants certainly does not equal
being shallow.

It’s almost as if some people have a fear of being called shallow by others when they merely have a preference.

But many couples would say physical attractiveness is imperative to a successful relationship. If a husband was asked to list the top three reasons why he fell in love with his significant other, there’s a good chance the words “cute,” “beautiful,” “handsome” or some variation of these will come up.

By all means, if taking looks into account to any extent is shallow when looking for “the one,” then everyone can enjoy playing in the kiddie end of the community pool from now on.


Adam Fenster is a senior
majoring in mass communications.