Poll: How Others Perceive Us

Posted by on December 9, 2012 in Gender roles | 8 comments

This week, Caroline wrote a thoughtful post that asks the question, “Should we tell young girls that they are beautiful?”

In the comments, Richard K asked his wife a hypothetical question to better understand the implications for a woman to be told she is beautiful (or not). I think it makes an interesting poll for all our readers to consider.

After a few dates with someone you’re beginning to really like, your romantic interest abruptly ends things. Suppose this individual was rather candid about the reason.

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8 Comments

  1. I chose “unattractive” for two reasons: I wouldn’t believe any of the others because i know they aren’t true, but fear this one is true; and it’s the one about which I have the least power to improve.

    • That was precisely my reasoning — especially the first part. The others I would feel say more about him than they do about me. I did date a guy who thought I didn’t exercise enough. But the thing is I exercise for 45-60 minutes a day, six days a week. I have a very active lifestyle but I am not too worried about having a six-pack or muscular arms or whatever. For me it is about health and I enjoy it. I don’t care if I’m fast or whatever. He was on my case for not having defined abs. I concluded that he was shallow, rather than me being lazy. But unattractive? That would hurt a lot, because in my heart I worry and wonder or I would have in my dating days.

  2. I chose “weak testimony” because it seems like the one that is most fundamental to my person. For me, a testimony would include my values and how I fundamentally see the world. And ouch, that would hurt. And while my testimony has changed over time, it doesn’t feel like I’ve actively changed it but that my experiences have forced it to change. I know some people feel like you can have a particular testimony if you just want it enough, but I don’t think you can. Or more accurately, I don’t think I can. That option was the closest to someone saying, “I can’t stand your ‘you-ness.’” And so that would hurt the most.

    • I chose that one too, “Top Hat,” because I have once had someone close to me tell me that I “don’t have a testimony.” “In anything?” I asked. “In anything,” the individual answered. And it did hurt. Even though I profoundly disagree, and am not certain that human beings CAN accurately judge one another’s testimonies…

  3. I’m torn between weak testimony and shady character. The others are somewhat subject to opinion, but by the time I’d been on a few dates with someone, I would certainly hope they had gotten to know me well enough to see that I have a strong testimony and that I try to be honest and open about my life. These two attributes which would hurt me most are the only ones that could potentially keep me out of the temple and that’s an important distinction for me.

  4. I define beauty as not just superficial so I don’t know if that applies here, but I’ll pretend it does. “Beauty is reality seen with the eyes of love” for me. When I love someone, they are beautiful to me, flaws and all. So essentially if someone told me they found me unattractive I’d take it to mean that they just don’t love me, which would sting pretty bad. That said, I picked dull, because I’m more self conscious that I’m not smart enough, or that my goofy mannerisms give that impression. If someone doesn’t love me enough to find me beautiful, that’s still their problem. I find me beautiful (after a long journey getting there). So yeah.

  5. I don’t know why I find this survey so troubling (in a very mild sense–I’m certainly not criticizing the decision to post it). With the exception of the “shady character” option, I think none or all of the options could apply to me depending on the personality and perception of the other person. And if the other person truly thought that of me, I wouldn’t be interested in him either.

  6. My thanks go to the editors of ‘The Exponent’ for posting this survey. Both my wife and I have been enlightened both by comments from this post and the original post by Caroline, as well as by the survey results.

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