Day 2477: Looks can be deceiving.

Let’s look at the meaning of today’s title: “Looks can be deceiving.”

looks can be deceiving/deceptive


—used to say that something can be very different from how it seems or appears to be
The restaurant doesn’t look very appealing, but looks can be deceiving/deceptive.

I think many things and people can be deceiving, especially these days.  I wish that those who are commenting on the deceiving people would focus less on their looks and more on their deeds. For example, I’m tired of hearing how

  • Rudy Giuliani looks like a ghoul or a vampire (even if these observations are appropriate to the season) and
  • Donald Trump looks like a cheeto or something else orange.

After all, looks can be deceiving.  I’m sure there are people out there looking like ghouls, vampires,  cheetos, or other odd-looking things who are honest, kind, and effective leaders.  Likewise, there are people out there who look great and are deceiving, manipulative, and scary.

So why do we focus so much on looks?

I looked online and found this 2009  New York Times article Yes, Looks Do Matter, which includes these words:

… many social scientists and others who study the science of stereotyping say there are reasons we quickly size people up based on how they look. Snap judgments about people are crucial to the way we function, they say — even when those judgments are very wrong.

On a very basic level, judging people by appearance means putting them quickly into impersonal categories, much like deciding whether an animal is a dog or a cat. “Stereotypes are seen as a necessary mechanism for making sense of information,” said David Amodio, an assistant professor of psychology at New York University. “If we look at a chair, we can categorize it quickly even though there are many different kinds of chairs out there.”

Eons ago, this capability was of life-and-death importance, and humans developed the ability to gauge other people within seconds.

Susan Fiske, a professor of psychology and neuroscience at Princeton, said that traditionally, most stereotypes break down into two broad dimensions: whether a person appears to have malignant or benign intent and whether a person appears dangerous. “In ancestral times, it was important to stay away from people who looked angry and dominant,” she said.

Women are also subdivided into “traditionally attractive” women, who “don’t look dominant, have baby-faced features,” Professor Fiske said. “They’re not threatening.”

Indeed, attractiveness is one thing that can make stereotypes self-fulfilling and reinforcing. Attractive people are “credited with being socially skilled,” Professor Fiske said, and maybe they are, because “if you’re beautiful or handsome, people laugh at your jokes and interact with you in such a way that it’s easy to be socially skilled.”

“If you’re unattractive, it’s harder to get all that stuff because people don’t seek you out,” she said.

AGE plays a role in forging stereotypes, too, with older people traditionally seen as “harmless and useless,” Professor Fiske said. In fact, she said, research has shown that racial and ethnic stereotypes are easier to change over time than gender and age stereotypes, which are “particularly sticky.”

Since I’m an older woman, I have to work extra hard to prove that I am neither useless nor any other “particularly sticky” stereotype. I’m sure I’m not alone in needing to show that looks can be deceiving.

Let’s see if looks can be deceiving in any of my photos from yesterday.

Did you know that “Looks Can Be Deceiving” is on YouTube?

I’m not deceiving when I express my thanks to all who help me create these daily posts, including YOU.


Categories: personal growth, photojournalism | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | 27 Comments

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27 thoughts on “Day 2477: Looks can be deceiving.

  1. Looks may be deceiving, however is Eastern Beach, on Corio Bay, in Geelong, as good as it looks… Well my photos here, maybe sufficient enough to say …yes…

  2. Yes, they can, Ann. But sometimes they can be right on, too, as your photos show.

  3. Even on a cloudy day, that’s one undeceptively beautiful view!

  4. Indeed they can. I am always amazed, and envious, of the abilities of the blind to find beauty in so many ways. My way of viewing beauty is so shallow by comparison. Shallow also that I diverted from “looks” to “beauty”.

  5. Yesterday,a woman who spent her childhood in foster care told me that some teachers told her parents that she was “retarded,” based only on her appearance. She was born with a profoundly cleft palate and jaw and needed many surgeries throughout her childhood. Some teachers would tell her parents that she belong in a class for mentally handicapped children even though she was of normal intelligence. the effects of this were worse than the effects of being bullied by children. Fortunately she also had some amazing teachers. When she was in adults she obtained her file from the government, and found that even some doctors had advised her parents that she was “retarded” — they used that word. Can you imagine reading that in your file?

    I like the photos of the orange cat. I have an orange cat and for a brief moment I thought she was on vacation. my orange cat is very rare because she is a female orange cat and 99% of orange cats are male.

    • Thank you for your non-deceiving and compassionate thoughts, Maureen. Look for more pictures of that deceptively look-alike orange cat in today’s post.

  6. Fascinating post Ann. Your looks are deceiving you know … you don’t look old at all ❣️😎💛

  7. puella33

    People who rely on looks to create an opinion are very shallow. Perhaps people rely on appearance, because it’s the first thing to attract our main sense- our sight. We judge individuals we speak to on the phone by their tone of voice ( this may be a tad more accurate if we are to determine their comportment. However, on a light note, if we’re speaking to someone with whom we are dating and never met, requires more of a challenge to be objective.Since we rely on sight and hearing. I also noticed that we are perceived by others by the way we dress. I read a doctor’s open note once, that I was “well groomed”. What the heck does that mean- that patients are dogs who need grooming??? At the end of the day I strongly believe that beauty comes from within. I think we can ” get that feeling ” by being attracted to the inner beauty, actions and such. If we relied on outer looks, we could be deceived, if the person is attractive, but malicious or indifferent. I could write more, but I don’t want to bore people. Have a nice Sunday , Ann and everyone

    • Because I’ve looked at many medical notes, I’ve seen that “well-groomed” description, for sure — I think that’s part of a template treaters use to describe people. It’s helpful to consider how descriptions are going to be perceived by patients. Many thanks for this honest, helpful, and completely non-boring comment!

      • puella33

        I didn’t mean to offend anyone. That was not my intention. ” Well – groomed ” is an opinion. Isn’t it? So if the patient thinks he/she looks fine, the doctors might not think so and vice-versa, no?

      • No offense and thanks for another comment!

  8. I find it important not to judge people in first second Ann, sometimes they need a minute 😀
    I just thought, that you got yourself a new ginger beauty, who would fit perfect together with your other beauties 🙂
    I had a ginger male cat many years ago, he was a wonderful boy.
    Great sea photos Ann, they are very calming.

  9. It’s fascinating and very telling that standards of beauty have changed throughout time and from one culture to another. The spirit of the season reminds me of Baudelaire, who was a champion of the work of Poe, but whose philosophy was also that beauty can be found in everything.

  10. Some people look nice and friendly when they are really not, I look healthy but I am not

  11. Fabulous NYT article, Ann. I really enjoyed that. Perception of age is at times all-important. I can say that it’s all about how I feel about myself, and that’s important, but if others decide we are something else based on our age, then opportunities shrivel. It’s fascinating! I loved this post, my friend.

  12. I remember someone saying that ‘Beauty is skin deep but ugly goes all the way through’ which doesn’t make sense, however, when someone has an ugly character it’s easier to see their physical flaws. Great photos as always. Love the big Ginger ❤

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