Is it wrong to judge people based on the things they stick on their bodies?

-Do you ever make negative judgements towards people based on things like clothing, accessories, and styles?
Yes - an absence of piercings & tats; preppy clothing, mundane haircuts etc tends to make me avoid people. I know my kind. There’s a “look” - this doesn’t mean just extreme body art, it can be as simple as black jeans, a plain black t-shirt and Docs, but there’s definitely a “look”. If you don’t have it, it shows.

Actually, there are two looks, I guess. “RP geek” is a different look from Goth/Alternative, but distinct too.

  • Do you feel that this is a bad thing or something that serves a purpose?
    It serves an an instant “one of us” filter. I’ll speak to mundanes at parties and stuff, but I don’t go out looking for their company, IYKWIM.
    -*If you do admit to doing this, where do you draw the line? What separates you from an obnoxious snob?

Like I said, I can be incredibly social with mundanes if I have to be. I don’t think I’m a snob - my people come from all walks of life. I do prefer to hang with my own subcultures, though. Limited hours in the day etc.

That’s right. As a form of speech, though, tattooing is a pretty radical statement in and of itself, don’t you think? I think in some cases, people are judging on the format one uses for the speech, not the actual statement itself.

Excellent example of what I was talking about before…judgment and prejudice work both ways.

I can’t view a tattoo as particularly radical. They are simply too prevalent. It would be like viewing a t-shirt as radical, no matter what the t-shirt says.

Anecdote time!

I used to have a t-shirt that said “Winning isn’t everything. Attitude is.”

What I found amusing was that people would read that t-shirt in two different ways. Some people read it as “Winning isn’t everything. The way you approach everything is the important thing.”

And some people read it as “Winning isn’t everything. Swagger and arrogance are the important things.”

I meant the former. Many people apparently read the latter into it. Some people in the latter group commented negatively on the shirt. I assume that many others had a negative reaction but didn’t say anything.

No one ever asked me what it meant. They assumed. I would bet that many of the people didn’t even consider that there was another meaning.

That’s what I want to avoid.

I agree with this completely.

I try to keep an open mind because I’ve met so many people that are not what they seem, and I have been both pleasantly surprised by that and terribly disappointed. It just proves that you can’t tell much at all just by looking at someone.

I’ve felt judged for my tattoos, big boobs, young looks, etc., no matter how conservatively I’ve presented myself these things still show. For the most part, I don’t give a rat’s ass what anyone thinks, but occasionally (like at my daughter’s school) I will have need to interact with “grown-ups” who look down their nose at me. Fortunately, after about five minutes of conversation they realize they are talking to an intelligent and very pro-active parent. The first impressions cease to be a problem after that (for the most part).

My husband has gotten the same type of snobbery when going into his kid’s school. The faculty think he’s a lot younger than he really is, even though he’s 30-ish. Or maybe it’s that he didn’t turn into a bland suburbanite upon having children. Whatever it is, he thinks it’s pretty funny when people ask him if he’s his kids’ brother.

Woot, I have a name for the subgroup I’m in now! Are mundanes like muggles? :smiley:

Yeah, I make snap judgments, but I do my best to shove that judgment into a corner and start conversations with an open mind. My 70-year-old buddy who’s into birdwatching and hiking is part of my World of Warcraft guild. The weird-looking guy at the rodeo with all the piercings and the faux-hawk is actually a bronc rider. The goth chick that came in my bookstore the other day loves the same classics that I do.

Sometimes people just have different tastes. Just because you happen to think you look good in black and you have black hair doesn’t make you goth. Maybe you got that tattoo because you think it’s pretty, or dyed your hair cyan because it reminded you of an old friend. There is no deeper meaning. It shouldn’t make you an outsider.

Context makes a difference, though. I would never hire someone with facial piercings (other than ears) to work as a server in a restaurant. I’d never hire someone who was dressed and tatted like a gang member to work as a B2B software sales rep. Business is about making your customers feel comfortable with you and your employees. Little things matter.

There’s one judgment that I’ll snap to and hold to, and that’s when people are being intentionally obnoxious. If you are sporting a “fuck you” tattoo or wearing an “I screwed your mother” t-shirt, I have no interest in getting to know you. You’re just a prick.

Yeah, I have two prejudices I cannot shake. Too much Mary Kay or Merle Norman style make-up during the day screams insecurity to me, as does dressing in an overtly sexual style in an inappropriate environment. (Ladies, please don’t get out your see-through lace shirt and 7 inches of cleavage for a trip to Target.) But wearing funky clothing or body art just translates as “I’m living outside the box” to me.

I also know many buttoned down types with artistic and musical talent, but my experience with pierced and painted people is the opposite of what you describe. I live in a college town with a large art department and sizable counter culture, so my experience might be skewed a bit from the norm- but my friends and acquaintances with ink and extra holes are nearly all artists or musicians. Whether or not they are very talented is subjective, and I have no problem with someone advertising their interests and hobbies by wearing them on their skin. If they want to color outside the lines or just hang around people who color outside the lines; more power to them.

Also, Sarahfeena’s responses are right on for me. Very open and accepting point of view from someone else who (I think) is conservative in personal habit.

Pretty much, yes.

Thanks! Yes, I suppose I am one of those “mundanes” that MrDibble was referring to, at least these days…my personal lifestyle is fairly conservative. But I tend to have lots of different kinds of friends, and I was into the alternative scene when I was younger, so it’s not like I haven’t been around enough tattooed folks to know that they all have their good points & bad, just like anyone!

Jeez, what else is there?

The Indian from the Village People?
Morticia Addams?
String bikinis?
Business suits?
Ooooh! I know! Burqas!

What’s the look for RP geek then? I’ve been trying to spot some so I can find a group again, and the closest I’ve come in the last few years was overhearing someone who was traveling back to where I’d moved away from to play with the group I’d left (because I can’t afford to travel back and forth monthly, otherwise I would’ve continued to play with them).

Oh, and the guy in a Gangrel shirt who had bought it cuz it looked cool and was on sale. He sorta knew people who had mentioned it in passing.

This could be the hardest thing I’ve ever tried to change about myself. Judging people on sight for any reason whatsoever. It is one big ass job to tackle after living half my life doing that very thing. At least now I am able to catch myself while I’m doing it and correct it then. I never realized how much I do it and how a part of my life it used to be. One tough thing to kill.

You mean, as opposed to this?

As for me, I have a few. If I see someone with a Japanese tattoo, I’ll ask them a question in Japanese. If I get a blank look in response, then I know: moron, fanboy or wannabe.

I work at a job that requires creativity, but also reliability and long hours. Everyone at my office has quirks of one sort or another, but the ones who push the envelope (double-digit piercings, extensive tattooing, etc.) and want everyone to know it have, without exception, been far less ‘creative’ and far more ‘self-absorbed prima donna flake’. Vanishing for days in a row without warning and leaving everyone else to pick up their projects, padding 3-day business trips out to a week with ‘meetings’ that turn out to be visits to boyfriends, peppering their design work with insults about the clients, and other shit that the more ‘mundane’ designers didn’t pull yet still managed to turn out more creative ideas. I don’t know how much extensive body modding would affect a hiring decision, but they’d better have an impressive portfolio.

So these say something negative to you? What, pray?

(I already know my feet are fashion victims. 90% of the time I am wearing either these or these . Wintertime adds the ubiquitous black Doc shoes. Blame my wide feet and the fact that I’m hard as hell on my shoes.)

Tattoos, piercings, hairstyles, clothing etc. are the only things in which you can safely hang all your prejudices. They are all by choice of the wearer and thus a fair representation of that person’s attitudes.

I have my own impression of a person dressed all in black leather with heavy eye makeup. Likewise, I have my impression of a guy with white shoes, pressed polo shirt and $40K Rolex. I don’t need to hear a single word from them to know most of what I need to know about them.

That doesn’t mean I am not interested in hearing what they will say, just that I am coming to the homeplate with expectations about it. I am just as happy to be proved wrong, though.

If you have a look I don’t care for, chances are you won’t be invited to my next house party. If my work places you in front of me, though, expect to be treated with the same attention and respect as the next guy.

I’m not self-delusional enough to think I never judge anyone based on appearance. But I try to keep an open mind and never treat anyone differently because of it. I don’t know how successful I am.

I do know that, considering how much I dislike tattoos and excessive piercing, I have been in the situation of making friends with awesome people that I would never have befriended if I’d given in to my prejudices in that regard.

Where do I draw the line? I don’t know, it depends on the person, the appearance factors that I’d be judging on*, and the circumstances.

*Hygiene is a hard one for me. Likewise inappropriately sexy clothing, or anything meant to make one look like a thug or gangster.

Around here? Black jeans or camo cargo pants, anime-themed, webcomic or convention t-shirts, goatee, either skinhead or long hair. Either Caterpillar boots or Converse sneakers.

Or a MIB suit. But we all think M___ is strange.

-Do you ever make negative judgements towards people based on things like clothing, accessories, and styles?
Negative, positive and neutral, yes. But because of my own history of having to wear clothes I don’t identify with, they tend to be phrased as “she’s dressed as a …” rather than “she’s a …”
- Do you feel that this is a bad thing or something that serves a purpose?
Clothes are a part of how you present yourself to the world, part of your card. It does serve a purpose: it can say “I work here” or “I’m a visitor here,” “I’m a teacher” or “I’m a student,” “I’m a professional” or “I’m an uptight ass” or “I’m a clown.”
-If you do admit to doing this, where do you draw the line? What separates you from an obnoxious snob?
The knowledge that there’s always more to anybody than meets the eye.
As a net-met friend put it during a fest involving a dozen people from our favorite game “based on our clothes, nobody would think we like the same music, movies and hobbies - yet we all do!”

Friends have asked me many times to translate a favorite song or other. Quite a few times I’ve asked them if they were sure, “I think you may like it better in the original, promise.” Every time they’ve said yes, yes, they want to know what it means.

I guess I can proudly say that several of my non-English-speaking relatives aren’t willing to listen to music dissin’ either gender or calling for murder. Why are there so many mega-boppy songs with horrid lyrics, I wonder?