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Op-ed

The Battle of “Looks”

Back in 2014, a very attractive mug shot of Jeremy Meeks was posted on Facebook by the Stockton Police Department that went viral all over the Internet. Everyone and their mother spent a few days drooling over Meeks’ symmetrical face, chiseled cheekbones and light blue eyes. It was later discovered that Meeks had been convicted for two years in prison for weapons violation (a longer sentence that Brock Turner, who sexually assaulted an unconscious women in the back of alley. But that’s a different story) but ultimately served a little over a year at a jail near Stockton, California.

However, with all this overnight fame came some negative comments from a variety of people. Many people were angered by the fans of the dreamy-eyed “hot felon” for their lack of appreciation on the veterans that were physically hurt by war. It really confused me. I truthfully didn’t see a correlation to the photo of a felon, who happened to be fairly attractive, and a veteran who fought in war. I like to believe that these are innocent things that people do when they’re bored on the Internet. Why take it so seriously?

Two years later, this entire situation leads me to ask questions, as one tends to do late at night when all is mellow and room for thinking is present, about image and the connection of love and looks. Do looks really matter in relationships? I was apprehensive about answering myself; this is a sensitive topic to different people who are generally perceived as “unattractive” in day-to-day life. After temporarily overcoming my anxiety and doing some thinking, thinking and more thinking I made my decision and decided that looks genuinely do matter when you’re out in the field of dating. In the age of technology, aren’t looks what helps you decide whether to turn right or left on that Tinder profile? Often times, an image of a person is all you have. Sure, it seems rather superficial but for as many pros there are cons.

That being said, let’s look deeper into this situation and realize that we all have varying tastes. (Before pursuing this any further, it’s important to note that your taste should not be racist, the “looks matter” ideology should not intersected with your racist point of view.) We all have different taste in people. I’ve showed many different men to my friends that I personally find attractive, but are horrifying in their eyes. I don’t believe that I am disrespecting any groups of people because, at the end of the day, nobody knows what my taste really is, including myself. There just seems to be this little part of my that finds someone overwhelmingly attractive, I just kind of know. Looks are subjective at the end of the day.

I’ve blown off different guys (I say this as if there’s millions lined up to date me) for having the most nauseating personalities ever. I’ve been in situations where I’ve hung out with people but ended up regretting it 15 minutes in. Were they ugly in my eyes? Nope. And I don’t want to confuse any of you, personalities mean as much to me as facial structures. They’re both things that lure me to certain people.

How is this connected to Jeremy Meeks in any way, shape or form? Simple. He is someone who is perceived in mainstream society as “perfect” which ultimately means that he’s attractive to more people than a regular person strolling down the street. Did everyone in the world find Meeks attractive? No. Should he have any connection with a veteran who lost his leg at war when fighting for his country? Double no. They’re two completely different situations with two different conversations.

People expel their complete disinterest in looks on the day-to-day basis but it’s so bogus about 90% percent of the time. We all have a certain idea on what beauty is and sometimes it’s conventional while other times it isn’t. Sometimes feelings lead you to ignoring what someone looks like and that’s normal. There’s nothing wrong with finding interest in someone’s personality rather than looks. I just don’t find it shameful to be interested in appearance. Own it while respecting everyone.

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Fernando Reyes
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High-school teenager with interests in fashion, writing and film.

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