Personal Image: Society’s Intolerance Of Deviati

1516 words - 6 pages

We belong to a society that appreciates and values individualism. We proudly call ourselves the ?melting pot.? However, are there limitations to our acceptance to said individualism? Do we not as a whole form snap judgments about other based solely upon the personal image they portray? Although few will admit to doing so, we are all guilty of this injustice.In most cases, these judgments may be deemed harmless. Several people even make them subconsciously. But forming opinions about a person based solely upon what they look like isn?t a very fair or just way to determine one?s character. Anytime members of society encounter a personal image that does not coincide with the generally accepted norm, these judgments and opinions are made. Why is society as a whole so intolerant of deviations from the norm? These individuals who dare to portray a self-image that does not match this norm are often penalized for their actions. If you have passed someone on the street or in the supermarket and thought to yourself ?Wow, they?re weird,? they have probably presented you with an alternative image to the norm. Instances of these alternative personal images may include, but are certainly not limited too, tattoos and piercing, a unique hair coloring, vivid makeup, or unusual clothing. So why is it in a country that supposedly values individualism do we find it so hard to accept any deviations to the norm? Let us look more specifically at a situation we will all be faced with. Take for instance personal image relative to the job market. Each different profession carries with it a particular image. Any individual wishing to enter into a certain profession is expected and in most cases required to fit the image criteria associated with it. Lawyers cannot show up to work with long untidy beards, numerous tattoos or outrageous piercings. This typically goes for the majority of what we consider to be professional careers. Alternatively, we may view it as odd if a popular rock group would show up in concert wearing three-piece suits and sporting freshly manicured haircuts.However, personal image is not strictly confined to clothing and body art. Personal image could also consist of a person?s weight. In recent news a woman working as a waitress for a Ruby Tuesday restaurant claims she was fired for being overweight. The company denies such allegations, but insists that it is company policy to set high standards for both performance and appearance for their employees. They simply stated that she did not fit the ?image.? This employee of two years was recently named employee of the month and can justify no other reason for her termination. Although it is illegal to fire someone on the basis of sex, race or religion, it is not illegal to fire someone over weight.Has physical attractiveness become such an important part of self-image? Why has society suddenly become obsessed with beauty? Television reality shows, plastic surgery and extreme makeovers flood our televisions...

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