Do You Look Down On Others?

Do You Look Down On Others?

In a touching first person article, Ada Calhoun talks about how she and her friends spent a summer in a photo lab, mostly making fun of the people in the photos.

To be fair, she was 21, and to be fair, we ALL judge people based on appearance and come to false conclusions about them. Hell, in my 20’s, I used to go to bars with my roommate and we’d make up limericks about total strangers just to entertain ourselves since we didn’t have the guts to approach women.

The people you’re making fun of are often a lot happier and better adjusted than you are.

But, there’s often a deep underlying irony when it comes to schadenfreude. Namely that the people you’re making fun of are often a lot happier and better adjusted than you are.

Says Calhoun, “We made fun of the people in the pictures for being desperate, but no one was more desperate than we were. At parties I often pretended to be someone named Amy and occasionally mud-wrestled. I was living with a boyfriend I would later marry and quickly divorce. Stephen frequently confessed to me sordid exploits that even I was shocked by. Richard had sworn off love and sex altogether. We were deeply flawed, unhappy people with lousy lives.”

I know that I was a wiseass kid. I know that I still have a streak of that in me. But I’ve also grown more compassionate and understanding of strangers, and attempt to put myself in their shoes instead of demonizing them. In fact, the only time you’ll see me get a bit agitated in the comments section of this site is when a stranger has taken absolutely no pains to try to understand ME – and resorts to insults, name-calling, or merely asserting that I’m wrong.

So, please, read this short piece about looking down on others and try to look at your fellow citizens through a prism of compassion, instead of scorn.

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Comments:

  1. 31
    Laura

    @Lurking

    You cannot look at online dating (or any dating) as a form of abuse. Yes these men are judging us and we are judging them too. But personally I am proud of myself every time I agree to meet someone and put myself on the line to be judged because there is a chance that I will learn something, meet a friend, have a nice time or maybe just maybe, form a connection. Sure it’s safer for our egos to stay home and shun the dating scene but is it realistic? and does it serve you in the end? I say take Evan’s advice, build yourself up and then get out there and take the good with the bad.

  2. 32
    Christine

    That is a good way to look at it Laura.  It certainly would have been safer for my ego to always just stay at home but, then of course you’ll never have true love.  It’s analogous to how you can study really hard for a test and still not get the best grade in the class–but if you don’t try and don’t study at all, it’s guaranteed that you won’t.  You can go on a lot of dates and still not find love.  It certainly is frustrating to think of all the wasted time and effort spent on dating that never went anywhere.  However, if you never date you’ll pretty much guarantee that you’ll never find it (well once in a blue moon I suppose you can meet someone by chance, but how often does that happen?) So the only real alternative I can think of is to grit your teeth through the setbacks and keep forging ahead.

  3. 33
    Paula

    I was really displeased about someone commenting on how as an Asian woman, she cannot find men online. That’s just an excuse. Lots of white men find Asian women attractive because they are seen as exotic. In fact, many of you Asians are ‘stealing’ our white men. Many men will go overseas and try to land Asian brides because they are seen as more desireable then us North American white women.  Please don’t blame your age or your ethnicity for your lack of prospects. There are plenty of white men that dig Asians (bad news for white women like me who prefer white men) and there are plenty of Asian men looking for an Asian wife. Honestly, I think Asian women have a bigger pool of men to select from then white women. It’s pretty rare for a white woman to marry an Asian man. They are just not as desired as the white male. (I only know of one Asian man/White woman couple and very rarely I see such a couple in the very multicultural city of Toronto. It’s usually the white man with a brown/black or Asian woman)

  4. 34
    Lucy

    I just joined online dating again after a break and came across a profile where a guy said he won’t date anyone with weird eyebrows, is ginger, or has a huge forehead or above 12 stone. I wrote off an email chastising him for putting that in this profile. hah I would never dream of putting something like that in my profile. 
    @Paula – I did date an Asian man and really his race made no difference to me. But unfortunately I have to confess that I find white men more attractive through no fault of my own. I also think that in Asian cultures women have a different status (even for second generation immigrants). I couldn’t be that woman he wanted. I felt I was the one with the burden of compromise. Compromise should be about both making sacrifices for a better solution, and not one person giving up a lot for another. In my experience men never really appreciate how much you sacrifice for them or at least they don’t really appreciate the pressures which come with being a woman in modern times. Feminism has made it so much harder for us. Men still take it for granted that we’ll do all the homely domestic things and somehow think we can do that in addition to a stressful job. So I think it adds more to our plate than ever before. 

  5. 35
    Helen

    Paula 34: “many of you Asians are ‘stealing’ our white men.”
     
    News flash – you don’t own white men. So they’re not yours to steal.
     
    If you continue with an attitude like that, you’re not going to get far with the opposite sex. Men don’t like to feel that they’re someone else’s property. Maybe it’s because Asians realize that that many of us succeed with men of all races.

  6. 36
    Karl R

    Paula said: (#34)
    “In fact, many of you Asians are ‘stealing’ our white men.”
    When did I become the collective property of white women?
    I don’t care what race you are. I’m not attracted to bigotry. I’m not attracted to possessiveness.
     
    Lucy said: (#35)
    “Compromise should be about both making sacrifices for a better solution, and not one person giving up a lot for another.”
    Ideally, that is true. But let me put a different perspective on it. I control whether I give up a lot for my wife. I have no ability to decide whether she makes any sacrifice for me. To whatever extent you expect/insist that the other person make sacrifices, you take control out of your own hands and put it into the other person’s hands.
    Lucy said: (#35)
    “In my experience men never really appreciate how much you sacrifice for them or at least they don’t really appreciate the pressures which come with being a woman in modern times.”
    Similarly, you don’t recognize all the sacrifices that men make for you or the pressures on them. That’s human nature.
    As a rule of thumb, assume a person will recognize all of the sacrifices he or she makes for a relationship, but about half of the sacrifices his/her partner makes. Therefore, the only way it can ever feel like your partner is pulling the same weight as you is if you’re not pulling your own weight.

  7. 37
    Goldie

    @ Paula #34, the men you are talking about want an Asian woman, not for herself, but because they have some sort of a weird fetish where they want a woman of a certain race. Or, they’ve heard it somewhere that all Asian women are submissive so they want an obedient wife, and they think any Asian woman they pick at random, is going to be one. As an Eastern European woman I have experienced both attitudes to some extent. Personally I would never ever date a man who sees me as a token and not a person that I am. Not only is he going to be disappointed that I am not a typical (insert race/ethnicity), his attitude is borderline racist and as such highly unattractive. However it’s not all bad; a good portion of these men you see with “a brown/black or Asian woman” are just plain colorblind and choose a woman for who she is, not for her origin. You may want to try that approach sometime, it works great for a lot of people, especially, I would imagine, in a diverse city like Toronto!

  8. 38
    Ruby

    Lucy #35
     
    “Feminism has made it so much harder for us. Men still take it for granted that we’ll do all the homely domestic things and somehow think we can do that in addition to a stressful job. So I think it adds more to our plate than ever before.”
     
    I notice that some younger women, who didn’t experience life prior to the feminist movement, tend to take the opportunities that women have gained post-feminism, for granted. It’s not the fault of “feminism” that some men still don’t pitch in with domestic duties. It’s men themselves (and women who accept the do-it-all mentality) who control how much work they do around the home, not feminism. Feminism has made it more acceptable – and possible – for women to work outside the home, and for men to be stay-at-home dads, if they so choose.

  9. 39
    Sara

    @Paula I have four sisters. One is married to a Vietnamese man, one is married to a man from Yemen, and one is married to a black man. People are attracted to other people for a variety of reasons, and no, in the cases of my sisters, it is most definitely NOT because my sisters are “submissive” in any way. We were just raised to view all races as equal, so any prejudice that people have simply didn’t matter. We also grew up in a tiny, rural town in Michigan, which is primarily white, not some racial melting pot. People are attracted to others for whatever reason, but the idea that asian women are “stealing” our men is just an excuse. It reminds me of black women complaining about black men dating white women. I used to work with some, was friends with some who would get angry that my sister was “stealing” their men.

  10. 40
    Lucy

    @Ruby – Thanks. That makes sense. I just meet so many men like my dad who say that they believe in feminism but that women should do all housework as well as having a job. He says that if he helped around the home it would mean  he wasn’t manly and  he sees guys who are stay at home as mugs who’ve lost their masculinity. I’m not sure how relevant those opinions are.

  11. 41
    Ruby

    Lucy #41
     
    It’s too bad that your dad feels that way. I hope you won’t let his opinions have too much influence over you. Doing domestic chores, or even being a stay-at-home dad has nothing to do with a man’s manliness, but more about everyone in a family contributing to the common good. Stick to your beliefs and I’m sure you’ll find a supportive man.

  12. 42
    Christine

    Paula@34, that’s news to me!  I wish that the world were different but, as Evan covered in another thread, the dating world isn’t colorblind, unfortunately.  Most of the white men I’ve encountered on mainstream dating sites such as match.com either screen me out immediately for not being white, or are a “fetishist” who only likes me for his stereotypes of what he thinks Asian women are like (a small percentage were genuinely interested in me at the beginning and then it didn’t work out for other reasons such as lack of chemistry in person, lack of compatibility, etc.) However, now I’ve built up my self-confidence again to the point where I don’t care anymore what those guys think of me.  Frankly, I don’t want a narrowminded guy who immediately dismisses me based on my race (or stereotypes me as some “exotic” object), so I’m not missing out on anything by losing those guys as options.  However, as frustrating as that is, I can’t control other people’s prejudices.  I’m learning to just focus on what I can control (i.e. what I can do better and my choices in men–like perhaps opening up my own age range to those older men in their 40s)
    Well, online dating has certainly been humbling, and at least made me a lot more empathetic than I used to be.  Now I know what it’s like to be looked down on, so now I’m much less inclined to do that with other people.

  13. 43
    Jennifer

    some like to feel like they still have power over people and it’s and adrenalyn rush.   Kind of sick eh?

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