Blog Post 6 – You Cant Judge a Book by its Cover

As you can tell by the title, this post examines the stereotypes underlying our culture.┬áMost little kids, including myself, picked books out of the library or Barnes and Nobles based on the cover. If I saw a baseball on the front, I automatically assumed that I would enjoy reading the Mike Lupica story. Sometimes, it was the cases, and often times it wasn’t. After spending time with, “Coding Like a Girl” and “Computer Geeks replaces Computer Girls,” I began to think how we can’t judge a “book” by its cover in the real world.

The two article examine female coders and the lack of “recognition” they receive from fellow coders strictly due to their gender and appearance. In one of the articles, a female coder went to a conference in a dress with makeup and her hair done. The results of her day were shocking. Not one person approached her to discuss work, coding and the future of female coders. The only interaction she had with fellow coders and computer geeks was when she asked them questions to demonstrate that she was extremely intelligent. That night she went home and debated not going back to the conference the following day. Instead of staying away, she wore jeans and a tee-shirt. Couple with the change in wardrobe, she didn’t do her hair and didn’t wear any makeup. When she showed up to the conference, the two days couldn’t even be compared.

Not only does this happen with gender, but it also happens with race. Davidson College Men’s Basketball team is not ranked 24th in the AP top 25 Poll as well as the USA today Coach’s Poll. Do to the general stereotypes of the top 25 and basketball players in general, outsiders with little knowledge of Davidson would think that our team was very athletic, tall and a majority of our players would be African American. Look at Georgetown University. They are number 23, only one spot ahead of us. There team is almost completely African American and they have 7 players over 6 feet 8 inches. Davidson College has four African American Players and only 4 players over 6 feet 8 inches. Davidson has an extremely talented team but you cannot look at the number 24 before our school an make assumptions about our roster just as you couldn’t with the female coders.

In today’s world, it is extremely hard to generalize certain jobs, sports teams, schools and genders in particular fields, yet we find ourselves doing it all the time. Why do we judge “books” by their covers all the time just to find ourselves making common mistakes due to stereotypes? This fact is very concerning to me and is the driving cause for this post.

2 thoughts on “Blog Post 6 – You Cant Judge a Book by its Cover

  1. I think we judge “books” by their covers because it’s just easier. When you don’t actually think critically about something, it’s much easier to come up with an explanation than it is if you take multiple interpretations into consideration.

    Perhaps we also judge things at face value so that we feel smarter — if we think that we can explain every situation, we feel more powerful, or like we are superior to those who can’t come up with an explanation. I’m not sure that this is necessarily a correct explanation of why we tend to take things at face value, but I know that sometimes I’ll subconsciously find myself “explaining” a concept to others even when I don’t know much about the concept. Maybe it’s for a sense of superiority, maybe it’s for something else.

  2. I also wrote about these social stereotypes that we have of certain people. I did my Gender Hack on masculinity and how that can be just as oppressive as femininity because there are certain criteria that men are expected to achieve, just as there are certain criteria that women are expected to achieve. I would be interested to see how people treat a more effeminate man versus a masculine man in the workplace and if the effeminate man would face similar obstacles that a feminine woman faces. After reading these pieces, I reflected on how I was treated differently by people based on my appearances. My major advisor has pushed me to be more assertive/confident during presentations, papers, and class discussions because femininity is often perceived as a lack of confidence. However, if I’m too confident or assertive, then I run the risk that Julia Allison faced in a previous reading in which she is perceived as obnoxious.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *