I was listening to a popular FM radio station this morning on the way to my bus, and I heard a discussion between a male and female disk jockey about what sort of person each gender finds attractive. The female disk jockey opined, as is common, that men judge women primarily by their physical appearance, while women are more likely to look below the surface. The male disk jockey countered that by noting that women are quick to overlook character flaws in a handsome male, such as Brad Pitt or Russell Crowe. A quick consideration brought me to the guy’s side; a glance at magazine covers, top-name stars and calendar models reveals that women are every bit as attracted to physical beauty as men, but they are apparently more willing to lie about their motive. After all, there’s a reason why firefighter calendars sell out in days, but there is no demand for calendars with accountants known for their integrity. Women first judge men by their appearance just as often as men do women. The difference in actual lewd conduct seems to be far more due to environmental opportunity and peer pressure, than to a superior ethical position for one gender.
Society lies. The male/female stereotypes are one example, but there are many other places where a little contemplation shows the conventional opinion to be far from accurate. Rising gas prices must be the result of corporate greed rather than poor planning by governments, for example, or that the party which historically supported Slavery and resisted Civil Rights legislation, is yet the party which best defends minorities and looks out for their rights. Or the claim that talk radio, which allows direct feedback from listeners, is unfair and biased, while network television, which not only does not allow for counterviews to its positions, but has also been caught in several deliberate frauds in recent years, is still somehow more professional and responsible. Or the notion that only one race can act in a racist manner. Or the claim that the nation which frees a country from a despot, is worse than that dictatorship for protecting itself.