“Smart people know what smart people look like”

In New Zealand, it is time for the local body elections, and in preparation for this there are big signs everywhere promoting this candidate or that. Personally I am not very interested in the local body elections. I know nothing about the candidates and I am not very motivated to find out. I would go as far to say that I may not bother to vote at all. However, that all changed when my son asked me about it in the car last night. He asked me how to vote and I explained about the postal vote. He sounded concerned and wanted details, leading me to conclude that he thought he would be voting. I gently explained that you had to be eighteen years old to vote but he could help me choose if he wanted to. It struck me that my eight year old son was more aware of being and acting like a citizen than I was. I resolved to find out more and make an informed vote. While we waited at the traffic lights we talked about the different people bidding for our vote. There seem to be two main candidates (based on the size and amount of their signs). One a woman and the other a man. I will see if I can get photos later. Based on these photos alone my son chose his favorite. It was the man. I asked him why and he said it was because he looked smart. The man was older, bald and wore glasses. I thought to myself, does the man look smart because he is wearing glasses? It that what an eight old thinks smart looks like. I asked him and he said this. “Smart people know what smart people look like…. And I am very smart”. (Secret laughter inside my head). It got me thinking because I just don’t believe you can tell how smart someone is based on their appearance. Food for thought.

What is your opinion? Can you tell how smart a person is based on how they look? Share your thoughts in the comments section below. Thanks!


4 thoughts on ““Smart people know what smart people look like”

  1. I just had a little giggle about Ryan’s comment. I doubt you can tell whether a person is smart or not at a glance. At this day and age,a lot of people try to portray themselves as smarter in person or in social media. Mainly because nowadays most people are superficial and judge easily so you try and make a good first impression.

    • Thanks for your comment, Marje! I agree that first impressions are important especially now days when everyone has to compete for our attention. I think especially in the case of the elections if you are not ‘attracted’ to a candidate, you may not take the time to look any further into their policies etc. I have just experienced this as there is another candidate, a much older woman with short grey hair and a fuzzy glamour shot for her campaign photo. I am instantly turned off by her image but I saw a couple of days ago that she is the one who is working hard to get a new playground installed in my street. I can’t argue with her good work, so I will probably vote for her even though I think her photo is unfortunate. If I had not looked at the playground plans I would never have seen who was responsible and I would have written her off as just another candidate, not worth my time.

  2. Your son’s comment made me laugh. He is indeed smart. But he also made me wonder whether we don’t yield to stereotypes from early on in life: was it the glasses? Was it because he was a man? Clearly he acted unconsciously, speaking his truth and maybe, clever boy that he is, he also picked up on signals society sends out.
    I know we can’t tell how smart someone is just based on looks but I also know we make assumptions based on looks.

    • Thanks for your comment, Claudia. Reading your words has prompted me to think there must be some branch of marketing that focuses on image and first impressions. If we can ‘define’ what smart looks like (well dressed, glasses, older, etc) then we could all appear smart should we choose to because there is an easy formula to follow. Perhaps if I wore a lab coat all day or dressed as a librarian people would recognise my incredible intellect (hehe). However I am reminded there are other valuable qualities, like caring about others or having a good sense of humour which may not sit well with ‘looking smart’. I am sure those seeking world domination ‘look smart’, I may not trust them to run my local council though.

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