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Children’s Appearance and Attitude of Adults Toward Them

Appearance does not determine the nature, actions, or qualities of a person; however, it is important for the first perception. Adults are used to making the first impression of a stranger by judging his or her clothes, appearance, and even skin color, as they are more or less affected by acquired stereotypes. At the same time, such an attitude also refers to children when people try to determine its origin, nature, and even behavior by appearance. Unfortunately, the stereotypes of adults often harm children who do not deserve it because they are treated with contempt, anger, or descent only because of their appearance, which is clearly illustrated by examples of their literature and cinema.

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Understanding a person of their appearance, as well as self-esteem is formed in childhood under the influence of adults and peers. The story of Pecola from the novel The Bluest Eye is an example of such an impact as the girl believed that her black skin and dark eyes made her ugly. Pecola thinks that if she is more beautiful, her parents have fewer quarrels, and her mother loves her more (Morrison, 45-46). At first glance, such an idea seems absurd, but the plot of the book demonstrates that the girl is right. A quote about how Mrs. Breedlove bathes a white girl filled with tenderness and love for the girl’s appearance, her white skin, and blonde hair. In another scene, when Pecola accidentally knocks the cobbler and douses with hot juice, her mother hits her hard and instead consoles a white girl who was upset about the cake (Morrison, 109). Numerous details show that Mrs. Breedlove does not like her life and treats her daughter terribly, while the snow-white porcelain house and the angelic appearance of Fisher’s girl evoke warm feelings in her. Such an attitude is unfair and terrible towards a child since the girl is not to blame that her parents living a life that they do not like.

Another example of a biased attitude towards a child is the scene in Geraldine’s house. Although Pecola was a victim of deception and tried to save a cat from Junior, his mother believed that the girl killed the animal only by looking at her ragged clothes (Morrison, 91). This attitude of adults also shaped the behavior of Pecola, who wanted to have light skin and prayed for blue eyes. She loved Shirley Temple by seeing that she was beautiful and that people like her for her pretty face. Although it is not completely clear how Pecola’s father would behave with his daughter, if she had a different appearance, since the man had problems with alcohol and women, so he probably did the same. However, the mother had to protect her child and not kick her out on the streets. Such an act of hers demonstrates her cruelty and again tells about her unfair treatment of her daughter. However, if she comforted Fisher’s child because of a broken cake, she would have protected her in this case.

This aspect of the unfair attitude of adults to children because of their appearance is also highlighted in the scene of The Littlest Rebel, where Shirley Temple painted her face and hands with shoe polish. Although the girl behaves rudely with a soldier, he wants to teach her a lesson and punch her when he thinks she is black; however, when he realizes that in front of him is a white girl, he becomes softer (Butler). Further, the same attitude is demonstrated by another officer who smiles even when the girl shoots him with a slingshot (Butler). If the black child had done so, the officer would hardly have been so patient. This attitude is created by discrimination and racism, which explains the stereotypes that exist in society since at those times, black people had no chance to become important for white. However, modern society has a fairer view of diversity and does not put an appearance in the first place. Although bias still exists, and some adults still allow their stereotypical attitude to dominate, yet parents understand the importance of loving and caring for their children regardless of their appearance. A person is characterized by his or her deeds and not facial features or skin color.

Images of children are often used in advertising to draw attention to a product or problem, and usually, marketers also focus on appearance. Benetton’s advertisement was most likely aimed at showing the equality and unity of different children; however, it also causes conflicting feelings. A white and black girl cuddles in the photograph, but their images are the opposite. The white girl has curly hair and lovely cheeks, and she smiles joyfully. At the same time, the black girl looks too serious and even a little scared. This combination makes the viewer choose a joyful and light image of a white girl, and only reinforces the stereotypes regarding black children. Consequently, adults form images and stereotypes about appearance, which in turn affect the attitude and perception of people to others.

In conclusion, these examples are based on children’s race and demonstrate that adults are ruder to children who do not look like a cupid. Adults are more suspicious, have distrust, and even contempt for children who, in their opinion, cannot occupy a high place in society. Although these trends continue in the modern world, they are still declining due to legal and cultural changes in the United States that push people to treat everyone equally. However, society still needs to get rid of many stereotypes to establish that love and care for children is decisive for their future but not their appearance.

Works Cited

Butler, David, director. The Littlest Rebel. 20th Century Fox, 1935.

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Morrison, Toni. The Bluest Eye. Vintage International, 2007.

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StudyCorgi. (2022, January 6). Children’s Appearance and Attitude of Adults Toward Them. Retrieved from https://studycorgi.com/childrens-appearance-and-attitude-of-adults-toward-them/

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StudyCorgi. (2022, January 6). Children’s Appearance and Attitude of Adults Toward Them. https://studycorgi.com/childrens-appearance-and-attitude-of-adults-toward-them/

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"Children’s Appearance and Attitude of Adults Toward Them." StudyCorgi, 6 Jan. 2022, studycorgi.com/childrens-appearance-and-attitude-of-adults-toward-them/.

1. StudyCorgi. "Children’s Appearance and Attitude of Adults Toward Them." January 6, 2022. https://studycorgi.com/childrens-appearance-and-attitude-of-adults-toward-them/.


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StudyCorgi. "Children’s Appearance and Attitude of Adults Toward Them." January 6, 2022. https://studycorgi.com/childrens-appearance-and-attitude-of-adults-toward-them/.

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StudyCorgi. 2022. "Children’s Appearance and Attitude of Adults Toward Them." January 6, 2022. https://studycorgi.com/childrens-appearance-and-attitude-of-adults-toward-them/.

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StudyCorgi. (2022) 'Children’s Appearance and Attitude of Adults Toward Them'. 6 January.

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