You’ve by now no doubt witnessed the mugshot seen around the world. On their Facebook page, the Stockholm Police Department posted a photograph of 30 year old Jeremy Meeks, allegedly arrested for felony weapon charges. The picture – though truly a mugshot – has so far been liked over 75,000 times and shared almost 10,000 times, and become a viral sensation on all forms of social media. It has even been featured on national news segments. Why? Because Jeremy Meeks is strikingly good-looking. With piercing steel blue eyes, perfectly tanned skin tone and a strong, chiselled jaw, Meeks is quintessentially beautiful. The one complaint of his looks seems to be a single tear drop tattoo at the corner of his left eye.
The point of this post isn’t to praise Jeremy Meeks’ appearance. Instead, I’m just incredibly interested in the reactions surrounding it… on both sides. According to Meeks’ mother, Katherine Angier, Jeremy is no criminal… at least not anymore. She argues that he is a hardworking father who was only stereotyped because of his old gang tattoos.
Flash forward today, and Jeremy Meeks is still trending because he is considered so beautiful. In fact, a photographed image of Meeks modelling for Calvin Klein is now making the rounds.
Does anyone see a pattern here? If Meeks’ mother is correct, and her son was only arrested because of his dangerous tattooed appearance, then his true character is being totally overlooked by the police in lieu of his looks. However, if the police are correct and Meeks truly was arrested because he was a danger on the streets, then everyone else is totally overlooking his true character in lieu of his looks. We have a situation where two polar extremes of a spectrum are alight with the same result.
Is this what our society has come to? Are we so intent on judging people by the way they look that we’re willing to completely ignore their personality? This works either way. Do we naturally assume that someone is a threat because they’re tatted or dressed a certain way? Are we inclined to believe that someone is inherently good because they’ve got a winning, charming smile? Tell me, at what point do we realise how insane it is to focus on what’s on the outside without giving the inside a chance to truly reveal the truth?