Growing up in middle-class white America, I was constantly told, “Don’t judge a book by its cover!” This wasn’t merely a feminist rallying cry; it was a lesson in how to view all sects of society—blacks, nerds, jocks, fat people, rednecks, thugs, et cetera. Of course, we all learned to parrot this doctrine without questioning it, even if we rarely actually followed it. It made sense to us—there’s so much more to a book than the three words written on its cover. To judge a book before reading it would be prejudice, and there is no worse sin for a middle-class white child than to judge another person before truly getting to know them and their circumstances.

Assuming blue pill dogma is true, this is at best a false analogy. Covers are designed to market a book. The title and pictures inform you what kind of book it is, and there will likely be a synopsis and genre label on the back. Publishing companies totally want you to judge the book by its cover, hence why they put so much effort into making it catch your eye. If I want to read some bondage erotica, I’m not going to pick a book with a spaceship on the front.

However, blue pill dogma is heresy. Ubiquitous and mandatory, but heresy nonetheless. Just as you can judge a book by its cover, so too can you judge people based on their physical appearance, because it is by physical appearance that we market ourselves to the world. You wouldn’t wear a t-shirt to a job interview any more than a children’s mystery novel would have a man smoking on it. That’s just not appropriate.

The Myth Of Ugly Women

At this point the casual reader will say, “But people can’t help how they look! It’s not fair!” This is a lie. Few women are naturally ugly. Usually if a woman is ugly, it is something that she’s done to her body such as bad make-up, aberrant piercings, or weight. The blue pill congregant will claim that some people can’t help being fat because of a medical condition, but that is a tiny minority. Most people can do something even though it may require self-discipline.

One of the most essential aspects of a woman’s beauty is her hair. A simple change of hair can radically alter a woman’s beauty. Hair is such a symbol of femininity and sexuality that many cultures have women wear headscarves in public or in religious buildings. Some places are considered to be important enough that women should not be beautiful, either to repel men or to show reverence for the structure’s purpose.

While it is true that some women are definitely more beautiful than others, most are close to average in their natural state. Maybe a girl is born with bug-eyes or freckles, but there are usually things she can do to offset it. Even if this is not the case, most men will understand that she made an effort in her presentation. That’s the key element—presentation. The way you present yourself to the world says something about the way you want to be judged. And yes, we all want people to judge us. Not a single one of us “just doesn’t care what anyone thinks.”

Being Judgmental

I was at a friend’s house a few months back and met her sister-in-law. The girl was in her late 20s, had very short hair, and was covered in tattoos. The worst tattoo by far was of a mustache on the side of her finger, like the kind of drunk frat joke you see on most girls’ Facebook profiles, though without the same permanence. Knowing nothing about this girl, I can tell everything I need to know about her. There is a difference between the woman a man wants to fuck and the woman a man wants to make love to. This girl is a fun person to be around, but is never someone a red pill man would consider committing to because her entire physical appearance screams instability.

The thing about weight is that it’s a sign of health. Women complain about how they’ll never be supermodel-skinny, but most men want to marry a woman whose ribcage they can see.* This is all unconscious animal instinct, and no amount of propaganda in either direction will ever change this reality. It’s also the exact reason women are attracted to strong men. I will probably never need to defend a woman with my fists, but having large muscles is a sign of health. Image-consciousness cuts both ways, and a weak man is equivalent to a fat woman.

Choices Have Consequences

Prejudice against physical appearance is totally fair. If you choose to have purple hair or a nose ring, know that you are greatly limiting yourself as a long-term relationship candidate. “Yes, but sometimes women may look good like that,” the blue pill congregant argues. No, if a woman looks good with aberrant hair, tattoos or piercings, it’s always in spite of those aberrancies, not because of them.

Another thing to consider, and this is critical, is that men will want to show you off to their friends. If you assume that there exists men who never present women as a trophy wife, then at the least you will meet his family and friends eventually. Like it or not, society has a prejudice against people looking unnatural, even if tacitly. Will a man really want to be the guy with the weird girlfriend? He’ll tell his friends, “Yeah, she’s pretty independent, but…” and then what will he say? She’s good in bed, she’s nice, she likes the Decemberists? Notice there was a “but.” The man likely said that without even thinking. He found your excessive independence repulsive without even realizing it. If you choose to be socially deviant, don’t be surprised when society rejects you.

And that’s the thing about a bug-eyed girl who attends to her physical appearance. Yes, her eyes are a negative feature, but the way she dresses and styles her hair says a lot about her approach to life. If I’m looking for someone to breed with, I’ll take the girl who seems least likely to screw up my children. Dressing without showing as much skin as legally possible says something about the way you view yourself and those around you, and it says something about what you want out of life. Being fat says you have no self-restraint, and hence it communicates self-centeredness. Having short hair says, “I don’t care what men think about me; I just want to be comfortable.”

Demanding to not be judged based on your presentation is 20th century pampering at its most decadent.

Read More: You Should Judge Books By Their Covers

Update: This line is a typo but ultimately is irrelevant. I’ve explained it here.