rebelling against low expectations

4 Reasons to Stop Talking About “Cute” Guys or Girls


“So, who do you think is the cutest Disney prince?”

Uh oh.

I glance up at the other two girls sharing the table and nudge quinoa around my plate, stalling for time.

Questions like this freak me right out. I could say that Cinderella Man is okay, except his features are too delicate, or that Prince Adam has nice eyes, but he could stand a haircut. However, something seems off about this whole ritual of rating people based on their appearances, fictional or otherwise.

“Can we maybe skip this one?” I ask.

Certainly, I get that there are always going to be aspects about people, including physical aspects, that each of us finds attractive or unattractive. God gets this too. In fact, He devoted entire sections of the Bible, in Song of Solomon, to portraying the physical attraction between a bride and groom.

But as harmless, natural or entertaining as discussing one another’s appearances may seem, we would be wise to remove “cuteness appraising” from the spotlight of our minds and conversation for at least four reasons:

1. It misses the point.

The Apostle Peter nailed it when he wrote to first century women believers,

“Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as elaborate hairstyles and the wearing of gold jewelry or fine clothes. Rather, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God’s sight.” (1 Peter 3:3-4, NIV.)

In other words, because what makes each of us incomparably valuable has nothing to do with appearance, we shouldn’t act like it does.

When we boil down human worth to an attractiveness score, we miss focusing on what truly makes each of us treasured in the sight of God.

We miss God’s heart.

2. It subtly devalues people.

By focusing on the mere appearances of our brothers and sisters in Christ rather than on their irreplaceable value in the kingdom of God, we diminish one another’s worth as God’s image bearers.

Imagine if instead of evaluating the physical, we spent our energy appreciating the spiritual. Imagine if our words, behavior and attitudes encouraged, built up, respected, honored and validated one another as beloved family members in Christ. What would happen?

3. It bites you back.

In Matthew 7:12, Jesus commanded,

“in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets (NIV).”

“Everything” doesn’t leave much out, including our conversations. When we talk about others’ appearances, how comfortable would we be knowing that others were delivering those appraisals about us? Even if the evaluations were positive, how would we respond to realizing that people were founding their beliefs about us on a purely physical basis, rather than appreciating us for who we are in Christ?

Perhaps this is one reason why, a few verses earlier, Jesus warned,

“Do not judge, or you too will be judged. For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.” (Matthew 7:1-2, NIV.)

4. It feeds our cultural obsession with image.

Despite the dangers of judging, appearance-based judgments come all too easily when we live in a culture preoccupied with image. Everywhere we look, whether while walking through malls, standing in grocery store lineups, or glancing at the nearest screens, we see evaluative messages which equate success with appearance.

How much heartache, from disillusionment and discontentment to depression and eating disorders, do these messages cause?

Lies this damaging cry out for cultural change. As young people, we are uniquely positioned to influence our culture’s future because we are our culture’s future. Changing our culture starts with changing ourselves. And changing ourselves starts with changing our focus, from what the world sees to what Christ sees.

And what does Christ see?

According to God’s words when He warned Samuel against judging by appearances when anointing the next king of Israel,

“The Lord does not see as man sees; for man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.” (1 Samuel 16:7, NIV.)

While we can’t look into people’s hearts, we can look at people through eyes which seek the heart of God. Then, as we align our hearts with God’s, and set our minds on things of eternal value rather than things of earthly concern – like others’ cuteness scores – our attitudes change.

Rather than transfixing our thoughts upon comparing Cinderella Man and Prince Adam, we become able to fix our gaze upon the Prince of Peace: seeking His kingdom; loving His family.

Now that’s some kind of beautiful.

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About the author

Patricia Engler

is a homeschool grad with a threefold passion for Christian apologetics, outdoor adventure, and Dutch licorice. After finishing her B.Sc., she began backpacking internationally to blog about the challenges and opportunities of being a Christian student at secular universities around the world. If she’s not writing, hiking or building travel gear from dental floss, you’ll probably find her outside tuning a ukulele. You can access her blog, newsletter and devotional ebook at


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  • Yesss. I don’t think it’s always wrong to appreciate a person(fictional or otherwise)’s nice facial features, but when it becomes obsession or lust(which I think it often does), that’s pretty clearly wrong.

    Also I wish people would stop judging movie characters on looks alone and start considering character and morals, like you said. 🙂

    • Exactly. And I’m definitely with you on the movie character point, Meredith! It’s a tough one to tackle, when so much of the media industry seems to be centered around image and appearance. We as the public are the ones feeding the industry though, so if things are going to change, that change will be up to us.

    • Thanks, Haylie 🙂 I confess that I was just this day sitting on a west coast boulder, eating Dutch licorice and grinning at the irony. So it’s a true story.

  • I promise this isn’t all I got from your article, but I’m totally referring to him as Cinderella Man from now on. Really helpful piece, thanks for writing it!

  • I absolutely loved this article! Very well written, very convicting, and I could not agree more. “While we can’t look into people’s hearts, we can look at people through eyes which seek the heart of God. Then, as we align our hearts with God’s, and set our minds on things of eternal value rather than things of earthly concern – like others’ cuteness scores – our attitudes change.” Wow.

    BTW, I’m extremely passionate about both science and Biblical apologetics as well. Keep it up, girl! 🙂

    • I am so excited to hear that, Katharina! Excited both that you enjoyed the article and that God’s got other young people passionate about discovering His world and defending His word. Thank you for sharing!

  • I concur that reducing the sum total of a human being’s worth and identity into any single metric is unbiblical and downright foolish. This applies to more than just appearance, though. Even the concept of a single IQ score representing the labyrinthine convolutions of intellect in all its manifold sub-aspects falls into this trap. Any kind of reductionist claptrap of this sort is bound to have negative repercussions of one sort or another.

    That said, the respectful and measured evaluation of the comparative merits of one person’s eminence against another’s, when narrowed to a specific metric, is, I believe, not the same thing. Indeed, it could conceivably be argued that it is the opposite. If one reduces the whole of a person’s nature to one metric and then compares him or her to someone else likewise reduced, then yes, this is folly. However, by the same token, comparing two people’s whole worth against each other is equally an indignity.

    The fault lies in the comparing of total worth and in the reductionism, not in the comparing of specific metrics. For example, comparing one job applicant’s coding skills and people skills against the others, would be wise and judicious. Also, appraising one work of art or a particular bloom of flower as more aesthetically pleasing than another is a proper exercise of appreciation of beauty.

    And so in this fashion I do not see an innate harm in comparing one person’s “cuteness” against another’s, as this is an attribute which (like intelligence) is both a gift from God for His glory and service and dependent upon our stewardship and advancement. As long as it does not turn into lust or covetousness or reductionism, as you so aptly articulated.

    • Thanks for responding, James; I appreciate the depth of thought you’ve invested here. And you make a great point that faulty comparisons of human worth, whether based on the whole person or on a single aspect, are the problem. You’re also right that some comparisons, like distinguishing between skill levels in job applicants, are absolutely necessary; the trouble lies in comparisons which speak to people’s innate value. Unfortunately, our culture often does equate appearance with value, as research linking attractiveness to job success, income and perceived personal competence shows. I agree with you, though, that there’s nothing wrong with appreciating beauty in God’s creation, including humanity; even Bible verses like Song of Solomon 5:10, “my beloved is the fairest of 10,000” reflect this. Too often though, I think our attitudes towards “cuteness,” reflected in our words about others, can easily slip into bordering on the reductionism you described–especially when we make image the center of our focus. But you hit upon a great way of adopting a godlier attitude toward human attributes, whether image or intelligence: recognizing God’s glory in the way He individually handcrafts each of us for specific roles in His kingdom, which no one else could do.

      • Yes, the cultural sophistry of society runs deep, which puts the onus upon us to go even deeper in our counter-narrative. If we are able to ensure our hearts are right before God, and let that attitude be exemplified in our lifestyle instead of letting it be conformed to the world, then we can witness the deeper things of Christ in every word we speak. This calls us to a higher standard.

        I’m glad we are in agreement. 🙂


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rebelling against low expectations

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