What Jeremy Meeks Can Teach Us About Society
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If you’re not familiar with Jeremy Meeks, he is a 30 year old convicted felon who was recently arrested (again). What makes Jeremy unique is that when his mugshot was posted on Facebook by the Stockton Police Department, it immediately went viral. It currently has nearly 60,000 likes and 16,000+ comments, and growing. Mostly from women. See if you can figure out why:
There is also a fan page set up for Jeremy on Facebook.
Sure, he is a handsome man – but one of the more disturbing comments I saw on the photo reads: “Is this a rapist too? If so, please send him to Chile, Santiago…please…”
This comment comes along with the multiple other comments on the photo that express desire to be “kidnapped and held against my will” by Meeks. Similar comment threads started with Patriots football player Aaron Hernandez was arrested for murder, and after Chris Brown beat Rihanna so badly she ended up in the hospital. They had the theme of “But he is just so hot/talented/whatever.” It seems that looks are being held in a higher regard than substance or actually being a good person.
Are we really putting aside the fact that people commit horrendous crimes because they are good looking? Are we really living in a society where people can defend these comments by saying they are “joking”…? Joking?! I must have missed the memo about rape, beating women, and kidnapping being funny. I didn’t realize Law & Order SVU was a comedy show.
During our discussion on Facebook about this issue, Wendy Hinckley made a great comment, saying “Is he good looking? Yes! But does his good looks make up for the fact that he is a loser and a criminal? NO! …Good looks are not everything…looks fade and then you are just stuck with a loser/criminal.”
Carlton O’Neal also made a solid point: “I think Charlize Theron is one of the most beautiful women on the planet. But if she were a nobody with a mug shot like this, i would NOT find her attractive at all. Period.”
But besides these comments, what is the underlying issue here? The real issue is that we get a glimpse into what society really values. This is why supermodels make millions of dollars but teachers are so vastly underpaid. This is why attractive people, both men and women, earn an average of 3 or 4% more than people with below average looks, which adds up to a significant amount of money over a lifetime.
I would be lying if I told anyone that I don’t think looks matter when it comes to success or relationships, of course they do. But something should matter more to all of us – character, and integrity. I agree with Carlton’s comment in that attractiveness is not just about your looks. Someone could catch your eye, but I don’t understand the infatuation continuing (especially to the point of making these ridiculous comments on Facebook) after such negative things are learned about them. Shouldn’t that be an instant turn-off? Onto the next.
Not only are these comments degrading to the people who post them (men or women), they very much send the wrong message to anyone who is reading them. Many men out there are proud of who they have worked to become and are hoping to find a good woman to share their life with – reading comments (even joking) from women about being willingly kidnapped or raped by a convicted felon is devastating. Under no circumstances should this ever be a “joke.”
Side note: A teardrop tattoo usually means you’ve killed someone. It just keeps getting better.
I would be curious to hear your thoughts on this issue. Do you think the comments on Jeremy’s mugshot are girls who are “just kidding” and would never really pursue him in real life? Or do you think there is a deeper, more serious meaning behind them that should be addressed?
Is there a solution to this? How can we shift society in a direction that values what’s beyond the surface? How can we teach our younger generations what’s really important about somebody, and what should send them running in the other direction? I believe this is an important conversation that nobody is actually having.
Edit: A comment from Josef Green showing how real this problem is.
As a former detention officer for Tulsa County Sheriff’s Office, I can vouch for the seriousness of those comments. It’s insanity how many women of varying ages and attractiveness will shovel out their money for convicted felons and spend their time calling, writing, and visiting with them. Many of these inmates will string along several women at a time, amassing large quantities of honey buns and ramen noodles from the money they get. I don’t understand what the women get out of this arrangement.
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