Books, Covers: When Will We Learn?

It’s hard to believe that it’s been three years since a shy and seemingly awkward woman from Scotland tromped across the stage on Britain’s Got Talent and reminded the world how very wrong it is to judge a person based on appearance. Audience members poked one another and made faces when Susan Boyle walked onto the stage, but after hearing her lovely voice sing “I Dreamed a Dream”, they were the ones left feeling awkward. Even that smarmy Simon Whats-his-Name admitted (in a roundabout way) he’d judged her unfairly. Lessons learned….

It appears we have another learning opportunity. Last week, teenager opera singers, Charlotte Jaconelli and Jonathan Antoine appeared on Britain’s Got Talent. Here’s a clip, if you haven’t seen it:

Many of us who are, or were, “of size”, have most likely experienced the blows to self-confidence that Jonathan describes in the video. We’ve seen the nudges, the looks exchanged, heard the whispers, felt the sneers. Each and every gesture hurts as much as the first one, even if we tell ourselves they don’t. I can’t even imagine the courage it takes to get up on a stage and be exposed to that on such a huge scale. But they did it, and they did it beautifully.


At least once each Christmas, someone in my family will receive a tiny wrapped package and someone will say, “Sometimes big things come in small packages.”

And that’s true.

But it’s also true that sometimes big things come in big packages, and I can only hope that someday more people will recognize and accept that talent, skill, and intelligence have nothing to do with size, shape, or any other physical attribute. Until then, I hope that those who don’t get that will at least have the decency to quit poking each other and making faces.


12 thoughts on “Books, Covers: When Will We Learn?

  1. I’ve seen this everywhere lately, but only here did I bother to watch it. Oh my gosh!!!!
    So beautiful.
    I sometimes wonder if they cut to those eye rolling faces and they’re really synced up. You know what I mean? Were they really making those faces at that moment? I wonder.
    I even thought Simon might have been acting more doubtful than he really was.
    That’s neither here nor there… just wondering.
    Such sweet friends too.
    so glad you shared.

  2. I hadn’t seen that; it made the hairs on my arms stand up! But I did feel bad for the girl, being found lacking in comparison, all the while the only reason that Jonathan had the courage to be on stage.

    I have long planned a post that will be very different to this one but is also about not judging a book by its cover. There are so many reasons that people judge each other. Its a shame, really.

  3. What a moving performance! You’re so right. It’s amazing how quickly obese and even overweight people are dismissed as having nothing to offer before they ever open their mouthes. If you want to find out how fat biased this society is just look at the comments on a post about obesity or health care premiums and you’ll find plenty of fat bashing. (Or any other chance to say something mean and nasty just because)

    The few times I’ve noticed looks or been treated differently I’ve thought “how do you know I’m not a CEO of a major company or a producer or an author or basically anyone you would blindly have respect for based on title alone over appearance?” It’s sad.

  4. I saw that video last week. And I’ve seen others like it, not just Susan Boyle’s. This post touches me on so many levels because I know what it’s like to be on both sides, so to speak. I was brought up in a family that most definitely judged books by covers (especially “big” books), even though they professed not to, and so it took me a long time to realize what it was all about. At my heaviest I was one of the biggest judgers of all…constantly comparing myself to others and being relieved when others were bigger than I.

  5. OMGOSH Cammy! Thanks for sharing that! Did I find Susan Boyle through you too? Oh that was so touching. I was weeping and clapping (the dogs think I’ve gone mad.) And I thought the same thing, that Jonathon’s voice was THE talent. Charlotte has a grace that goes beyond her years. Like she understands that she is the crutch that Jonathan needed to get started and she is okay with that. IMO that quality will take her farther in life than her voice.

  6. Things like this make me so sad and cringe inside because I was judged like this so much growing up and even as an adult. I am not sure why people feel the need to judge – and not just with size, but anything. It almost seems in born.

  7. I loved the video!

    This kind of discrimination makes me cringe, because I encounter it every day. I’m just learning now to not try and over-compensate for my size.

  8. Can’t say anything that hasn’t already been said and certainly can’t say it any better than you did. But I will add this……it’s been my experience that more often than not, what goes around comes around and those who judge will someday find themselves on the other side and will understand the pain judging others causes.

  9. I had not seen this. I don’t see judging of others going away as long as the media keeps doing what it is doing which is making thin & beauty the most important thing. Crap, the newscasters & weather ladies in my area – it is like a beauty show! Started happening a couple years ago to a greater extent than already!

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