Hypocrisy is black and white. For those of you who have just soared out of your seat and are already preparing your strongly worded e-mail to me about gray areas, please keep reading. I look forward to proving you wrong.
First, an anecdote to set the stage for my argument:
I am very involved with women’s groups on campus, and speak out loudly and often against inappropriate advances by men.
This past weekend, I was in a long line to get into a popular club. Rather than waste my valuable dancing time waiting in line, I schemed my way inside by flirting with the boy working at the front door. After giving me a slobbery kiss on the cheek and making me promise him a dance later that night, he then let my friends and I slide into the club. During the remainder of the night, I stuck to my initial intent and avoided him, escaping the dance that was offered in ill faith.
Before the night ended, two friends approached me and commented on how touchy-feely the man working at the front door was. They were surprised, knowing me as they do, that I would let a boy kiss my cheek if I wanted nothing more than to cut in line.
Based on the Merriam-Webster definition of hypocrisy, I pose the question to the Cornell community: are you a hypocrite when others see that you have acted in contradiction to your beliefs, or are you a hypocrite when you perceive that you have done so?
To those of you who answered that you are a hypocrite only when you perceive that you are contradicting your beliefs — step outside of yourself. You are improperly framing your actions in a way that helps you dodge the label of hypocrisy.
To those of you who answered that you are a hypocrite when others justifiably deem you one, you have a strong hold on reality.
You are a hypocrite when others perceive that you have acted in contradiction to your standards and beliefs: 34
You are a hypocrite when you perceive that you have acted in contradiction to your standards and beliefs: 66
Sample size: 100
Original Author: Sophie Allen