In polite company, everyone says all the right things about it's what in the brain and in the heart that counts, but physical appearance remains a dominant method for both men and women to quickly judge others.
It's particularly, but not exclusively, true for women.
Earlier this week, The Citizen published a story with photos showing how Justin Trudeau has cleaned up those wild, thick locks of his as his national profile has risen and his bid to be the next leader of the federal Liberals becomes more likely. Trudeau has cropped his hair closer over the last year to look more mature and professional.
When Tom Mulcair was elected leader of the federal NDP, it was pointed out that he was the first leader of a major Canadian federal political party to regularly sport a beard. That trail was blazed by Mulcair's predecessor, Jack Layton, with his moustache.
Embattled Toronto mayor Rob Ford is mocked for his girth, while New Jersey governor Chris Christie is openly considered by some to be an unfit choice to run for president because of his obesity.
But public discussions about the physical attributes of men are the exception. There was never any discussion about the appearance of former premiers Gordon Campbell, Glen Clark, Mike Harcourt and Bill Vander Zalm.
Most powerful and successful women face discussions about their appearance, particularly if they are above average in the looks department. Christy Clark is an attractive woman who was labelled a MILF and had an NDP MLA call her out for showing cleavage. Campbell is a handsome man but he was never called a pretty boy while he was in office.
Clearly, different standards.
Several times last month, Mayor Shari Green told the story about the email she had received, criticizing her for her bangs. It's safe to guess that Dan Rogers and Colin Kinsley didn't get emails from constituents complaining about their haircuts.
By middle school, children understand that physical appearance creates different rules, that looks are a key component for popularity, making friends and even getting better grades. Nothing changes as they move through their teenage years and into adult life.
People pick clothes based on the appearance of the models and even favor TV newscasts based on the attractiveness of the anchor.
But it's a double-edged sword, too, and the other side cuts women far deeper than men, too. There's a stereotype that good looks equal empty brains and it's the criticism applied when people happen to disagree with the good looking person in question.
It's important to remember how powerfully looks shape our impressions of others. While we can allow those impressions to influence our decision when buying clothes, it shouldn't be allowed to dictate our choices for political leaders, nor should it be used as a weapon against them if we find their politics distasteful.