Here’s the Problem With That Steve Harvey Video That Shames Sisters for Wanting Attractive Men

She Matters: These women were told to look beyond a man’s appearance, but when are men going to get that same message?

Two sisters get shamed on Steve Harvey’s talk show for wanting to date men they find attractive.
Two sisters get shamed on Steve Harvey’s talk show for wanting to date men they find attractive. Facebook screenshot  

There’s a video clip from Steve Harvey’s talk show making the rounds on Facebook. It’s being used as Exhibit Z—because A through Y have already been done—about why so many women, black women in particular, are single.


Two sisters are sent on a double date with two nice, but somewhat dowdy-looking, men. Given the appearance of the women­—the blond Farrah Fawcett hair, the tight dresses, the contoured makeup better suited for a fashion editorial shoot than dinner­—the viewer might make certain assumptions about the ladies. Assumptions like perhaps they’re superficial.

As the pairs begin to chat, viewers discover that the initial assumption was right. The women, obviously turned off by the men’s appearance and thinking they lack wealth, stop being polite and start being basic. They ask the guys questions like, “How much money do you make?” or “How many rooms do you have in your house?” At the end of the evening, they offer to pass the guys off to friends they think would be better-suited for them. Ouch.

In the next segment of the show, Harvey brings the women on and berates them for their behavior on the date. The women weren’t interested, but the guys were and they were polite; there was no reason to dismiss them. Fair enough. Then there is an unexpected, big reveal. Those frumpy guys? Not actually unattractive, or broke! Steve’s team had given the guys a “make-under” so they would be less physically attractive.

The guys are actually very handsome, former-professional-athletes-turned-entrepreneurs, and they have big bank accounts. One even shops for shoes at the same place Harvey does­—and we know he’s rich because he has a million jobs and we’ve seen his house in Essence and on his wife’s Instagram. The takeaway is supposed to be that these two women, and women in general, shouldn’t judge a book by its cover. Oh, and, um, men who can manage not to curse you out for being rude at dinner and are also rich are good, relationship-worthy men. That’s all it takes, based on the segment, because these were the only two things that we learned about the two men Harvey deemed worthy.

I’m with Harvey, in general, that there’s more to a man than his appearance. Though I should mention that I see absolutely nothing wrong with a woman seeking a partner who has money or wealth. That shouldn’t be the sole reason you’re interested in someone. But we gotta all stop pretending that there’s something wrong with putting “a man who can provide” on the checklist.

If you want to struggle up with a good man with potential? More power to you, and I hope it works out for you the way it to did for FLOTUS Michelle Obama when she met a man who was in Harvard Law School. That wasn’t exactly a gamble; that was patience. But if you ain’t about that life? I don’t blame you.

Sorry, I digress. Back to appearance. Yes, there’s more to people than their packaging. I wonder at what point we’re going to start saying that to men, too. Because I’ve seen and heard, a million times, men telling women to look beneath the surface and focus on a man’s potential, but not never, not once, have I heard or seen a man be told the same when it comes to a woman’s appearance.