Our culture has a warped view of beauty, looking at the exterior rather than the interior. It focuses on a fading looks rather than the character of the heart. Sadly, we fall for the lie that we’re not good enough unless we look like the super models and actresses on the front of the latest magazine cover.
As I’ve written before, the lie about this “beauty” is that it is all superficial and subject to a person’s opinion. Every – and I do mean every – culture and in every era has their own opinion of what is beautiful and what is not. Sadly, we believe those trends as if they were law, coming from the “Bible on Beauty.” Why do we do this? Because we want to be accepted. We want others to like us. In our vanity we not only want people to like us, we want to turn their heads and admire us. This pride and insecurity sends us into a spiral of constant conformity to the culture’s trends and ideals, whether it is a truth or a lie.
Lie #1: Fashion and Body Types Decide Beauty
Each century in each country has held a distinct trend of beauty. An ever-changing trend, I might add. From one decade, century, or millennia to the next, the fashions have changed. Take a look at the following YouTube video for an enlightening look at fickle beautiful bodies. (Note: I don’t suggest this video for males, however, as it uses immodestly dressed women.)
If we’ll do a little research on the clothing styles of each era, you’ll find it ever-changing as well. We don’t dress like the Victorian Era women anymore! What was so trendy in body types and clothing styles was as fickle as the century before. In fact, when researching for my high school senior essay on women’s clothing styles, I found a shocking fact. For the purpose of making a profit, fashion designers sat (and do sit!) behind their desks, scheming on how to adjust the next season’s clothing style. Something new and different was (is!) the goal. Seems innocent enough, but their motive is to make changes so we will feel the need to purchase their wares. If we feel like we’re out of vogue, then we’ll be enticed to buy. It’s a scheme to make us feel inferior so as to line the fashion industry’s pocket book with our latest purchase. Sadly, we fall for the pressure of conforming to these new trends, as if it was the only choice we have. Gone is value found in being individual. Gone is value placed on the heart. It’s a lie telling us that we must conform to these fleeting criteria in order to be beautiful.
Lie #2: Models Are Perfect
Contrary to popular belief, models of any kind are not perfect! Like we saw in the video above, many things were done to a person’s body to give them the ideal body type. Starvation, corsets, and even surgery were applied in order to get the desired look. I did research on Brazilian fashion of the 1800s and found a shocking practice that cost women their lives. The trend was, like the Victorian Era described in the video, to have a tiny waist and an ample bottom. To get this look, the women would wear corsets to cinch in the waist. However, this practice was costly. The women suffered from illness and improper function of internal organs due to the corset pressing against and rearranging them on the inside. In the end, I doubt the women would admit their vanity was worth the effort.
My point is that every woman, no matter how beautiful she may seem, has some flaw that they feel needs to be fixed. Obviously, our fashion culture seems to thinks so, too, as they photoshop even the prettiest of ladies . . . all for the money they’ll receive as a result of an advertisement. Herein lies the saddest part of all – the women are being used. While we walk through life happy and care-free, these women are bound to a strict diet, flawless face, and an ideal that they’ll never be able to keep. (Sounds perfectly miserable!) But never fear! Photoshop is here! If they’re not good enough, an electronic gadget and computer program will solve the problem.
The picture we see on packages, billboards, and magazines are all fake representations, drawing us to buy their wares. Yet we look at them, drool over them, and wish to be just like them, even when the “them” is really not “them.” It’s a vicious cycle of lies that make us wish we were anything but the person God made us to be.
Psalm 139:14 says, “I will praise you for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; marvelous are your works, and that my soul knows very well.” When we compare our bodies to someone else’s, we are in essence complaining to God that His masterpiece is not good enough. It tells God that we are not content with the way He made us. We are sending Him the message that our soul does not “know very well” what a great thing He has made. It dishonors Him and wounds the value that He put on us, His children, His creations.
Because of Adam and Eve’s Fall, imperfections to our body can happen. Trouble losing weight, acne, dry skin, and physical disabilities are all a result of living in an imperfect world dominated by an evil devil. However, those imperfections do not determine our value. God does not judge us according to our physical flaws; He’s ever-looking at our hearts (I Samuel 16:7). When a magazine editor says our noses are too big, God says we’re perfect. When a model agency rejects us because we’re not skinny enough, God declares our beauty to the world with pride. When people wrinkle their nose at what they call a gross imperfection, God shouts His acceptance. As our Creator, His opinion is the only one that counts … period.
Please take a few minutes to watch this video by Dannah Gresh and her team.
Take a moment to view the video below. Consider a little twist to the story. Let’s pretend the women being sketched represent us and our opinions of our bodies. Then let’s pretend the other women’s opinions represent Jesus. He always sees the good and the beautiful. He never focuses on the flaws!