I'm not sure where to post this actually...but I think as Christ followers we should probably have a different definition of what is "Beautiful" than that which the media is trying to sell us so I'm posting this here. Be forewarned, there will be links included which contain language that many conventional Christians find objectionable.
I regularly follow the blog of my friend Jen and THIS post caught my eye today as I was catching up on my reading. I have struggled most of my life with my weight and with my body image. I'm actually currently trying hypnosis to help me overcome some very self-destructive patterns around my weight. In some ways I suppose speaking on this issue is hypocritical but who better to testify than one who knows the story all to personally?
I am also the mother of a teenaged daughter and I see her beginning to struggle with her own ideals of beauty and beginning to feel like she needs to change herself not so she will be healthier but so she will feel comfortable wearing a bikini. And I wonder how I have failed her. And then I come across THIS and THIS and I realize the kind of craziness that I am up against. EVERY single magazine geared to women or girls has articles on how to be more what society calls beautiful and in order to stay in business they have to keep creating an ever changing standard and a steady demand. They do it so effectively that part of treatment for the epidemic of eating disorders includes a ban on the purchase of women's magazines.
Inspired by this youtube video by Katie Makkai I have started my own rebellion. As I grapple with my own issues and try to help my daughter avoid issues of her own I have become very conscious of looking for role models that are not merely pretty. I have observed that many of us are far kinder in our assessment of others than we are in our assessment of ourselves. I belong to an amazing group of women, an intentional online community called GCM, and every so often there will be a thread asking us to post photos of ourselves. We are from all over the world, all different ages, shapes, sizes and ethnic backgrounds, and yet invariably in that thread someone comments on what beautiful women we all are. Few of us would be considered classically "beautiful" and yet in all our diversity we ARE beautiful.
Each of the women that contributes here is beautiful.
I am creating a playlist for my daughter's ipod. Among the songs I want her filling her mind with are these: Who Says? - Selena Gomes, F'ing Perfect - Pink, Firework - Katy Perry, Just the Way You Are - Bruno Mars, Fingerprints of God - Steven Curtis Chapman, Beautiful - Christina Aguilera
I find it both telling and sad that only one of those songs comes from the "christian" genre. I think we do ourselves and our God a huge disservice when we buy into the idea that we are worthless worms. If we are created in the image of God how then can we ever be anything less than beautiful?