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This blog really is not supposed to be simply a link to what other people write, but this stuff is so very well written and thought out, that I need to share it.  So please bear with me on this:)  I suppose my purpose in starting this blog was to share ideas about true beauty and expose the lies we’re told by our culture and the media, so sharing links is helpful.  I want to spread this message so we can share it with our families and friends, and cause change person by person.   Anyhoo, here you go:

http://www.beautyredefined.net/to-be-or-to-be-looked-at/

Here is another excellent article from Beauty Redefined.  The next time you’re standing in line at the grocery store and you spot those gorgeous women on the covers, think about this…

http://www.beautyredefined.net/media-ideals-the-real-true-hollywood-story/

 

I have to thank my friend Billie for sharing this link with me…I think it’s something all women AND men should read so we’re all clear on what’s real and what’s not.  (The entire website is worth checking out, too.)

http://www.beautyredefined.net/photoshopping-altering-images-and-our-minds/

 

Physical beauty can be like a security blanket.  God made our bodies purposefully to reflect the beauty of his creativity.  But the moment we lose sight of the purpose of our physical beauty– to reflect the image of God — our beauty becomes something it was never intended to be.  And in the end it isn’t physical beauty that makes us most beautiful anyway…the true measuring stick for attractiveness is a life that models Christ.  This is true for all of us, whether we seem to fit cultural beauty standards or not.  So at this point I’m left alone with the question, What will be most important to me?  The difference between looking beautiful and being beautiful rests in whether it’s more noticeable that I bear the image of Christ or that I bear the image of Tommy Hilfiger.  The more I invest in my physical appearance, the more the world notices me, not Jesus in me.  Will I devote myself to my own image so that the world will see me — polished, perfect, and pleasing?  Or will I be devoted to bearing the image of Jesus, so that the world sees past me and notices the One who is most beautiful of all?”

~from Wanting to be Her, by Michelle Graham(page 137)

Do I find security in my appearance?  Is looking beautiful what I’m striving for?  If I do what will happen as I get older and the security blanket starts to slip off?  What will be left…a bitterness for lost youth, or a hidden treasure relfecting the image of Christ?

It’s certainly worth thinking about…

This is a real commercial…

http://www.youtube.com/user/truvianewsroom#p/a/u/0/9VyMak-fZFw

…seriously.

“you made my butt fat”?

There are so many things wrong with this I don’t know where to begin.

What really stands out to me is the look on the woman’s face after she finishes eating the pie.  She looks like she’s done something really wrong, something to feel guilty about.  Then her boyfriend/husband walks in and looks at her in horror.  “You ate ALL of it!?”, he seems to be thinking.  This woman didn’t just eat a piece of pie, she did something immoral.  She enjoyed her BAD food, and it’s going to make her BUTT FAT.  I’m so horrified by this ad, I can’t believe it’s actually real.  I’m just thankful my daughter wasn’t watching television with me when it came on…

Years and years ago, I didn’t give a hoot about how much I weighed.  I didn’t even give it a thought… I was completely unaware I was supposed to care about such things.  One day those many years ago, a boyfriend commented, “I think it’s really cool you don’t worry about your weight.”  My response?  Ummm, I didn’t have any idea I was supposed to.

Well, I was young, rebellious, artsy…I didn’t watch much TV or see many movies at the time, and I think this may be one reason I was living in ignorant bliss.  I truly didn’t realize I was supposed to care, or that anyone else cared about such things.  However, through the course of my college career, my life changed and I came out of my shell.  As I became aware of pop culture and developed a social life,  I understood why my boyfriend made that comment:  it’s acceptable and normal for women to be unsatisfied with their weight, so the fact that I didn’t was unusual.  As I emerged from my world-hating bubble, I became more educated on the culture around me.  I started watching a bit more TV and movies and noticed the women in them and how ridicously perfect they were.  At the same time, I became more aware my weight.  It wasn’t a consious thing, it was more like a tiny idea that crept in my brain and grew with time.  And before I knew it, I was worrying about my weight.   

I had always been pretty content with my looks.  I’m no supermodel, but I never thought I was bad looking either.  But I started to get insecure…was I thin enough?  I didn’t think so.  Gradually, I “got it”.  It was not okay for me to be content with my looks.  That’s arrogant.  I needed to complain about my looks and weight in order to fit in with my friends…

I can’t completely blame the media for this.  I’m certain I have characteristics that make me susceptable to all kinds of manipulation by the media…plus, there’s no way I’m going to say “I won’t watch movies or TV ever”.  I can’t commit to something like that, honestly.  But it’s something to consider, isn’t it?  It’s something to be aware of, because once you’re aware of what’s happening, you have the power to change your mind.  I like this quote from Lessons From the Fat-O-Sphere by Kate Harding and Marianne Kirby:

“Think of what you see in a typical hour of TV.  Lots of very thin women, whose livelihoods depend on them remaining very thin(meaning it might make sense for them to spend hours a day at the gym, but that doesn’t mean we all can) and who are attended to by a team of stylists and makeup artists before they ever step in front of the camera.  Even if they’re meant to look like they’re wearing no makeup, they’re wearing makeup, and even if they’re playing schlubby characters, they’re wearing clothes you probably can’t afford.  They don’t have bad hair days, because trained professionals make sure of that.  Their skin looks flawless.  Their shoes are amazing.  This is what’s presented as ‘normal’ for women on TV.”

~From Lessons From the Fat-O-Sphere by Kate Harding and Marianne Kirby(page 186)

Women in the media are portrayed a certain way on purpose, and it’s unrealistic for us to try to emulate them.  Television and movies are fantasy worlds to an extent, even if the story they’re telling is realistic.  Being aware of this can help us to overcome this deception.

“Somehow in the female world cutting yourself down is the only acceptable response to a compliment.” ~ Hayley DiMarco, Mean Girls All Grown Up, page 31

This is a sensitive subject, and it’s not my intention to offend anyone or minimize the very real struggle many women face in this media-saturated world.  But it’s something I’ve struggled with for some time.  When women get together, there is a temptation to talk about what’s wrong with their bodies.  I realize that this is a legitimate struggle for a lot of people.  I know how it feels to think that in the physical sense, you just don’t measure up to what’s really beautiful or skinny.  And the self-deprication doesn’t have to be in response to a  compliment.  It can just happen, because we spend a lot of time thinking about our “fatness”, and we want to share and vent these negative feelings with other women.  But sometimes I think it can go too far, and the negative becomes the focus of our thoughts and conversations.   During such conversations, I often feel the need to find the positive, to encourage others and shed light on their beautiful qualities.  It’s a delicate balance; authentically listening to a friend’s struggles in this area, while at the same time trying to steer them toward what to be grateful for.  I suppose that’s a big reason I started writing this blog.  I want to encourage women to be grateful for how God has created them, but I’m not sure how to do it.  I really think we could change this cultural blindspot if we collectively change our thinking and refuse to be brainwashed by what’s expected of us.  One way I’ve been applying this is by thanking God for how he made me…for the fact that I am very healthy and haven’t had any serious physical problems(so far!), I can run, I can eat any food I want without getting sick, I can see and hear…okay, you get the picture.  Perhaps you could try it, too.  And day by day, as you express thankfulness for your amazing qualities, you’ll start to see them more clearly.