I've been reading a lot lately about how we base so many things in our lives on our body images. I think it's true. And it's just so--wrong.
I can't speak for you but if I am sitting in the living room with my family and one of those Victoria's Secret commercials comes on, I get embarrassed. Now, I am no prude in any way. The models and the lingerie are beautiful. But I don't look like that. And I really don't care to see so much of them! Into my mind springs that faceless young woman who doesn't look like Gisele. She watches the commercial, and decides she isn't shaped right. She doesn't look right. She isn't right. And she falls into a pit of despair.
Laugh all you will--these images do shape our young women. They see a celebrity and they want to look just like them. They don't realize that these people are surrounded by teams of people who do their hair, their makeup. They have someone else pick out their clothing. They, many of them, keep personal trainers on staff and on call. They have meals prepared by someone else to fit their specifications. And it isn't just the ladies who do this, it's the guys too. Our girls are being told every day, in various ways, that they just aren't good enough unless they manage to get this 'look' down. Problem is, this special 'look' is constantly changing. And we're all wondering why our teens seem to be dealing with so much more depression these days? Please. I hope they do set a few more rigid guidelines in regards to models. I saw an ad featuring the young woman who died from complications from anorexia just a few days before her death--I even pointed it out to my husband. This child was rail thin, and I'm not kidding. Beautiful and thin. That's the only goal some of our children are reaching for now.
I feel like 'sex' is being shoved down my throat every time I try to watch a show or a movie, every time I watch a commercial, nearly every time I simply walk outside my home. Things that would've shamed our mothers and grandmothers now pass as the norm. God set sex aside to be enjoyed by married couples. Period. Not to sell your makeup, clothes, and cars. Not to endorse your political candidate. Everything is being sexualized. I saw another article that posed the question "Are our daughters being sexualized too soon?" YES! THEY ARE! Where have you been? Eight year old babies are talking about their 'boyfriends' and 'girlfriends'. Sex is common among ten year olds! What is wrong with us that we cannot put our collective foot down and stop this? Did you know that teenagers don't consider oral sex sex? I didn't know that. Did you know that if you have a child who isn't having sex of some kind nowadays, that child is considered a freak. Sex is commonplace. Blah. Means absolutely nothing anymore. It's just another thing to do. This really bothers me. Our parents worried about us smoking cigarettes or maybe trying marijuana. Parents today have to worry about, heaven forbid, their children getting AIDS which means certain death. Things change and definitely not all for the better. All the new technology can be exciting (witness the fact that I am writing this on the Internet) but when is too much just too much. We're imploding on all our intelligence, and it's very disturbing. Where is the peace? Where is the quiet? Where did everybody put God? How does He manage to get through to anyone what with all the noise we've created?
We're sending the wrong messages to our youth. On one page of any magazine, you can read an article written by some brave soul about their growing acceptance of who they are, with all their flaws, then turn the page and find a spread of new spring clothes all modeled by skinny, beautiful women. We're clearly sending a few mixed messages.
My mother taught me to never judge anyone based on outer appearance. She drilled this lesson into my head so well that when I talk with people now, the only thing I notice is whether they're a pleasant person or not. I don't see size, shapes, or colors. I SEE PEOPLE!! Beautiful people.
I want our young girls to be proud of who they are, even if they fall outside of the world's norm. If God wanted us all to look the same, we would. If God wanted us all the same size, we would be. If God loves any one of us, we are beautiful. Therefore, we are all beautiful as I see it.
Victoria, your secret is out. And while it's lovely and pleasing to the eye, I'm tired of seeing it. I don't want to be embarrassed by all the 'sexiness' when I'm just trying to relax with my boys.
Sex sells, I know. But does it have to sell everything? Can I not watch a simple movie without hearing and seeing every sexual innuendo possible put in there?
I know a man who bases all his impressions of women in general on their appearance. A woman can be just plain as all, but if she has a nice body, he will nearly trip over himself talking to her. If she is larger, she doesn't merit his attention. He is a store owner. Not exactly good for business, if you ask me. One day, while I was there, my daughter paid me a visit. As she came up the stairs, this man nudged my co-worker to alert him to the incoming 'meat', not even realizing that it was MY DAUGHTER. "Look at this, man," he said gleefully preparing to get her attention when she got inside. My daughter IS very beautiful, but it has little to do with her outer appearance. It's her heart, her soul, her love that makes her so gorgeous. Okay, she's also really pretty too. (What, you didn't think I'd say it? Of course I will! That's my girl!) Anyway, I was dismayed and disgusted by this man's behavior, having seen it on too many occasions to count. Plus, he's married. He doesn't act that way when his wife is present. My husband, I'm proud to say, is a shameless flirt. The difference is, there is nothing he would do behind my back that he wouldn't do in my presence, and I know this for a fact. He just flirts while I'm there. This is fun flirting. The other stuff is not.
I spun around and blurted, "THAT'S MY DAUGHTER! THAT'S THERESA!"
You should have seen the look on his face.
Young women, I will be the one to tell you--you are perfect just as you are. Your weight should not determine how you feel about yourself. Your self-worth should not be tied to a number on a scale or an image in the media. You are God's own special child. Be healthy. Be happy. And please be smart and don't fall into the trap that is being laid for you. It's a lie. You are a unique individual, fashioned in the image of God, and He loves you.
So do I!
I'm so glad my TV has an off button. It's really getting to be too much information!
Read more articles by Elizabeth Hale or search for articles on the same topic or others.