What is beauty? We have often heard the old proverb, “Beauty is in the eye of the beholder,” which is so true because our emotions play a factor in how we identify beauty. Magazines are filled with beautiful people advertising products to make us prettier, more handsome, thinner, stronger and faster. There have been exhaustive studies about how we, especially women, compare ourselves to the pictures we see and strive to live up to or into who we see as the ideal person. All of the comparisons to the unrealistic photos can be damaging to a person’s self-esteem. The magazine models do extensive touch-ups to ensure the models are a perfect size with perfect skin and hair and this perfection has led ordinary women to believe their value is based on who they should be or look like rather than who they are. The pressure to be thin, strong and pretty has hit close to home as I too have compared myself to 30-year-olds who look good in anything they wear. Many confident older women claim their aging skin and graying hair are a badge of honor that they have earned. I am proud of them but honestly the desire to claim that badge escapes me. I admire their confidence and acceptance of who they are as well as their comfort level and peace of the aging process.
This is not a book review for the author but I believe she helps us rethink how we see and imagine beauty. If you asked me what are the most important things that I would like people to discover about me; it is that I am intelligent and that my heart and soul are prettier that my physical beauty. As a woman of faith, these words from the disciple Peter are important to remember: “Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as elaborate hairstyles and the wearing of gold jewelry or fine clothes. Rather, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God’s sight”
(1 Peter 3:3-4). While I love jewelry and fashionable clothes, the quality of my my character is by far more important. My spirit may never be “gentle and quiet” but is vibrant and engaging, yet I still believe this is part of who God created me to be. The women in the magazines are not real and I have heard a few models say that in their daily lives, they cannot look like those pics. These images are too perfect. Why do we continue to compare ourselves with the magazine pictures that are too perfect for even the subject of the picture? With courage, I am going to STOP creating an inaccurate picture of who I am based on someone else. We are all unique! As the text states, God looks beyond the exterior, deep into our eyes, loves us and finds “great worth” in us from the inside out. We all give definition to what beauty really is!