I’ve been blogging recently on our culture’s double standards with respect to physical appearance for men and women, as well as the culture’s impossible standards for female beauty. There are many disturbing aspects of these phenomena. But as a mother to daughters, one aspect that particularly concerns me is the struggle of girls and young women to conform to these standards.
First, they are unattainable standards. As I have noted before, these images are not reality. Between the Botox, the plastic surgery and the air-brushing, what we see is only an idealized vision of what women should look like.
Young people especially don’t always understand the falsity of these images. And it causes all kinds of pain when girls and young women can’t make themselves look like these phony popular culture images being lauded. When females try to live up to these standards, it is equivalent to boys and young men trying to live up to the standard set by the Superman character in comic books. It’s a no-win situation.
Second, as a person of faith, I particularly worry about the misplaced time and effort when our youth are encouraged to focus disproportionately on their appearance. At best, physical beauty is fleeting. It is not permanent. And Jesus taught us to minister to the brokenness of those around us. That is how we should use our time and resources instead of primping and buying tons of make-up and accessories.
There are two songs I wanted to share that seem apropos to these concerns about our culture’s fixation on physical beauty. They are accessible at the links below. I hope you enjoy them.
“Beautiful” by Mercy Me
“Fingerprints of God” by Steven Curtis Chapman
Matthew 7:24-27“Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock. But everyone who hears these words of mine and does not put them into practice is like a foolish man who built his house on sand. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell with a great crash.”