“Every day is so wonderful
Then suddenly it’s hard to breathe.
Now and then I get insecure
From all the pain, I’m so ashamed.
I am beautiful no matter what they say.
Words can’t bring me down.
I am beautiful in every single way.
Yes, words can’t bring me down… Oh no.
So don’t you bring me down today.”
“Beautiful” by Christina Aguilera
Wow, it’s not every day that I can use a pop song (is a song from 2002 still considered “pop”?) in my blog, but this song is one of the very few positive images of beauty in the media in recent history. I don’t often (read: EVER) look to the media to give me reassurance about my body, about my struggle with loving myself as I am, with thinking myself beautiful. In fact, most media images of beauty are completely unhealthy, unattainable and untrue.
Warning: the model in this video wears only a bikini bottom, though none of her chest is shown. Perfect example of how even “super models” are not all we think they are.
But can I only blame the media? I don’t think so. Sure, I get these unattainable images thrust at me and told that this is beautiful, but I accept it! And then it starts: “I’m too fat, I’m too short, I’m too whatever.” So yes, Christina, words can bring me down. Where do those words come from? My own mind. Who’s telling me I’m not beautiful, not good enough? Only me. And these words are toxic.
If I’m telling myself I’m not beautiful, what am I modeling for my daughter, especially Mini-me? If I believed in reincarnation, she would be living proof. Isn’t she beautiful? Yeah, duh.
If I don’t believe in my own beauty, how will I ever give that beauty to others? How will I fulfill one of the jobs God has created me to be–a bringer of His own Beauty to the world dying for loss of it. Prince Myshkin in The Idiot says that “Beauty will save the world.” I believe this to be true. True beauty in art, music, liturgy, etc. has the power to change lives, to transform hearts and souls. We women also have this power, given us by God, that we may make Him present to those we encounter. We are created to reflect Beauty, the Beauty of the Creator.
Recently, in my women’s group study of Momnipotent, the session discussed “Fearless Beauty.” The opening video showed a camera person going around asking women “Are you beautiful?” Out of the thirty or so women they asked, only two were able to say with confidence, “Yes! I am beautiful!” None of the others answered in the affirmative, and many answered in the negative. Why?
And then, last week I read at Carrots for Michaelmas Haley’s take on beauty and our culture’s damaging words to women. How she fears for her daughters and their encounter with the image of beauty in the media. She delights in her daughters’ beauty, the same way God delights in ours. Borrowing her words, God delights in my Jamie-ness. In your Elizabeth-ness. In your Sandy-ness.
We are enough, ladies. We are beautiful and we have the Lord of the Universe who takes great delight in our beauty. His works (that includes women–all women) are wonderful, do we know that full well? (Ps. 139.14) Do you know that you are God’s temple, which is holy? (I Cor. 3. 16,17; 6. 19, 20)
I still struggle. I probably always will. But I must trust (ugh, again? Seriously?) that the God who created me delights in me, finds me beautiful and will give me the grace to give that beauty to others.
And because YouTube is great, another short little video on real life women being made into super models.