Wednesday, April 13, 2011

the beauty ideal.

dear ladies (and gentlemen, as well),

i have a challenge for you.

try going an entire day (or for the really daring, an entire week) without complimenting someone on how they look.  this includes general physique, make-up, clothes, hair, accessories--anything appearance related. facebook/blog/online comments are included in as a part of the challenge (think of all the photo comments that say something along the lines of, "you're beautiful!" or "great dress!").

i offer this challenge because i've become quite passionate about the way our culture subtly reinforces a set of values that tells women the only thing important about them is how they look.  we claim we've seen the light, that we know what's on the inside is of course most important, yet much of our daily communication and our interactions with each other reinforce this beauty ideal.

what if little girls grew up hearing their personalities, creativity, courage, and intelligence encouraged above all else?
would they be able to rise above the social pressures of looking thin, fashionable, and fabulous when they become adults?
what if grown women received compliments for something deeper than their new outfit?
what if grown women gave compliments for something more valuable than a trendy haircut?
would they start to break free of the chains of diet, exercise, and food guilt?

i'm just asking you to try and become aware in your own daily life, specifically through your own interactions with the women in your life, of the ways you buy into the cultural belief that appearance is the most valuable thing a woman has to offer.  try to offer praise and encouragement for something totally unrelated to appearance.

it will probably make her day.


  1. I love this and I am going to totally take up the challenge. Maybe take it a step further and not say anything depreciating about myself either.

    However, I will say that aesthetic beauty is something I believe in. The pleasure we take in beauty is a gift. While physical beauty is not by any means the most important thing in life, it is a testimony of God's creative streak. I love that about people...and we need to learn to love that about ourselves, so long as it doesn't become something that is always at the forefront of our minds and tongues.

    Thank you for the challenge dearest. We need it.

  2. I love sleepytime conversations. How eloquently you stated this.