The Weed of Beauty
It is said that beauty is in the eyes of the beholder. On what criteria does the beholder judge the outward beauty of a woman? The measure of a beautiful woman is all too often defined by the media. One would believe that the quest for media-driven beauty was eradicated decades ago, yet it grows like a weed. The beholders of social media, television, movies, and print ads continue to nurture the weed.
The battle is endless. The commercialization of the latest popular fashions, makeup, hairstyles, and body shape is driven by the weed. Its roots pop up unannounced each year with new seeds and new flowers to attract the innocent girl as well as the seasoned woman with its lure of perfection. Just as the elusive prize is in reach it takes to the ground and rises again with new and more enticing flowers.
A study by the mega cosmetic company Dove, called “The Real Truth About Beauty” found that only 4% of women worldwide consider themselves beautiful and 72% feel pressured to look beautiful.[i] Yet, the beauty industry is a monster and growing fast. Globally it grew from $483 billion in 2020 to $511 billion in 2021 and is predicted to exceed $716 billion by 2025.[ii] Most women cannot resist the implied expectation to partake.
Targeting our youngest girls is a huge concern. Favorite cartoon characters such as Hello Kitty endorse nail polish and lip gloss to 6- and 7-year-olds.[iii] The implication is that girls are “less than” if they aren’t using these products. It’s a dangerous road for those so young to travel. Fashion designs sexualize young girls drawing attention to body parts not fully developed, feeding the weed.
Beyond the “mani-pedi’s and hair coloring, cosmetic surgery is not just for the starlet or fashion model. Ironically, the shutdown of the pandemic birthed a surge in facial reconstruction surgeries. “70 percent of facial plastic surgeons identify patients seeking procedures for an approved appearance on video conferencing as a rising trend”[iv] As stars of TikTok and Instagram rise so goes their desire to create the perfect image.
Over 7 billion people live in the world and no two are alike. The beholder, therefore, is challenged to set a standard for beauty on an individual basis. What one sees as beautiful, another is repelled by. Bringing us back to the pure arrogance of the beauty industry to define what each will see as beautiful.
In God’s eyes, everyone is made in His image and therefore of the greatest value and beauty. No one can look on God for His radiance is too great. “Having the glory of God, its radiance like a most rare jewel, like a jasper, clear as crystal.”[v] Quest of human-valued beauty is not new. The book of Esther includes a plan for a beauty contest to choose a new Queen. There is nothing innately wrong with wanting to look good and feel good about how you look. But God wants us to seek inner beauty first. The Lord looks at the heart. Provers 31:30 reminds us that beauty is fleeting; but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised.
“Your beauty should not come from outward adornments, such as braided hair and wearing gold jewelry and fine clothes, instead it should be that of your inner self.”[vi] Vanquish the weed.
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[i] https://www.wildcat.arizona.edu/article/2022/02/o-beauty-standards-2022 [ii] https://commonthreadco.com/blogs/coachs-corner/beauty-industry-cosmetics-marketing-ecommerce [iii] https://wehavekids.com/parenting/The-Impact-of-the-Beauty-Industry-on-Young-Girls [iv] https://www.aafprs.org/Media/Press_Releases/2021%20Survey%20Results.aspx [v] Revelation 21:11 [vi] I Peter 3:3,4 NIV