Why is the idea of attractiveness so skewed? I’ve been hearing a great deal about the unveiling of Sports Illustrated’s new swimsuit cover for about a month now. I’ve seen coverage on Twitter, Facebook, Yahoo, and the daily news. Yes, everyone, this is news if you didn’t know it already. There may be wars, earthquakes, starving people all over the world, but this, my friends, is what the people want to see.
SI has always hailed itself as a magazine who advocates the true beauty of a woman. Real women? Really? Even if the models they use in their swimsuit editions aren’t near the brink of starvation, the message still exists. Less is more. Less weight, less clothing, less wrinkles, less gray hair, less scars, less dark circles, less freckles, less…reality.
Why does beauty have to be so unrealistic? Why can’t it exist in the flaws and quirks that make us unique and individualistic? It seems that nowadays every type of “different” is accepted besides a women’s beauty. Just when you think you see some progress, something like a magazine cover brings you back into actuality.
When I finally did see the much anticipated cover of this magazine, I was flabbergasted. It looks more like what I’d imagine a cover of Playboy to look like. The model has on less fabric than what can be found on my key chain, and she’s 19! What kind of message is this sending our young girls who are so conflicted with the media’s idea of beauty? Why can’t the media praise successful, beautiful women for their accomplishments and by the honorable way they carry themselves in a “less is more” world–not by their clothing, makeup, money, age, or weight?
Real beauty is a process of discovery and renewal that deserves to be praised. It took me a long time to get where I am today because my idea of beauty got a little tangled up with the word respect. Somehow those two words became interchangeable to me. My mentality was “If I’m thin and pretty, I’ll be respected.” Most of the time, it’s not the fact that we want to change ourselves; it’s that we want others to change. We want others to see us differently, and we want them to treat us differently. Because when they don’t, something is obviously wrong with us, right? Our logic is apparently distorted, and the media isn’t making it any better.
Only when I learned that respect comes from how I respect myself did I learn what true beauty is. Respect comes from finding confidence through what we say and do. I had to work for this realization. How can you respect yourself when it seems like you’re the complete opposite of what the world sees as beautiful? That’s just it: Respect has nothing to do with the world’s idea of beauty! Respect takes discipline. It means that we have to take on the responsibility of representing what God sees in us each and every day we live. And God must see something pretty awesome because we have all been given this wonderful blessing called life.
A great deal of prayer, a lot of avoiding the magazine racks at the grocery store, and a lot of journaling allowed me to grow tired of waiting on myself to accept who I am. I grew tired of wanting to change. This truth has brought me freedom in so many capacities, and I’ve never felt more confident. Sometimes, less isn’t more. More is. We shouldn’t have to limit ourselves and our potential for success, and we shouldn’t have to hide behind a mask of artificiality because we think we will find respect that way. We deserve more to live for, more to die for, more to cherish, more to enjoy, more to become….more to love. And love is pretty important; it’s the greatest commandment of all!
See, more is more.
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