The Perfect Woman without Photoshop
A friend posted this video on Facebook this morning, and it got me thinking about what we are teaching our sons and daughters about what constitutes a beautiful woman. Do we tell them the truth about what is important, or do we allow them to be duped by the lie that perfect physical beauty is the most important goal.
The lies exposed in this video are lies of the devil promoted by the media and advertising industry. They are everywhere we look, in magazines, on billboards, and on television. They are subtle lies that suggest that women can, in fact, be like the perfect images we see in pictures and in videos. The truth is, as the Jean Kilbourne says, such external perfection can only be achieved through Photoshop and other manipulative software.
But where can we look to find the truth about what the perfect, or at least beautiful and exception woman, looks like? What should we be teaching our daughters to strive for? What should we be teaching our sons to appreciate in a woman? The truth can be found in God’s Word. Proverbs 31 describes the woman we should teach our daughters to desire to be and teach our sons to seek out for a wife:
A Wife of Noble Character
10 Who can find a virtuous and capable wife?
She is more precious than rubies.
11 Her husband can trust her,
and she will greatly enrich his life.
12 She brings him good, not harm,
all the days of her life.
13 She finds wool and flax
and busily spins it.
14 She is like a merchant’s ship,
bringing her food from afar.
15 She gets up before dawn to prepare breakfast for her household
and plan the day’s work for her servant girls.
16 She goes to inspect a field and buys it;
with her earnings she plants a vineyard.
17 She is energetic and strong,
a hard worker.
18 She makes sure her dealings are profitable;
her lamp burns late into the night.
19 Her hands are busy spinning thread,
her fingers twisting fiber.
20 She extends a helping hand to the poor
and opens her arms to the needy.
21 She has no fear of winter for her household,
for everyone has warm clothes.
22 She makes her own bedspreads.
She dresses in fine linen and purple gowns.
23 Her husband is well known at the city gates,
where he sits with the other civic leaders.
24 She makes belted linen garments
and sashes to sell to the merchants.
25 She is clothed with strength and dignity,
and she laughs without fear of the future.
26 When she speaks, her words are wise,
and she gives instructions with kindness.
27 She carefully watches everything in her household
and suffers nothing from laziness.
28 Her children stand and bless her.
Her husband praises her:
29 “There are many virtuous and capable women in the world,
but you surpass them all!”
30 Charm is deceptive, and beauty does not last;
but a woman who fears the Lord will be greatly praised.
31 Reward her for all she has done.
Let her deeds publicly declare her praise.
In this passage, inner beauty and character are prized over external beauty. As verse 30 says, beauty does not last. As illustrated by the video, what is portrayed as beauty by the media and advertising industry does not even exist. A beautiful character, however, is real and achievable. The woman with a beautiful character will bring happiness and contentment to those around her, and will last an eternity.
This is the truth we must impart to our sons and daughters so that they will desire inner beauty that is achievable rather than external beauty that is unachievable and destructive. It will take effort to impart this wisdom because we must combat the many lies that bombard our children every day. More and more videos like the one above are being posted on the Internet everyday. It is wonderful that they are there to expose the lies about physical beauty. But we must do more than just expose the lies; we must replace them with the truth. We must teach our children that character and godliness are the most important traits for them to desire and prize above all else.
If you have a son or daughter, share this important message with them. Jean Kilbourne says she has been sharing her message for 40 years and things have only gotten worse. Maybe if we add to her message the truth of what God’s Word says is the woman who “will be greatly praised,” then maybe in another 40 years things will be much better.
Regarding beauty, it’s not parents who teach their kids what’s important, it’s the other kids who tell them. Some of us were duped for awhile, and others are duped forever… an addiction that’s as tough to break as alcohol and cigarettes.
“What should we be teaching our sons to appreciate in a woman?” I don’t know if a mother’s wisdom can trump male hormones and the desire for Cindy Crawford and all the rest.
Verse 31 says, “Beauty does not last”. True, but with today’s dermatological grab bag of serums and syringes, it can be sustained for a very long time. I posted a new pic on my home page to illustrate my point. No photoshop, only sunscreen and modern science.
Destructive, and lies of the devil. That’s a good way to put it. But the source of this problem is just as significant as Proverbs 31 , which I used to have taped up in my dressing room.
Your post makes me think of a kid in sixth grade who started me on my journey of low self-esteem and vanity. If I write a post about that experience, can’t I use a link back to this post offering Proverbs 31 as the solution? Hmmm
Linda, The problem is complex indeed. I have a friend who is the same height as me and weighs 65 pounds less – I haven’t been her weight in 20 years – yet she complains about how fat she is! It drives me nuts. (I have to admit, though, that I hadn’t done the math for the last sentence – made me feel less than beautiful.) But I do know that internal beauty is more valuable to God. Which is not to say we shouldn’t care about keeping the outside looking healthy. Peace, Linda
Thank you Linda for sharing this. This means a lot. I have freckles, I have dry feet, I have fats and my face will never be on magazine cover but I never felt inferior or ugly until someone made me felt so. It hurt so much but have to win the battle within because I don’t want to live the rest of my life believing that I am ugly because of this external things. Should I accept that I’m ugly because my freckles will never ever say goodbye? Because my feet that were forced to drink lotions and oils but throwing it out couldn’t be as smooth as others? Because my fat is so fat?*grin* This I can do something about not because I want to be a model but to practice moderation.*grin again*
Where am I now? Ah..I am not ugly! Ask my Father! 🙂
Rea, I’m far from perfect, too. But He has been making my insides more beautiful each day, and that’s what matters. I could stand to loose a little fat, too, but not to be a model, just to be healthier. 😉 As I ready you last sentence I was reminded of my Music Monday Extra from a few weeks ago, the song Beautiful by MercyMe. We are beautiful in our Father’s eyes. Peace, Linda
This is such a real problem with us today that we look at the outward to measure a person’s worth… how much, how beautiful, how tall, how slender… Jesus was never described as handsome or stunning in His looks but His heart had greater worth than all the world’s hearts put together because in Him is love that is more than enough for the entire mankind. Thank you for sharing the video and that beautiful passage from Proverbs which certainly helps us to see the beauty of God’s creation through His eyes.
Vineet, There is scripture that says man looks at the outward appearances, but God sees the heart. We must strive to put the Holy Spirit in control so that we too are compelled to put more focus on the heart than on the outside. May God bless you as you raise your children to know the truth of what is important to our Savior. Peace, Linda
“We must teach our children that character and godliness are the most important traits for them to desire and prize above all else.”
We have so lost it… We’ve lost so much. Why we have become so hung-up on physical attributes is beyond me. “The woman with a beautiful character will bring happiness and contentment to those around her…” How did this message get lost in the ‘perfection propaganda’?
“It will take effort to impart this wisdom because we must combat the many lies that bombard our children every day. More and more videos like the one above are being posted on the Internet everyday. It is wonderful that they are there to expose the lies about physical beauty. But we must do more than just expose the lies; we must replace them with the truth.” I just shared the link with a young one. Praying the truth of God will be revealed to her.
Thank you, Linda. This is very close to my heart.
God bless you,
Ann, It happened because those in charge of advertising and media have bought into the lies of the evil one and believe them to be truth. They can make money to satisfy their greed by exploiting the lies. We must stand firm on the truth and expose the lies to those people God puts in our path. Thank you for sharing this with a young one. I will pray the truth is revealed to her. Peace, Linda
Thank you Linda, for sharing such an important message with us. We can know this, know that God sees us differently, sees inside us, that that is where true beauty is . . .but still be affected by what we see all around us. It is hard to not want to be beautiful like what we see and hard when we fail to be able to. I love the idea of matching God’s ideas on beauty with Jean’s message. It’s one thing to expose a problem . . .but we need Him to heal it. God bless you and your beauty in Him, inside and out!
Deb, The lies of the media are twofold. One lie is that there is a standard of physical beauty that must be achieved to be truly “beautiful” on the outside. I don’t meet that standard by a long shot, but my husband says I am beautiful and I believe him. The second is that physical beauty is most important. God reveals that it is not, and I believe Him. 🙂 I’ve never seen you, but I know that you are beautiful inside and out, too! Peace, Linda
I loved your reply! And I think all of this made a couple things stand out to me. I struggled a lot with “looks” when I was younger, as many young people do. I just don’t think about it now, don’t think about how I look beyond the obvious things (washed and brushed and covered). I love getting this chance to look at how He’s changed me to seeing myself as beautiful (dare I say that?) . . .or maybe it’s more about seeing Him as beautiful and in me and so I’m okay with what I see.
You talked in your reply about your husband thinking you are beautiful, and I love that too. I think that is so important for young girls . . .to have earthly daddies who love them and tell them how beautiful they are and to show them how loved they are, to combat all the enemy says to them each day. Not all of us will have dads or husbands to tell us that, so we get to share with them what their Father says , how precious they are and beautiful to Him. 🙂 Thank you Linda for doing just that here!