It seems to be so important in fact, we risk our health, and money to obtain it. Tanning salons have popped up on every corner, and plastic surgeons are always eager to take new 'patients.' The future growth forecast of the beauty industry is that global sales are expected to exceed more than $300 billion dollars by 2011. Is it really a necessity to be physically beautiful, or is it just something that we are told that we must "be" or else we won't be accepted?
Honestly, I think that the mind sets we Americans have about this issue are absolutely toxic. By only focusing on ourselves, it seems that we all have become selfish and inconsiderate as a whole, and if our focus is only on ourselves, how do we expect to ever really be happy in life. There has always got to be more? Right? More weight to lose, more clothes to buy for ourselves, more plastic surgery to have, we are never content and satisfied. When will we wake up and really see, that the reason we are here is not to "kill" ourselves to become beautiful?
In the popular ABC television show "Extreme Makeover" (2002-2005) contestants considered to be "ugly" got to go on the show and get a complete and extensive make-over completely free of charge. Millions of people eagerly applied to go through the pain and discomfort of several plastic surgeries over a several week period to obtain that dream body they so desperately "needed." However, records indicate that in some cases, when the "new person" came home to their family, because of their sense of vanity and feeling as though they were somehow "better" now, that their marriages shortly ended in divorce. On the other side of the spectrum the contestant suffered from depression, because they were still not happy with their body image.
After all the research and study I have been doing on this issue, I was reminded of a passage in 1st Peter 3:3- 4 (NLT) it says (3) "Don't be concerned about the outward beauty of fancy hairstyles, expensive jewelry, or beautiful clothes. (4) You should clothe yourselves instead with the beauty that comes from within, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is so precious to God." This really spoke to me since I have too many times witnessed some of the most "physically attractive" people be the absolute ugliest and most unattractive people on the inside. I think things would start to change if we all took these wise verses to heart.
Dove (soap) has launched a campaign, called Dove's campaign for REAL beauty. I am so happy that they are doing this that I went out and bought all new Dove products, from shampoo to deodorant. I am pleased with them because they have made a pledge not to publish false and unattainable body images to young girls, and they go around the United States and the world, teaching and mentoring girls to realize that they are, in fact, beautiful. Due to the media falsehood, only 2% of the women in the world would even consider themselves as beautiful. So, with companies like Dove refusing to participate in the lies that mainstream media displays, I feel like it is one step closer to opening people's eyes to the fact that just maybe, our way of thinking about beauty has not been completely accurate. I think every girl asks the silent question "do you think I am beautiful?" and I think the best candidate to reassure her is her father.
A father's words in a child's life usually affect them whether they are negative or positive, for the rest of their life. How wonderful would the outcome be if a child heard, "Yes, you are beautiful, and yes you do measure up," since everyday in the media, all they are hearing is, "NO! You do not measure up." To this day, I can't recall one time that my father has ever called me beautiful. So this "beauty" issue in turn has been a struggle for me, all my life. I believe that girls would be better off receiving reassurance from their parents, that they are enough, and they are accepted and not only that, that they would receive encouragement and teaching of how to be beautiful on the inside. I believe then, we could possibly see harmful statistics like eating disorders, and teen suicides start to decrease.
So, my encouragement to you is that, the next time you may feel as if you don't measure up, or you're just not in that unattainable realm of beauty, relax and realize.... It could be possible that beauty may have a larger "Realm" than we think.