Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Beauty: What Can We Learn from The Tanning Mom?

I've got a bone to pick.

I'm sick and tired of something, and I can't think of a better place to vent but here in Deep Waters. Now let me just say, I'm a fan of print media, especially magazines. Just today I was doing my thing on the elliptical machine fully absorbed in a recent copy of Ebony. So absorbed that a dude I see in the gym all the time said, "Wow, you were in a zone."

Of course I was. I was getting my read on.

But I digress.

So, about that bone I've got to pick. I'm getting so tired of popular women's magazines and their covers. And not just the photo-shopped images of perfection. I'm tired of the headlines.

Here's a few I've seen recently:
  • A testimonial from a star I'll leave unnamed: "How I Lost 30 Pounds and Got My Confidence Back!"
  • "Feel Great Naked: 9 Foods that Burn Fat While You Eat"
  •  "131 Little Ways to Your Best Body"
  • And this little beaut from a billboard on an interstate "Better Legs. Better Life."
So what's a poor girl to think? I'll list the messages I receive from each of these ads:
  • If I lose weight, I'll be a confidant woman.
  • If I eat foods that burn fat, I'll feel great naked.
  • If I do these 131 things, I'll be on my way to my best body. (But what am I going for with the best body thing? Thin or healthy?)
  • If I spend thousands on laser surgery for my legs, I'll have not only better-looking legs, but a better life.
And who doesn't want a better life?

Girls, we've got to stop buying into the world's obsession with beauty. The Bible tells us that outward beauty is fleeting -- here today and gone tomorrow (Proverbs 31:30a).

Let's resist the trap of endless beauty treatments and products, plastic surgery and -- like our new friend, the Tanning Mom -- scorching our skin to a crisp.

Because what we all become aware of, sooner of later, is this:
  1. No matter how many aging creams, botox treatments or plastic surgeries we subject ourselves to -- we are all aging. There's just no way around it, Girls. We're all going to be and look old someday.
  2. Beauty does not bring happiness. Just ask the countless folks in Hollywood who've paid a fortune to look like Barbie. If they've got true joy inside, believe me, it's got nothing to do with how they look on the outside.
  3. True beauty -- the kind that lasts forever -- truly is skin deep. 2 Corinthians says it so well. "So we do not lose heart. Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day."
I don't know if the Tanning Mom is guilty of having her daughter tan with her. I'll let the judicial system figure all that out. But what are we teaching our baby girls when we even allow them to watch us tan for hours, and hours, and hours? What message are we giving them daily about their bodies, their hair, their entire outward selves?

Are we encouraging them? Are we telling them they are beautiful on the inside and outside? Are we affirming the inner beauty within them -- their athletic ability, their smarts, their musical talent? Are we focusing more on enhancing their character and the way they treat others, or are we focusing more on their hairdos or the dress they'll wear to the next special event?

Let's encourage the next generation of women to spend more time in the books than in the mirror. And more time in college classrooms than in the tanning salon. And more time nourishing their relationship with God than with boys.

And as their mothers, aunties and mentors, let's make sure we're practicing what we're preaching to them.

Amen. I think I've gotten it out of my system.


** Drop a comment here and let me know how you feel about our culture's beauty craze. Have you struggled to focus more on your or your daughter's inner beauty, rather than your/her outer beauty?

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