A couple of weeks ago now, Mary Graham tweeted about the Dove Campaign for Real Beauty. In her tweet, she linked to the following video, made by Dove:
Dove have set up a website and a ‘Self Esteem Fund’ to try to promote, particularly among young girs, the feeling that beauty is more than just a body shape and self esteem and self confidence should not be based on whether or not they conform to a certain image. Their website has some great tools for Moms and people who care to use to help their girls see beauty differently to how most media portrays it.
We are all bombarded every day with images, text and audio which tell us that there is a physical goal to aim for to become ‘beautiful’. It’s repressive in its pervasiveness and is virtually inescapable.
I applaud Dove’s efforts in this. I really do. What makes me sad though is that the Church is not doing more about it and it has to be down to a business to pave the way.
I believe that we need to join with Dove in helping girls, and for that matter ALL women, see that real beauty is not an outward appearance but is in your character and self esteem.
We’re really good at trying to convince teenagers not to have sex but, let’s face it,’ many of them are having sex to try to feel attractive, to feel loved. If we can give them that feeling of being beautiful without them having to give of themselves sexually, then we can take away one of the major reasons to engage in those activities.
My wife and I were discussing this subject tonight and we both thought of Proverbs 31:30:
Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting;
but a woman who fears the LORD is to be praised.
As I was thinking about that verse, two people sprang to my mind:
The first, Bridget Bardot, was a pinup model and movie star in the 60’s and 70’s. Beautiful, slim, blonde – she had it all, the world at her feet.
The years have gone by though and that youthful beauty has faded somewhat.
Now, in her seventies, Ms Bardot can no longer trade on her beauty alone, so what is she left with? I don’t know much about her character but what I read in the media does not paint a very pretty picture.
Then there’s Mother Teresa.
Maybe never the most classically beautiful of women, Mother Teresa is known the world over for her inner beauty, her character, even now – years after her death.
This lady, who worked tirelessly in the slums of Calcutta is honored, praised and remembered not just for some passing beauty that faded long before she died but for what she did, who she was and how she loved the poor even until the very end.
We need to be teaching women, both young and old, that there is more to life than a pretty face and a ‘perfect’ figure, that there’s more to beauty than an outward appearance.
What’s more, we need to teach it day in, day out, every day for the rest of their lives, until they truly get it – because you can be sure that the opposing view will continue to be hurled at them from every angle 24 hours a day!
The bible says to love your neighbor as yourself.
How can we love our neighbors if we never learn to love ourselves?
30 Reply to “Rediscovering Self Esteem”
Wonderful, beautiful post, Peter! (Standing up applauding)
“What makes me sad though is that the Church is not doing more about it and it has to be down to a business to pave the way.”
Spot on! Look at Jesus. He looked beyond a woman’s appearance and reputation. Instead, He looked deeper and loved what was inside.
Aww, Thanks, Bonnie!
Wow. That last line really got to me.
I think I am kinder to others about appearance than I am to my big ol’ gap toothed self. But is that kindness love? How much does my own appearance bother me. Not much. Until I look at a picture, or in a mirror…
Otherwise I remember that God looked at all He made, and said it was good…After creating animals as well. Think about it. He created this
And was still pleased with what He did! I doubt He created big ol’ gap toothed me and said “Yech!” 🙂
That’s an awesome animal picture!
God looks at you and sees the beautiful, wonderful, unique person that he created. We put so much store by outward appearance but God (the one who really matters) looks at the heart!
Great post, I may steal large parts (as in the whole thing) to talk to my youth.
Go right ahead. I’m going to write about the boys tomorrow!
Great post – too many people struggle with self esteem issues, and we need to affirm people for who they are – God’s child – not what they look like
I think you’re absolutely right. We have to give these girls the fortitude to withstand the images of “perfection” they are force fed every day.
One small thing, I hope by saying the Church needs to do something you are meaning people and specifically parents. We can help in lots of small ways and leaders can try to train parents to understand this, but the bulk of this confidence or lack thereof will come from their parents. If they don’t “get” it it’s that much harder to break through.
Just some thoughts, but an excellent post.
I agree, the bulk of their confidence dopes come from their parents but I also think it is the whole church’s responsibility to reinforce the good things that their parents are teaching.
We all need a solid, consistent message coming from all angles to really get past and defeat the negative message coming from the media and other people.
That’s all I’m saying. If the parents aren’t giving the confidence to them, we have much bigger problems. We all play a part for sure, but there will always be more important voices than others. Hope that makes sense (I’m not trying to be argumentative!)…
I do agree with you… if the parents aren’t on board with it then there’s virtually no hope. Obviously there’s exceptions but in general what is learned at home has the most impact
Great post, Peter!
We should all be more concerned about this subject! Thanks for making others aware of this problem. I have a 12 year old daughter and what a struggle it is for her. She has such a great heart, though it is far too easy to get sucked into the pressure of being overly concerned with outward appearances.
I dread to think of the struggles we’re going to have when our daughters reach their teen years. We’re trying to teach them young but the weight of cultural pressure is scary!
I don’t think anything needs to be said about this post, other than “AMEN, and AMEN!!!”
Aww, thanks, Brenda!
I think this is a very timely post on many levels. My church just started a girls’ study based on Every Young Woman’s Battle. I’m very excited to go through this book with a group of awesome teenage girls, and I found this post to be incredibly relevant! I forwarded the link of this post to the teacher of the study, and I bet she’ll agree! Kudos, Peter.
I tried to send you a tweet this morning but couldn’t find you on twitter still… why is that? 🙂
Haven’t visited blogs much lately. Busy with summer and all. Love the article. We are doing a conference on body image this month at our church. It is such a critical issue for women but especially for the young ones. Thanks for posting this!
Loved reading this Peter!! It’s awesome! I especially enjoyed the visual you shared with the two females that came to your mind….a great way to bring the whole post together on beauty VS character. Your post really has me thinking about the many different ways I’d like to work on being a better mother to a young 6 yr. old girl….the work for me starts when she’s YOUNG and will never stop so I’ll really be praying about my role in this! Great post!!
Thanks for sharing! Something for me to chew on and pray about….I love it when that happens!
This may be a matter of semantics, or maybe I’m just the odd-man-out, but I have a problem with the concept of self-esteem.
I think that we all do better when we esteem others more highly than ourselves, recognizing that we’re not wonderful people but the greatest of sinners, instead.
With that humbleness, we can then approach the foot of the cross in repentance. When Jesus puts His arms around us in spite of our sin, we find the love that we’ve been looking for in all the wrong places.
Then we can share that love with others.
Wonderful post. I completely agree that what matters is inner beauty. In fact, whenever we look at the people we are close too, we realize that looks don’t really matter. Yet, we are ready to accept pageants and such like.
In fact, you may be interested in an initiative my company has started – Real Ms. World. Basically this is an online contest where participants are judged based on what they are, not how they look. Do check it out at http://www.realmsworld.com and do spread the word if you like what you see.
very informative post on rediscovering self esteem!