I have a love/hate relationship with media and marketing. I see their ploys and sometimes laugh at the stupidity that, sadly, most consumers of the product end up purchasing. Sometimes I am amazed at the brilliance of the corporate schemes. My “favorite” is mascara commercials. The idea that mascara can actually “lengthen” your lashes, almost a centimeter(!), in the minute it takes to apply, is a RIDICULOUS claim. My jaw dropped while watching one of these imbecilic commercials because the model had FAKE EYELASHES ON!! How stupid do these people think we are?

I have always struggled with image issues and have spent a couple of decades convincing and reminding myself that some corporate man in a suit will not cajole me into believing that I need their product to be beautiful. It’s very hard to be a girl in this world and be ok with what’s reflected in the mirror. I’ve struggled with self-image issues since elementary school. The pain, anger and sadness I still feel can sometimes paralyze me. Marketing tells us that if we cut this, buy that, drink this, shake that, wear this, drive that, then we’ll be happy and successful in life. It’s a very weary process for us to wake up happy, every day, and still be happy when our heads hit the pillow.

I knew this day would come but I had no idea it would come so soon. As usual, my five year old daughter was dressing up in her Princess costumes when she told me and Jase that she is holding in her breath to make her tummy skinny. My heart sank, broke and cried all in the same moment. I’ve never shared my low self-image with my children so I thought they were safe, at least for a few more years, from this issue. So as not to alarm her and shut her down, I calmly asked why she was doing that and she said “to be like a Princess because all Princesses have skinny stomachs.” Now, along with my heart getting run over with a steamroller, I felt like I was going to vomit. I wanted to immediately run upstairs and collect all the Princess movies we had and toss them outside for a farewell bonfire. Obviously I don’t really “hate” the Disney Princesses, I’ve never met them so I don’t know them personally… Seriously though, their fake (not to mention provocative) image irritates me and is now making my five year old wish she had a smaller stomach. To witness my tiny, young daughter ALREADY feel like she wasn’t beautiful enough made everything in me want to scream and cry at the same time. We spent a long time encouraging her that she is gorgeous just the way she is and the way God intended her to be and that most REAL Princesses actually don’t have skinny stomachs. We pointed out that there would be something wrong with a real human being if they looked like the Princesses in the movies, they’d have to be missing guts and a heart (Hm… there’s a real good story in there somewhere). However, I still get nauseated and inflamed when thinking about how those movies have already negatively influenced her mind.

Out of all the things in this world that I am passionate about, the number one message that I want to spread is to ‘find beauty within yourself and everyone else.’ Outer beauty is what gives us false perceptions of good character, love and happiness. I’ve seen the most beautiful people, in the world, give a list of flaws they feel they have and share how unhappy they are. I’ve seen men and women transform their faces and bodies into unrecognizable beings, for the sake of “beauty”. Once the cutting and tucking begins, when (and why) will it stop? Once you see a flaw that needs to be surgical enhanced and you “fix” it, your body will continue to decay and sag and the surgeries continue until you become like Michael Jackson and doctors start refusing to work on you and you have to wear a surgical mask on your face because you look like Frankenstein now. Yeah, I’m ranting. I’m pissed at the culture of “beauty”. I’m angry that feelings of failure to attain beauty have cost the lives of so many young kids and adults. I’m angry that most Americans will reject people or accept them SOLELY based on looks and then reject those they initially accepted when they find that the “perfect” people really do have flaws. I’m angry that we feel we know someone based on their outer appearance. We feel that maybe the beautiful ones have it all together and have perfect lives and since we only see flaws in our own reflections, we feel we’ll never measure up. We end up living our lives as unhappy people because “the grass is always greener on the other side” and we’ll never be good enough.

“Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting; but a woman who fears the LORD is to be praised.”

-Proverbs 31:30