Out of curiosity, I looked up the word “beauty” in the dictionary the other day. The definition read: “a combination of qualities, such as shape, color, or form, that pleases the aesthetic senses, especially the sight.” In light of a… sunset perhaps it seems fitting. However, when taking people into consideration… I was appalled. We have reduced beauty to merely one’s appearance.
The world tells us that beauty is the most important characteristic to possess while our parents, teachers, friends, and role models desperately convince us otherwise. How many times have you heard someone tell you “beauty is in the eye of the beholder” or “it’s what’s on the inside that counts”? Unintentionally though, those very people, who tried to sway us against the world’s view, are just as guilty. From an early age girls are taught to be beautiful and that beauty is derived from their appearance. Most often the first thing someone says to a little girl is “you’re so cute!” And we instill the importance of the world’s beauty in children through media. Disney is by far the biggest culprit…
The Disney princesses – Snow White, Cinderella, Aurora, Ariel, Belle, Jasmine, Pocahontas, Mulan, Tiana, and Rapunzel – are seemingly innocent fictitious characters from our favorite childhood fairytales. But further investigation leads me to believe that these movies implant an unhealthy view of beauty in young girls. Snow White’s physical appearance was a threat to another woman so she was killed. If you remember, the dwarfs were unwilling to bury Snow White because of her beauty and instead laid her to rest in a glass coffin. A prince saves Cinderella from being a slave in her own home. He does this not because she is a diligent worker, but because she is beautiful. Princess Aurora (nicknamed “Sleeping Beauty”) has been described as Disney’s “most beautiful heroine” with her long golden blonde hair in loose flowing curls, sparkling eyes, rose-red lips, and statuesque figure. She is killed out of spite and her fiancé saves her with a kiss. Ariel is considered King Triton’s most beautiful daughter and gives up her voice in order to drastically change her physical appearance to be more attractive to a man. Belle literally means “beautiful” in French. When the Beast captures her father, Belle seeks to rescue him and asks to exchange her freedom for his. The Beast is deeply moved by Belle’s beauty and obliges.
Now, please don’t think I’m condemning Disney or think you should stop telling your niece she’s cute. Just be aware of and intentional about the things you watch and say. There is nothing wrong with wanting to look good, but like everything else… there is a balance.
So… What defines beauty? According to the world it is: how thin is your waist, how white are your teeth, how big are your breasts, and how tan is your skin. These superficial merits are lies the enemy feeds us! And sadly, we repeatedly accept them. 1 Samuel 16:7 says But the LORD said to Samuel, “Do not consider his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him. The LORD does not look at the things man looks at. Man looks at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart.” What does this mean? While the world focuses on what people look like on the outside, God focuses on what people look like on the inside. Therefore, ask yourself this – do you spend more time and effort looking attractive on the inside or the outside?