Beauty… Who defined it for you?
So much of my life I have spent trying to look a certain way or reach a certain number on the scale. Somewhere in my young adult life I was given the impression that it was a wife’s job, her obligation to make sure she kept herself looking good for her husband to keep him interested. I was never given the impression that this went both ways. Nothing was ever said about a husband keeping himself attractive for his wife. In fact, it was more, “You are married. You can let yourself go now.” Talk about a double standard!
I can’t even tell you how many crash diets I have been on over the years. Or how many different diet pills I have tried so that I could either maintain my weight or lose weight. I still feel pressure when it comes to how much I weigh or what I look like. I keep asking myself, “Where did this pressure come from? Where did I get my idea of what beauty is?” Sadly, I got it from images that use to scroll across my Dad’s computer screen as his screen saver. He called it “Art”. But really it was half naked women posed in a seductive way.
In my 15-year-old mind, I thought this is what I have to look like in order to be considered beautiful. This is what every man considers beautiful. Fast forward to dating and I was fed the same messages. I remember one blind date I went on where the guy actually asked me how much I weighed, and I was wearing a winter coat, so he made sure to take his hands to see how much fat I had around my waist. He seemed pleased with what he discovered; I was mortified and disgusted. Needless to say, that date didn’t last long.
Fast forward to meeting my husband. I remember the first time I went over to his Dad’s house. I went to the bathroom which was right across the hall from his open bedroom door. Anyone who walked by could clearly see his Dad had pictures of women hanging on his wall and so did my husband. So, you can see why I thought this was just a thing that men did. They “admired” the female body by putting it on display. One thing that stuck out to me was that all these pictures were of women who were thin & beautiful. I felt like I didn’t measure up because I didn’t look like them. (I wasn’t air brushed!) I didn’t know to expect more from men. I was given the impression from a young age that this was typical male behavior and almost like a rite of passage.
Since joining Captives Free I have discovered that my experience is not rare. Many women have felt the same pressure to keep up their appearance in order to keep their husband’s attention. Many have felt the gut punch from feeling like they don’t measure up to the picture on the screen. I know that my worth is not defined by what I look like. I now know that it is more than reasonable to expect more from men. That which I experienced may be typical male behavior, but that doesn’t make it right. It is an excuse for men to continue to objectify women. I have heard it said many times, that men are visual. But I ask, “Where does it say that in the Bible?” Did God really design just men that way? Or Is this a result of a fallen world? I believe God designed men and women to be visual. But why? I think He designed us this way so that we would notice the beauty in His creation, not so that we would lust or objectify each other.
Psalm 139:13-16…I will praise God today, remembering that He is my Maker. I have been fearfully and wonderfully made. I will not compare myself to others, for I am unique in His eyes. When He made my frame in the secret place, He delighted in me. His eyes saw my unformed body. I will not be anxious of my situation, because all the days ordained for me were written in His book before I even came to be. He created my inmost being and knit me together in my mother's womb, I will glorify Him with my life.