January 11, 2010

Out of Focus: Still Obsessed with Self-Image

Dove did it first with their ads a few years ago. Now Vogue is featuring plus size models, attempting to prove that there is room in the fashion industry for women who don't disappear when they turn sideways. As encouraging as it is to see a new perspective on beauty, one can't help to wonder if there is an element of exploitation involved, as if the plus size model could ever become a norm in the industry. The novelty will soon wear off because, as we know, this is an industry motivated by externals and, ultimately, by dollars.

Size 1 or size 14, we are obviously still a society focused on self-image and sexuality, and the message young women are receiving is still the same--you have no option but to focus on and communicate your sexuality to be of any value in our culture today. Suggesting that this is a "healthier" take on body size and shape is to impugn our intellect, a set-back for women everywhere.

As believers, we need to tackle the obsession of self-image with teaching and reflection on the image of God. Having been created in this image, how we are to live our lives ought to reflect the desire to be holy, committed followers of Jesus. That means, whether a size 1 or a size 14, we communicate with our mouths and our bodies a message that glorifies God. What young women struggle with in terms of identity and purpose is not properly addressed with an out-of-focus view on our sexuality. As most of us get older, our externals tend to be of little interest to anyone and the despair associated with rejection may be overwhelming to the woman of tomorrow. Of course, our externals are often a reflection of the condition of the heart, so they do matter to that degree. But unless we are equipping women to live their whole lives in a way that pleases the Lord, they will constantly revert back to a self-esteem sought through a compromised personal ethic. The question of who we are and what we think should take priority over how we feel, and as refreshing as it is to see models who look more like the real women in today's world, nothing has really changed.

1 comment:

Bonnie said...

It's not just a focus on sexuality, but a particular type of sexuality -- aberrant, basically. Fetish, edgy, bad-girl, lesbian... What could be liberating (or healthier) about that?