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Wednesday, January 30, 2013

The Pretty Girl Rock.

I turn the shiny page. Red carpets, beautiful gowns, chiseled bodies, shiny hair. An advertisement for perfume. An article about how to get those eyelashes fuller. Flawless, tanned skin. Perfect, skinny, curvy bodies. 
This past week, friends, I have been reading through all of the popular women's magazines available. Excited to contribute as a part of the new Quite Magazine's writing team, I have been reading and "getting a feel for" what's out there, what's made available for millions of American women to read on a monthly basis. Doing a little research, you could say. Honestly, I will not purchase more than half the women's magazines available. I won't spend money to support the lies they scream at women, the explicit sexual content, graphic pornographic photos and "sex tips" that no young women should be viewing or exposed to (especially underage girls.) Yet, as I viewed many of these magazines in their online versions, I see a common theme, a thread throughout them all: how to look prettier, be skinnier, sexier, hotter, more flawless. Basically? How to be beautiful. 

"Plastic surgery: should you or shouldn't you?"  

 "How to stay skinny"

 "Tricks for shinier hair and clearer skin" 

"45 Ways to...", nevermind. Let's not go there. Trying to keep this place PG, people! 

Now, I'm not saying there's anything wrong with striving to be the best we can be, to make the most of our natural beauty, to love fashion and makeup, doing our hair, and looking pretty! But, I'm sure you've seen what I mean, here- all you have to be is a regular grocery store shopper and you are bombarded with images on magazines every time you stand in the check-out line to simply purchase your week's meals. This topic has been stewing in my heart the last few days because of the research I've been doing for magazine writing. And it has me saddened and also, concerned. And I know I'm not alone in this. I know so many of you agree with me and share the same heart. I am outraged that our culture has taken beauty to a level that is completely fake, false and unattainable. And we need to be real, honest and upfront about what the media is doing to condition all of us to think we are not good enough, not pretty enough, not "hot" enough. I know people are smart. You ladies know what is true and what is false. But at the same time, when we are exposed to images day in and day out - on our computers, smart phones, iPads, TV's, billboards, catalogs we receive in the mail, magazines we read and see on the newsstand  and signs at the store and mall - we need to remember the truth

We need to be reminded of this: 

Ladies, maybe it's not Maybelline. Maybe it's Photoshop.

Example A: 
photos found here, you can view more airbrushing examples

Ladies, I'm sure you've seen before/after photo examples like this before. But seriously, I think we need to often and regularly remind ourselves and the precious women in our lives that the standards of beauty the media presents to us on a daily basis are big, fat LIES. 

You ladies are smart. And our guys are smart too (Sidenote: I believe the same thing is happening to men in our media, but that is another post for another time.) Yet I also believe that our minds are impressionable. Our hearts are soft. And when we are constantly, daily, weekly, monthly, yearly exposed to airbrushed photos and unrealistic, impossible standards of physical beauty, it takes a toll. It truly does. Or at least, in my personal experience it does. 

And from what I am learning, I am not alone. Lies scream at us from the perfect, airbrushed images - You're fat. You're not pretty enough. You're not good enough. You're ugly. In fact, no one will ever love you. Your skin is pasty and your thighs are huge. Your breasts are too small. Your waist is TOO BIG. 
And on and on and on until we want to scream and run away. Or starve ourselves. Or cut our wrists. Or diet obsessively and take laxative pills. Or throw up in the toilet after dinner. Or spend hours upon hours in tanning beds under harmful rays (I am guilty as charged for doing that many times in the past...) It happens slowly, over time. Thoughts of self-loathing. That feeling that hangs over you like a dark rain cloud that makes you feel blah. That makes you feel like you will never measure up, never be quite good enough, never be loved, or wanted or desired. And sometimes, these thoughts are not even conscience. But if you're anything like me, they are there. Maybe to just a slight level - maybe you look in the mirror sometimes and kick yourself for not working out more. Maybe you roll your eyes at family pictures because you think your nose is way too big and your eyes are way too small. Perhaps you constantly tear yourself down with words of self hatred like I sometimes do: "My hair looks like a rat's nest! Do you see the bags under my eyes? Another pimple popped up last night, great. I look SO FAT!" 

Lies, my friend. Lies from the pit of hell.

And so today, I want to remind you of some simple truth. I want you to know, to remember - that you are beautiful and you are loved.  
You are OH so loved, my sweet friend. And you do not need to be skinner, healthier, prettier, sexier, more bronzed, highlighted, toned or plucked to be loved. You are loved - just the way you are. You are loved by God. The One who calls the stars into the sky at twilight. The One who created your heart. The One who made the world. He calls you beautiful, He calls you "Beloved." And He would know, after all... He made you!

Your worth is not found in how long and thick your eyelashes are. It's not found in how curvy your waist is or in the size of your chest. You are not worthwhile because guys turn their heads when you walk down the street. Or because you wear designer jeans. It's not because you have beautiful hair or sparkly eyes. Or because you have long legs or shapely arms. Your worth is not found in being pretty or skinny.

Tans fade. Hair turns gray. Fashion changes. Trends come and go. But nothing you can do can change what you are worth. Nothing can happen to take away God's love. Not acne, not wrinkles. Frizzy hair cannot take it away. And chapped lips do not matter to Him. He loves you no matter what. And you are beautiful because you are real. Because your soul is deep. Because you have dreams. Because of the way you love people, the way your mind works, the passion that bursts inside your heart when you think of all you want to do someday. That is real beauty. 

Ladies, remember that you are precious, valued, and loved. Let's stop comparing ourselves to pictures of women that are NOT REAL. These lies we are force-fed. Don't get down on yourself because of something that does not even truly exist - airbrushed perfection. 

And be on your guard, I urge you - do not let the Enemy rip you off! Stand firm and combat his lies with truth. That you are loved. Treasured. Valued. And that the images on magazines and billboards are fake

"For You created my inmost being;
You knit me together in my mother's womb.
And I will praise You because 
I am fearfully and wonderfully made." 
Your works are wonderful 
and I know that full well."
-Psalm 139:13-14 
"You are altogether beautiful,
my love;
there is no flaw in you." 
-Song of Songs 4:7 
#SWOON ;)


You are loved, beautiful girl.
Keep your chin up, darlin'.
He calls you beautiful.
Now let that sink in for a minute.

XO

Erin

Note: these photos have been edited with fun overlays to add artistic interest, but they have not been airbrushed or touched up

30 comments:

  1. Thank you so much for posting this :) It's always great for us to remind and encourage each other. We are all BEAUTIFUL and I wish the media would stop polluting our minds, especially the vulnerable teens.

    Great post.

    Gia @ Lovely Serendipity

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  2. Beloved Erin! Every time you post it speaks volumes to my heart and soul. God is pouring out in your. This post makes me overwhelmed with sadness and joy. I am crying. For years I have masked myself with these types of lies. I hated my self image and didn't have confidence because of it. I retreated within myself and built up walls to protect myself. In hopes that no one else would see the true me in fear that I would disappoint. And OH how God has captivated my heart and soul and has and continues to unmask my true identity. Healing my wounds and peeling off the labels that I plastered on myself. Continue to speak and write my friend for God is doing great things through you! Thank you again for this amazing post! Be blessed.

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  3. Once again sweet friend your words come at just the right time.
    I'm going to a hen do in a few weeks and I was afraid of getting in my swimming costume because I'll be the biggest girl there. Not any more.

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  4. This is such a beautiful post! Words that I believe every woman needs to hear!

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  5. Hey Erin! I found your blog recently and absolutley love it. This post today was what I really needed to hear! I often times cut myself down and am most of the times never satisfied with how I look, but you reminded me that God created me and He loves me and always will! Thanks so much!

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  6. I've been thinking of doing the same thing--taking a look at women's magazines just for an idea of what they're like, because I've always avoided them completely--but I just don't like the messages that they send at all! This was an awesome post, Erin--and you pretty much pointed out exactly why Quite Mag is so needed!

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  7. Ah, where do I begin?! I absolutely LOVE this post! You touched on so many topics that need to be discussed with young women and girls. I remember as a teenager reading all of the headlines on women's magazines and then going home and trying to make myself look beautiful all because of the standards this society has placed on young, impressionable girls. I sometimes think that those magazines are more geared towards teens because of how flashy the covers are. Some magazines like Cosmo really need to be covered so their influence isn't so strong.
    Maybe then girls and young women won't depend on man's definitions of beauty but on God's definition.

    I really wish someone like you were in my life when I was 16. I could have really used some encouraging words when I decided to do what I thought I would never do: starve myself all because I wasn't "skinny" enough. I can't believe I did now that I'm an adult as well as a mother to my daughter and son but, sadly, I did. I went from weighing 125 pounds to 99 in a month. The really sad part? I still thought I wasn't skinny enough. Now though, I know better.

    Thank you so much for writing this! When my daughter gets older, I'm going to show her your post and create an encouraging, loving community around her that doesn't base her worth on physical features. I will also teach my son not to judge a woman's worth based on her looks or treat a woman based on how society treats her.

    This is such a great post!

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  8. Oh man. This is SO what I needed this morning! Thank you for being so honest and just reminding me of how beautiful I am in His eyes. Wow. Its crazy when you think about what He thinks of you. That He's seen me at my worst and still loves me and calls me beautiful. Thanks for this, Erin!
    You made my day! :)

    xo!

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  9. This is such a wonderful reminder - it becomes so easy to lose yourself in magazines and television and fashion blogs and forget that our value is not measured by these things anyway. It creeps in slowly, a nagging self doubt that is so easily banished when we remember why we are the way we are and what we're here for and that He loves us!

    Such a great post, keep sharing the love!

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  10. Love this! I'm a new follower! This is the most encouraging post I have EVER read! :)

    www.elle-pea.blogspot.com

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  11. Erin, you are so wonderful. Thank you for speaking truth. Thank you for encouraging women to find their identity in Christ, not in magazines.

    It is truly incredible how you are being used as a vessel to shine light into people's lives. I am blessed to "know" you :)

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  12. Love you and your heart like always. :-) however I sorta wished you showed pics of yourself not wearing makeup for this post lol just because its harder for some like myself to still feel good about my looks when someone pretty like you is speaking this message. I mean this in the most sincere way too so pease don't take this the wrong way. :-)

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  13. i agree with every single world. this stuff is everywhere!
    Psalm 139:13-14 is a scripture my mother, who had two daughters constantly reminded us of. she even taught us a song that i still remember. it's so important for girls to know their worth and i feel like we are on the brink of making this possible. thanks for all that you do with sweetness itself. i know it touches SO many lives. and thanks for all that you are doing with Quite!

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  14. Oh my word!!! I am in love with this! Thank you for sharing this! Awesome reminder!

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  15. Man alive did I need to hear this. ;) Very timely, heartfelt--but I love that you were bold enough to say what needed to be said about the media & women today...thank you for sharing & encouraging.
    {And thank you for your sweet email. <3 }

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  17. Erin, I love your heart! I love your writing and everything God has done in your life lately! Keep inspiring, conquering, and blessing! I love you and am so thankful I got to read your blogs again.

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  19. Erin, you are absolutely gorgeous :) Love your outfit photos- just lovely!

    And I love the message of your post. It goes so well with the #overcomethelie project going on!

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  20. This is beautiful. YOU are beautiful. So needed this reminder as I get caught up in working out & trying to fit back into my size 0 jeans.
    Thank you.
    <3 XO

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  21. Erin, wow. This is good stuff. Thanks so much for always writing from the heart and sharing nuggets of Truth! I also wanted to say thank you for your sweet comment the other day and let you know that you are featured in my latest post as one of my favorite blogs. http://oliviacoy.blogspot.com/2013/01/friday-favorites.html

    Happy [almost] weekend...cheers!

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  22. amen! amen! and amen! i totally needed to hear this today, erin. thank you.

    you are treasured.

    xo
    purposelyathome.blogspot.com

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  23. You look sooooo adorable friend! I love the white dress and boots and the pretty necklaces. Such a wonderful and inspiring post. I'm so proud of you for doing this blog and being such an inspiration. Thank you for your prayers this week. love you!

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  24. Bravo Erin :) So very true..I haven't bought a magazine in ages because it seemed like everytime I did I was looking through and comparing myself to all the ladies in the advertisements and headlines. Shame on them for making any of us feel less then we should. Impossible standards and false promises should not be for sale. Thank you for your beautiful words of encouragement. Have a great weekend! xo

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  25. So, so good! Congrats on your new endeavors, my friend! How exciting! :)

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  26. Thanks for a great blog Erin, I am totally addicted to the international glossy fashion magazines, I love their sweet scented glossy soft pages and love the giant September issues full of exciting double page spreads forcing me to snuggle into those supple colourful pages.

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sweet friends, share your heart.

"kind words are like honey...sweet..and healing.." -proverbs 16:24.

xo.

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