Last night while picking up my son from the ski bus I overheard two moms talking about their pre-teen daughters (age 12). One mother said to the other, “I hope she (referring to her daughter) didn’t freeze, she refused to wear her coat. She said it made her look fat.” The other mother responded in a condoning tone of voice: “Oh, teenagers. I have one of those too.”
The acceptance of young girls, teens, and women obsessing about their weight and beauty is about to set my head spinning off like a top. I remember when my obsession with weight and beauty began. I was the passenger in the back seat of my dad and step-mother’s Monte Carlo at the age of 10 years old and they clearly told me – if I didn’t lose weight, I would not be socially accepted. They were correct. By the time I was 12, I was labeled the Fat Bible Thumper. Now, there is a title, every girl wants to claim!
Our cultures obsession with beauty (as innocent and fun as some think it is) is responsible for intolerable acts against women like rape, violence, sex-trafficking and more. To say the least about gender inequality and the outright message that teaching our girls that they have no worth outside of their beauty.
In the award winning video, “Still Killing Us Softly 3”, Jean Kibourne presents the idea of women as objects. At 2.47 in the video, the speaker says, “Women’s body’s continue to be dismembered in advertising, over and over again only one part of the body is use to sell products which is the most dehumanizing thing you can do to someone. Not only is she a thing, but just one part of that thing.” She goes on to explain the impact advertising in on young girls and teens with slogans like, “The more you subtract the more you add”.
This statement, “women as objects” has been confirmed by several research studies. One I recently read in the Association for Psychological Science (2012) titled: The Objectification of Women Is a Real, Measurable Phenomenon. The conclusion is the same as that in “Still Killing Us Softly”, men are seen as human beings and women are seen as objects.
But women were created for more than beauty and breast. They were created in the image of God. The same as men. Genesis 1: 27 (NLT) says, “So God created human beings in his own image. In the image of God he created them; male and female he created them.” God has called each person for a unique purpose (Jeremiah 29:11 & Romans 8:28). As long as we condone (or teach) our girls focus on beauty, we are guaranteeing them a life spent living in comparison, competition, and self-rejection. They will never see themselves in the image of their Creator or walk out their calling and purpose in this life.
It is time for a change. That change starts with us.