Shiny, Happy People

A few weeks ago, at Target, Brown-Eyed Girl and I were in the book section looking for something to take on the plane ride to Colorado.  I was walking behind B-EG and was headed for the Where’s Waldo?/I Spy section.  I noticed she glanced at the magazines as we were walking, then glanced away, then stopped and turned and stared at this:

She said, “Momma, she has no marks on her skin and it looks like she’s glowing.  What’s wrong with her?”

BOYOHBOY I was soooo glad she phrased it that way – noticing that visual perfection seems strangely out of place in real life.

I launched into a tirade about the evils of Photoshop, trying my best to keep it on an 8 year-old’s level. At the end of my “sermon”, she asked, “Why?”

I couldn’t come up with an answer that was suitable for a child’s ears or intellect.  I finally just said, “It’s because some people think imaginary things are better than real things.”  And she let it go at that.

For my daughter, it was just another question posed, but for me, that conversation has been haunting me ever since.  I have wanted to write about it for weeks now, but haven’t fell really “compelled” to until now.  It has caused me to think about my daughter’s future in terms of her own self-image and how I really want her to know from an early age that all that glitters is not gold.

I don’t want my daughter to EVER compare herself to someone she sees in the media because Real Life does not come with airbrushing.

I don’t want my daughter to EVER be ashamed of the way her body looks because it doesn’t look a certain way.  We live in an age where we are acutely aware of what other people look like naked.  It causes us (women especially) to measure ourselves against the unattainable goal to look like someone who has been Photshopped beyond recognition.

I want my daughter to know that everyone has blemishes and cellulite and body hair and things about their bodies they dislike.  No one is “perfect”.

I want my daughter to know that she is more than her outward appearance, and being happy to be the person God created her to be will bring her more joy than numbers on a scale ever could.

I want my daughter to value fitness and health over clothing size and outward appearance.

I am going to talk to my daughter about these things, knowing full well that most of the people she will encounter in life have never been told that their looks are not the most important thing about them.  Since we live in an affluent area where most everyone I see on a regular basis has had plastic surgery, I know that it will not be easy.

But then again, walking the narrow path never is.

Just like our walk of faith, the way we as Christians choose to live will always be in opposition to the way of the world.  To me, this is just one more example standing up for what is right in the midst of a world gone mad.

Speaking of mad, take a look at this video.  Just like the magazine cover above, *someone decided that beautiful wasn’t good enough.  Instead of portraying real beauty, the image was distorted and manipulated with perfection as the goal.  My question is, “Who is that *someone?”  My next question is, “Why should I care what they think about me?”

Food for thought…


  1. {nikki}

    Melissa – I totally agree about needing to teach our boys these same things! I guess when my boy starts even *noticing* girls, I will have to go there. So far, he's totally clueless and it's awesome. 😉


  2. Melissa C.

    Amen! I completely agree! I also think that as moms of boys we have a responsibility to teach our boys the same things. They need to learn to value the important things in the women and girls around them (not just looks – especially when those looks aren't even real to begin with).


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