Beautiful

Those of you who are unfortunate enough to be following me on pinterest will know that I am keenly interested in society’s concept of beauty.  The impossible standards!  I used to like going to the mall to people-watch and wander in and out of stores (I miss you, Lush, but you are outta my league, baby!), but it inspires way too much self-loathing.  One can almost safely shop on the internet, attired in pajama pants and with hair in a scruffy, slept-on braid.  My favorite sites don’t use models at all, (like Zappos) or use regular people (Modcloth!).

But I realize that this is addressing the symptoms rather than the cause.  The cause is simply this– women are told that they do not own their own bodies.  Women don’t have social permission to walk in public spaces unless ‘turned-out’ in a certain, prescribed way.  And if women are in those public spaces and have spent time and energy and money to reach toward that impossible standard, then often they are forced to endure men who demand their bodies in some way or another.  Many men feel like it is perfectly acceptable to demand a woman’s sexual favors simple because she walks in the same public space.  Some men do more than demand– some men take, as if a woman being in a public space gives them control over another person’s body.  Margaret Atwood said, ‘Men are afraid that women will laugh at them. Women are afraid that men will kill them.’  This is our world.  We live here.

And i can’t figure it.  When God spoke about a woman’s beauty, He never once mentioned that she needed to lose that last ten pounds.  Peter said, “Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as braided hair and the wearing of gold jewelry and fine clothes. Instead, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God’s sight. For this is the way the holy women of the past who put their hope in God used to make themselves beautiful.”

One of those holy women of the past was Deborah… although she doesn’t strike me as having a gentle or quiet spirit, as much as a calm and steady one.  She was a judge of Israel, a warrior so fierce that her general wouldn’t go into battle without her, and in the end she called out and cursed the cowardly tribes of Israel by name.  She knew what she was about, and she wasn’t afraid to do the work of God.  And to God, that is beautiful.

So what do we make of this?  I’m going to take a page out of Deborah’s book, i think.  Maybe more than one.

notice-- no boob-cup!

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