The Image Issue

Friday, June 29, 2012

If there is one thing you should know about these blog posts that I mange to get scribbled onto paper, forming them into some semblance of sense, it is that a lot of them are stirred by lyrical words. I’ll be making a batch of muffins with my bright orange ear buds in and whatever my new favorite song is will be blaring into my ears, and this is when I am often struck by what I think has potential as a blog post. That is the case with this one.

What does “self respect” mean to you?

To some that may seem like an easy answer but is it? Do we really think about what it means to respect ourselves – to live how we want to be seen? In this big, mean world there are any number of things that tear us down – and we, foolish humans that we are, allow them to. One such platform being social media: For some inexplicable reason, we are addicted to it. Time and again we foolishly return to its “pull,” in a sense bending us to its will, and cannot seem to break away from something that has the power to be destructive. What is it about this trend that has us under its thumb or the worldview of what is “beauty” that can reduce us to tears – or worse?

Back to that original question: How do you define self worth?

To me, it means knowing how to stand up for yourself. Whether it be in a relationship with a guy who doesn't respect you, or dressing in a way that suggests you don't want respect.

In the world of social media, I see a lot of good. There are blogs and twitter feeds that bring a smile to my face every day. Their nature is a positive one that is meant to encourage people, not hurt or look down on their peers – and I applaud that. I see the Internet as something that can be used for good when we use the tool properly and in moderation. Recently there has been some hullabaloo about bullying. It isn’t something “new” considering parents and advocates around the world fight for it to end or those who are passionate about its cause after being touched personally. This all came about after a film was released on this very subject. The world is not kind to anyone who does not conform to their ideal of “perfect” or beauty – or it is fair to say that there are a lot of circles in which this is truth. Adapt to their codes of acceptability, make compromises, or be ousted from the “cool club.” Day after day, images are impressed upon us of size “0” models in a fashion catalog or the gorgeous actress that so many young girls look up to and in a fashion, modeled their lives after. Everything tells us that we need to either be “that” Miss Skinny or we are “overweight.” That we should maintain our size-X body or we are unhealthy. In the last two months, I’ve gone on a few shopping excursions in which I have bought clothes because I was excited about some of the things they were showing this year. One of the things that blew me away was browsing the “junior’s section,” and seeing the cute, brightly-colored size-zero shorts that looked more appropriate to cover my favorite doll than a live person.

The last year has seen an awesome group of powerhouse of female artist’s record songs about recognizing our inner-beauty and realizing that no matter what anyone may have told us or whispered behind our backs we are beautiful and can have a positive influence on this walk of life. One such song was written by Britt Nicole and is overflowing with lyrics that tell us we are worth more than “gold,” that our life matters because we are beautiful on the inside – a beauty that overflows on the outside – because we are cherished by Him. Carrie Underwood also sang a beautiful song that encourages us not to let the “mirror mirror on the wall” deceive us and the lovely Katherine McPhee wrote one appropriately called, “Beautiful.” I don’t know if the songs meant anything personally to the artist and writers but they have poignant, messages. Also with a winning purpose was an episode of Jane by Design in which Jane is tasked with interviewing high school students about the fashion trends of a high schooler – who their idols are and what trends they follow. What she learns – and the point of the episode – is that the students are individuals who come from all different walks of life, young people who are making their own statements and don’t want to be “told” what is cool and what isn’t because they what to develop their own unique style. My argument here is not to further a PC platform but instead to say that no matter what our features are or the color of our hair, beauty is not something our concept is defined on. Beauty isn’t the outward, it is what’s inside that counts. We all lose sight of that but that is where our true “gold” is hidden.

Forget about the actress whose seemingly perfect face (I’ve got a secret about that model: She is far from flawless. Remember that) you saw plastered across the latest issue of Glamour, shuck the idea that you are not “important,” and instead realize you are special. God holds you in the palm of His hand – His love for you is beyond knowledge. Go shine.


  1. Self-respect to me means holding yourself to an accomplishable standard (nothing too extreme), and loving yourself enough to walk away from negative relationships. If girls had more self-respect, they would not put up with boyfriends who are jerks, who treat them like property, or push them into things. There would be fewer people in abusive relationships. Self-respect means loving yourself enough to do what is best for you, not in a selfish sense, but in a sense of being aware of your mental, spiritual, and physical health, and doing what you can to balance and maintain it.

    Other people say I am beautiful. In my eyes, I'm not. I see all my faults. I think that's how it is for everyone -- even the most beautiful actresses still have things they feel self-conscious about. Helen Mirren thinks she has a "dumpy" body. Considering a couple of years ago, she was voted by Health magazine as having the best body in the entertainment industry (AT 65, NO LESS!), I think she's being too hard on herself. It's normal to do that. But... we shouldn't.

  2. This is a great message and I'm glad to hear that more people in "media/music" settings are trying to convey that message-albeit in limited means I'm sure, but still, body image is such a dominating issue in most everybody's minds today. For me, I've struggled with this and still do. But I have to keep reminding myself, I was created in this fashion for a reason--I wasn't the Artist even though I love critiquing the "work" :) haha Tryin not to though! Great reminder :)

  3. AnonymousJune 29, 2012

    This is such an inspiring and well written post! I do think about this a lot, and it always seems like when I do think about it, it has to do with women and the media and how little self-respect many women in the media have for themselves. It's actually disgusting when I think about it because men definitely get the wrong idea. Great post, can't wait to read more!

  4. Charity - well said. It drives me insane to see the way girls don't care enough (respect) about themselves to just walk away. My cousin and I were just talking about abusive relationships, not anyone specific just how sad we think it is that women don't know better. They say, that the abused protect their abusers, and I believe that is true even though I've not seen it personally. They manipulate them and it's a sad scenario.

    We are all hard on ourselves in various aspects of life - this issue being one of them. When I was younger, I was much more... "concerned" about my image. I thought I should be... different. Now as an adult, I realize why do I want to be a size 2? Or four? I won't ever, and I shouldn't desire that. We should take care of ourselves and there is nothing wrong with wanting to look nice but in the end it is about a healthy image and I think that is most important.

    Jeanine - Britt Nicole is a Christian artist who seems like she really has a heart for God; and I love that it shines through in her music. I don't pretend to know if these songs mean anything to the artists but I hope that they do - and that they mean what they preach. It is an important subject considering most girls don't look up to positive role models.

    Oh, don't we all struggle with this? *sigh* It is always something, right?!? LOL!

    Juliet - thank you! I've read/seen some great posts on this or similar topics but I figured, it is always something that we can be reminded of!

    "how little self-respect many women in the media have for themselves"

    This is so true! We whine about men's attitude towards women when in reality it is us helping that along. We degrade ourselves quite well on our own!

    I'd like to write more things like this but, unfortunately, I don't usually come up with fresh new topics! Hence the reason I don't write more. :-)

    Great thoughts, ladies - thanks!

  5. I think in many cases, women are so afraid of being alone that they settle for someone who doesn't respect them rather than face the social repercussions of being single. I've known a few abused women, and ... well, "Water for Elephants" is a great example of an abusive relationship. Women forgive, because he's so remorseful afterward. But the cycle keeps on building until someone winds up dead. That's the tragedy of it.

    But then, we women abuse and disrespect ourselves all the time. What is anorexia or bulimia but self-hatred? A desire to be impossibly thin, and even if we get that thin, it's still not thin enough! It's very sad.

    I would like to be thinner than I am. I could be thinner, if I wanted to work at it. But most of the time, I don't want to work at it. I want it to come easy to me. But DO I need to be thinner? Maybe. I could stand to lose a few pounds. But no doubt my idea of beauty, and of thinness, is skewed through my own dislike of certain of my personal physical attributes. Oh, well. We do the best we can, and must be content with the rest.

  6. AMEN!! Thank you so much for sharing this. You sure nailed it :D

  7. Charity - right on! My mother and I talk about that all the time. Women do "settle." Sometimes I wonder if they panic and think they "have" to marry now because it is their only shot (and they are only like, in their 20's), which to me, is ridiculous or if they just say "yes" to the first guy to show interest. Either way, it isn't a healthy way to start a relationship.

    Great thoughts. :-)

    Miss Hatcher - thanks!

    Thank you for the follow and comment - hope you stop by often. :-)


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