Dear Dove ~ Close, but No Cigar

Over the last few days, a new Dove video has been swirling around Facebook.  It appears that many people (both male and female) have had a very positive reaction to its message that women shouldn’t be so critical of themselves… that we are “more beautiful than we think.”

But if I’m being honest, I haven’t been able to bring myself to actually click on the link and watch the video.  I wasn’t entirely sure why… and then a friend of mine shared the link to this blog post.  Disclaimer: I’ve never read this blog before, and don’t know the author.  I may or may not share her same opinions on other issues about which she writes, but her words regarding this particular subject spoke to me.  She eloquently stated a lot of what I couldn’t organize in my own brain.

She discusses the lack of diversity amongst the featured subjects, which may lead some to glean the idea that if you’re not young and thin and blond with blue eyes, you’re not really beautiful.  She mentions that there may, in fact, be ladies out there who resemble the “less attractive” sketches… and what message are we sending them?  And then the zinger – a comment from the very end of the video that totally bums me out.  Here’s how the author from Little Drops describes it:

At the end of the experiment, one of the featured participants shares what I find to be the most disturbing quote in the video and what Dove seems to think is the moral of the story as she reflects upon what she’s learned, and how problematic it is that she hasn’t been acknowledging her physical beauty: It’s troubling,” she says as uplifting music swells in the background. “I should be more grateful of my natural beauty.  It impacts the choices and the friends we make, the jobs we go out for, they way we treat our children, it impacts everything. It couldn’t be more critical to your happiness.”

Did you hear that, ladies? How beautiful you are affects everything—from your personal relationships to your career. It could not be more critical to your happiness! And while it could be argued that the woman was actually talking about how you feel about yourself or something, it is clearly edited to suggest that the “it” is beauty. I know we’ve been told it thousands upon thousands of times before, but I hope you heard that, girls: your physical, superficial beauty is the most significant part of who you are, and the most important determining factor in your life. And now I want you to hear this: that is a lie. 

Yes!  A huge, ugly, hairy lie that’s been packaged in satin bows and pretty paper… and we fall for it all the time, whether we realize it or not.

As a woman, I understand the impact that media and celebrity comparison can have on one’s self image.  We also have the added pressure we’re unintentionally placing on each other through outlets like Facebook and Pinterest.  We carefully pick out the most flattering pictures of ourselves, our family members, our homes, and our skill sets and proudly post them for the world to see, pretending they’re an accurate representation of our real lives.  But real life is different… it’s real.  There are dishes in the sink.  And your toddler is wearing mismatched socks.  And you tried that fancy waterfall braid seven times today, and finally gave up and tossed your unwashed hair into a ponytail.  Again.

But did you know that, despite all your faults… despite the fact that you might not measure up to society’s standard of beauty… there is someone who thinks you are the most beautiful, most precious, most perfect creation on the planet?  He created you in his very own image (Gen. 1:27), and you are his masterpiece (Eph. 2:10).  

If you had the original Mona Lisa – one of the world’s most famous masterpieces – hanging in your living room, you’d be sure hang it in a place of honor, right?  You’d accentuate it with special lighting, and dust it regularly, wouldn’t you?  The same care should be taken with the most precious masterpiece God ever created.  We ought to take pride in our bodies.  To care for them, and maintain them.  But…

“Don’t be concerned about the outward beauty of fancy hairstyles, expensive jewelry, or beautiful clothes.  You should clothe yourselves instead with the beauty that comes from within…” (1st Peter 3:3-4)

Hear me on this.  I’m not saying we should all walk around wearing potato sacks for sake of being beautiful on the inside.  There’s something to be said for putting a little effort into the way you (and your home, and your children) look.  We are, after all, God’s temple (1st Corinthians 6:19) and we are to do everything to the glory of Him (1st Corinthians 10:31).  I’m just saying that we shouldn’t be so hung up on our outward appearance that it controls our every thought and action.  We can’t waste precious time and energy thinking that we’re not pretty enough for that friend, or trendy enough for this job.  But remembering the simple truths presented in God’s Word should help us take the pressure off.  For when we are confident about how beautiful we are in His eyes, we can feel great about ourselves, and reveal the same truths to others.

So… are we more beautiful than we thought?  The answer is a resounding YES!!!  But it has nothing to do with the color or length of our hair, the smoothness or our skin, or the size of our waists.  Our value isn’t wrapped up in the depth of our wallets or the cleanliness of our kitchens or the number of stamps in our passports.

We are beautiful because we are daughters (and sons) of the most high King.

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