Friday, November 9, 2012

You're Beautiful Just the Way You Are

Zed Nelson/Institute
I read with horror in this month's Smithsonian magazine about women in Manhattan (and presumably elsewhere) having their toes surgically shortened so that their feet will better fit into their stilettos.  And this is happening today.  Not centuries ago -- today.

I hardly have words for my visceral response to this carving up of self.  And like lots of women, I have crammed my own feet into a fair number of very silly shoes.  So maybe toe surgery is actually more reasonable than the old stuff and cram approach.

But aren't we missing some very basic fundamentals here?  Not for nothing did God proclaim in the Genesis narrative of creation that humanity was (1) created in the very image of the divine and (2) that image was not just good, but very good.

What are we doing to ourselves that a mirror is an enemy?

What are we saying to our young, and particularly our girls, that beauty is more likely found in the operating room than in the skin God gave us?

It's an old argument, this tension between self acceptance and self loathing, writ large on the walls of society.  Why did I see the wrinkles on my Grandmothers' faces as beautiful and yet stand before a mirror and pull back my own wrinkles?

What if I heard One Direction's "You're Beautiful" not as a love song from a boy to a girl, but as an epic pronouncement from the very lips of God?

Maybe that's the problem with mirrors:  when you spend too much time in front of them, worship of self (which is just the flip side of self loathing) is inevitable.  Maybe.


  1. So what is this? a 21st Century form of "foot binding". Geez! When people? When will we learn?

    1. That's the comparison the article made - sigh.