In this world there is always a shadow side to every glimpse of light. Nothing can ever be completely exposed or even true. Knowing what is true is very powerful because truth is powerful. Along with this is also knowing what is not true. Knowing what the lie is and exposing it can always mean a sense of more power in life.
For instance, let’s apply this to women’s body image. Can you imagine already how healing it is to just go through and list what things are simply not true? Take a look at how our society exposes women. Through media publications, and transmissions, we are set up to believe lies when it comes to what a woman should look like. We are blasted with images on a daily basis, of women who are touched up and altered so as not to expose the truth of what they really look like. We get to see airbrushed versions of who a person is. The images have the cellulite, stretch marks, wrinkles, bags, puffiness, and added pounds subtracted from the equation. I once saw an expose on how some photographers can actually make their models appear 10 pounds lighter. Let’s not even get into the new apps we hear about that can be used on a cell phone to create a slimmer image of us when we capture ourselves in a selfie.
We are all daily bombarded with lies when it comes to image and for some reason we are supposed to think this is better for us. So many women struggle day in and out trying to look like the models that are presented to us every day. I always admire when I read articles on real people who model themselves just as they are. Let’s face the truth here ladies. We will never look like Victoria Secret models because they are all touched and air brushed. We don’t airbrush ourselves every day so let’s look at the lies the media feeds to us.
- Cellulite is bad bad bad and unsightly. I feel like this lie is out there so we will try to buy creams and solutions to help get rid of cellulite. So do any of these things ever really work? Let’s be honest here. We are stuck with this stuff and nothing about it makes us less desirable.
- Women need a flat stomach. This one is the most frustrating lies I have ever seen. There is no possible way that the average woman has a perfectly flat stomach. Why do we try so hard at that new diet and exercise program when the visual image of what we are trying to achieve is often truly not possible. For some, this flat tummy might be something they naturally have right now. For me, who has had five children, one by C-Section, it is literally impossible. There is no need to be perfectly flat in the stomach area to be acceptable as a woman!
- Wrinkles on our face make us look old. This is nuts! Wrinkles do not make us look old. A person with lines and wrinkles with a great outlook on life will always look young and vibrant. Oldness comes with a state of mind and not outward appearance. Anyone can look old and run down, even when they are not that old. This goes to show that in the same respect anyone can look younger and be more vibrant even with the wrinkles that come from living. Laugh lines are not a sin, they just mean we enjoyed life!
- We have to be a size 5 to be appealing to others. The amazing thing about all of the differences we have in people in our world is what makes it interesting. If we were all the same size then life would be boring and so would women! Marilyn Monroe was never a size 5 and she was considered to be very alluring.
I think by now my point can be taken here. I am sure many other lies can be exposed, but to do that would mean to write a book. The point is, that if we can expose what the lies are then the truth can shine through. We all know what the truth does; it sets us free. Beauty is not only just in the eye of the beholder on the outside of us, but it is in the way we behold ourselves as well. We have all been created in the image of beauty and beautiful we all are! There is none who has been a mistake. God is a perfect God and He creates perfection even if we tend to think it is imperfect. Maybe we need to start seeing the perfection in what He created and then we will change the way we present ourselves even in media. This subject is such a hard one because just touching on part of it is not enough. There is a depth of despair that comes into play when we consider our body images. Can we even imagine a world where body image is not an issue? Sometimes I wonder if we can ever get to the enlightened point where we can accept ourselves as we are and stop trying to portray an image that no one can ever uphold in real life.
Today, don’t despair in your healing journey when it comes to body image. We all are going through it. My hope is that soon we can find ways to get through the healing together and through it we will change the rest of the world!
Dr. Jenine Marie Howry