American Beauty

It was a miserably hot Saturday afternoon so any activity that involved leaving the comfort of air conditioning was out of the question, so I did what any self-respecting bored woman with a computer would do, I surfed the net. I was looking for something to pique my interest. In this case, something written by and for middle-aged women because this is where I am at these days and, frankly, I find this new season confusing. I was seeking some sister help, or maybe just a compass.

Needless to say, there is a dearth of meat for women who are growing long in the tooth, but sadly no lack of articles and advertisements on how to dress young, what night cream to use, or how to lose my middle-aged pudge. Not only can I not Redbox one single movie starring a woman my own age, I can’t even find one realistic depiction of a pudgy, wrinkled midlifer in a commercial. It’s beyond depressing.  And if you think these unrealistic body images portrayed for aging women are depressing, what I discovered is that it’s much worse for our daughters.

Somewhere in my surfing I wound up on youtube, and for the next several hours watched in horror and sadness one video after another on how these same unrealistic body images are affecting our young women. And let me tell you, it is so much worse than I thought.

Our culture has produced an entire generation of young women who have not only been sexualized from a very young age, but have come into bondage to bulimia, anorexia, and body dysmorphia. They have been fed the lie that the only way to be beautiful is to fit into a size zero and get breasts implants. Sadder still is that these beautiful young women are not just competing for the affection of men with their own peers but with pornography. Rampant, out of control, socially accepted pornography.

According to an article by Michael Snyder in American Dream, the average high school boy spends two hours watching porn every week  and a whopping 500 full-length commercial porn films were released in 2011 compared with 600 Hollywood films.  Even more alarming, is the long-term consequences of porn. Researchers claim that internet pornography is hurting young boys’ ability to form meaningful romantic relationships because they objectify their partner.

Many of the young women in these videos were more than willing to put their health and their very lives in jeopardy in order to fulfill the media’s image of what is considered beautiful and a generation of young men’s ideal of beauty that have been raised on porn. And for young women across this nation, that ideal essentially equates to starving themselves to fit into a child-size pair of jeans, regardless of their God-given natural build.

As the hours ticked by as I followed these young women’s stories, my heart began to break and I found myself actually weeping over these complete strangers. Jesus was breaking my heart for what breaks His. But then I began to get angry. Righteously angry. When had this nightmare started?

If you are anything like me, I had no idea that a size zero actually equates to what a normal weight six-year-old girl would wear. Slow down and read that sentence again. Six. Years. Old. As a young woman, my average-sized friends  wore a size 8 or 10 depending on their height. Occasionally, a friend would wear a size 6, but she was usually very petite.

It would be fair to lay the blame of this twisted ideal of beauty on the fashion and media industries. It is no secret that the world of entertainment and fashion is full of homosexual men who idealize a boyish sans curve figure. But that wouldn’t be quite accurate. The real culprit for this train wreck is Satan himself.

Satan has hated woman since the beginning of time, in particular when God told him that the seed of a woman would crush his head. Satan has tirelessly sought to enslave and neuter women since creation, and it continues today in this latest cruel form that is perpetuated by the tawdry, painful, and cheap industry of pornography. Or of course unless you are unlucky enough to live in an Arab country that considers you no more than chattle.

But here is the real clincher. This obsession with youth and slimness didn’t begin with our daughters, it began with middle-aged women much like myself. It was my generation of women that had the illustrious distinction of being the first American beauties to be completely inundated with mass marketing and advertising. The result was that we failed to recognize that even in this new age of science and health, we were, in fact, going to grow out of our six-year-old bodies and grow old. We bought Satan’s lie. Liked rats following the pied piper, we were inducted into a world that told us science would save us.

Growing older is a natural part of life that we must all go through, yet our generation of women was probably the first generation to have never been prepared for what these middle years would be like. It is my hope that as we grow wiser, we recognize and own up to the lie that was perpetuated upon us. That we not sit idly by and rubberneck the train wreck our daughters are dealing with in the siren call of pornography and eating disorders. We have a responsibility to sound the alarm to these young women everywhere and to do all that we can to pull them out of the bondage of the world.

It is up to us to impart in the lovely young women in our lives with a real sense of self-worth and love that only comes from the Father. We must become those women who will not only hold their hands through the pain of pornography and sexual addictions, but fall to our knees daily in prayer for them. We must be Godly examples of self-sacrifice, prudence, and wisdom.

It is time that we grow old with dignity sisters. We cannot undo the hands of time or the mistakes we have made, but from the view at the top of the hill, we can warn these lovely young women of the lies and bondage our enemy wishes to hold us in and show them the way to true dignity and womanhood. Can I get a witness?