Enter a segment today on young girls and cosmetics. Wait...let me rephrase that. I want this to be clear. The segment was about a trend in our country of marketing and selling hardcore make-up products (including fake eyelashes? ! ?) and spa treatments to young girls and preschoolers as young as 4! Yes, I did correctly type four.
Let me interject here a reminder: I am the mom to three children, stepmom to two more, and am expecting yet another. Among these six beautiful children are two girls--ages 11-1/2 and 10--and I would NEVER allow either of these girls to wear heavy makeup. The older one is allowed to wear body glitter (much to my disappointment, but it was a compromise) and clear lip gloss. She is encouraged to wear deodorant (ah, the joy of young pre-pubescent hormones!) and owns a bottle of modest body spray. I encourage her to use hair care products and to wash her face twice daily.
But I draw the line at colored makeup products for my almost 12 year old!
Perhaps I am getting old-fashioned and am losing touch. I mean, I suppose I am getting old. I'm almost (gasp) 32 years old now! LOL Yes, I do mean that in a very tongue-in-cheek sort of way! Perhaps we are sending a horrible message to our young girls. Perhaps both.
And I wonder.....
Are we surprised that the number of girls being treated for eating disorders continues to grow? Are we surprised that mothers are encouraging their young daughters to lie so that they can win tickets to see concerts that run over $200 per person? Are we surprised that there is a generation of teen girls who do not think twice about considering plastic surgery to "correct" the "imperfections" God created them with? Are we surprised that very few women in our society, even in our churches truly believe that they are beautiful?
It breaks my heart to see our girls sexualized and demoralized in the name of physical beauty. It is a sad day when five year old girls develop an eating disorder because they believe that they are fat (just as sad as the child who is obese because they are not encouraged to be physically active), when ten year old girls buy and wear thong underwear (I am still in shock that these are sold and marketed to girls that young!), and when we embrace and accept these practices as being "okay" or acceptable.
I am brought back to the root of what I feel is safe to believe:
Beauty does not last. Physical beauty is fleeting. It mocks us at best. But God loves us so much that He has designed us as women to have something that lasts a lifetime that is far more attractive to the people who really matter--fear of the Lord.
It is my deepest prayer and hope that as I raise daughters that I am able to teach them to take pride in their appearance. I believe that God created us with a physical body that is unique to us so that we could take pride in it and be good stewards of it. But it is also my hope that they will know that what they look like will NEVER supercede the importance of who they are (PRINCESSES--daughters of the King of Kings!), and what their value is (bought with the blood of Christ). And I pray that I remember and embrace these values in the face of a society that is going to laugh at me and mock me and my girls.
Father, let me balance the importance of taking pride in and care of the body you have given us with the importance of raising up girls who know that true beauty is not physical, but spiritual and emotional. Let me model a healthy lifestyle and self-esteem for my girls and the girls around us, including modesty in dress and good health habits, so that I can remain relevant to them for you. In Jesus' name, AMEN.