Last night at an auction, the auctioneer had two assistants dressed in the evening’s theme of Denim & Diamonds. This pair looked stunning in their stage costumes. In addition, they were talented performers in song and dance. But it was not too soon into the live auction that the man faded to the background as the woman began to showcase the smaller auction items between her breasts, shaking them at the audience for a response and a paddle raise.
I asked another woman sitting next to me what she thought. She said she thought it was great that the woman was so secure in her own skin. Adding, it is for a good cause. My heart sank. Can’t we see the truth? She may be secure in her own skin & it may be for a good cause, but all she did by showcasing merchandise between her breasts was to reinforce the objectification of women. She was teaching others that a woman’s worth and value is found in exploiting her body parts to get what she wanted. It didn’t matter the cost to her or to others.
On another night while picking up my son from the ski bus I overheard two moms talking about their pre-teen daughters (age 12). One mother said to the other, “I hope she (referring to her daughter) didn’t freeze, she refused to wear her coat. She said it made her look fat. The other mother responded in a condoning tone of voice: “Oh, teenagers. I have one of those too.”
The acceptance of young girls, teens, and women seeking identity and recognition through their outer beauty is about to set my head spinning off like a top. I want it to stop!
I remember when my obsession with weight and beauty began. I was the passenger in the back seat of my dad and step-mother’s Monte Carlo at the age of 10 years old when they decided to tell me – if you don’t lose weight, you will not be socially accepted. Sadly, my father and his wife were right. By the time I was 12, I was labeled the Fat Bible Thumper and fatty, fatty, two-by-four. Now, that is a title, every girl wants to claim! Society made it clear, I would not be accepted for my weight.
Our cultures obsession with beauty (as innocent and fun as some think it is) is responsible for intolerable acts against women (rape, violence, and sex-trafficking, to name a few…), gender inequality and the outright message that teaching our girls that they have no worth outside of their “outer” beauty.
In the award winning video, “Still Killing Us Softly 3”, Jean Kibourne presents the idea of women as objects. At 2.47 in the video, the speaker says, “Women’s body’s continue to be dismembered in advertising, over and over again only one part of the body is use to sell products which is the most dehumanizing thing you can do to someone. Not only is she a thing, but just one part of that thing.” She goes on to explain the impact advertising in on young girls and teens with slogans like, “The more you subtract the more you add”.
This statement, “women as objects” has been confirmed by several research studies. One I recently read in the Association for Psychological Science (2012) titled: The Objectification of Women Is a Real, Measurable Phenomenon. The conclusion is the same as that in “Still Killing Us Softly”, men are seen as human beings and women are seen as objects.
But women were created for more than beauty and breast. They were created in the image of God. The same as men. Genesis 1: 27 (NLT) says, “So God created human beings in his own image. In the image of God he created them; male and female he created them.” God has called each person for a unique purpose (Jerimiah 29:11 & Romans 8:28). As long as we teach or condone focus on “outer” beauty, we are guaranteeing women a life spent living in comparison, competition, and self-rejection. They will never see themselves in the image of their Heavely Father or walk in their true identity.
It is time for a change. That change starts with us.
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