Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Cartoon Beauty

Lord, have mercy.

A friend of mine sent me a link to an article today that highlighted cartoon illustrations of female world-changers. In what I think was a completely satirical attempt to capture our culture's view of beauty, this artist drew Disney-esque versions of women such Rosa Parks, Susan B. Anthony and Marie Curie all slimmed-down and glamorized in sparkly outfits and glitter. Take a look: 

What I wanted to think when I saw this was that the artist was, "Right on. Way to mock our society and make a point! Way to make fun of our standard of beauty and show the difference between reality and fantasy." What I really thought was, "Man, I wish I looked like cartoon Jane Goodall." 

Seriously. If someone drew a cartoon version of me as a Starbucks barista I would want them to draw her with a tiny waist, curves, sparkles and great hair. Yes, I would. Because that's what I think is beautiful. That's what we've been told is the gold standard of appearance. 

Forget what Rosa Parks did on the bus! How did she get those hips?? I don't care what Marie Curie did for medical advancement, I want to know what she eats for breakfast, lunch and dinner to fit in that black dress! What's her workout plan? 

How brainwashed we've become! Those women are only epitomized in beauty once they've been redrawn by the hands of men. 

It makes me mad that I want that. It makes me sad that I would waste so much time and energy on something so temporary and unfruitful as the "perfect" body. God created me to bring His Son to life through me--to love others and show them the hope we have in Christ. I can't do that when I'm distracted by the pursuit of a perfect body. 

Nothing good comes from idolizing our appearance. In my experience, the only benefit it brings is the ability to try on clothes at any store without any of them being too small. As great of an ego boost as that is, my emotional high in a dressing room does little to counteract the isolation, anxiety, fear, bondage and destruction that comes with it. 

The truth is that there is a long life of eternity ahead. This place here is so fleeting, yet I tend to live as if this is all there is. I strive for this body and these looks because it is what will earn me brownie points here on earth. But even that isn't true. If I'm really thinking straight, I realize that no one really cares. What really makes a difference is the love I give and the relationships that are formed as a result. The ability to be the hands and feet of Christ while I'm here. People are impacted far more by conversation and authentic love than they are my jean size. 

I want to do away with this useless distraction of body idolatry. I want to put God first. I want to live for Him and love like Him and not run myself ragged worrying needlessly about looking like a Disney princess. I want my Starbucks barista cartoon to look pretty, but I want it to be because she has love inside that is radiating out of her and spilling onto others. (Hopefully that's the only thing she's spilling.) :) I want to stop buying into the world's system and live to show them that there's SO much more to life. 

"Many women do noble things, but you surpass them all. Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting; but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised. Honor her for all that her hands have done, and let her works bring her praise at the city gate." - Proverbs 31:29-31

That's the TRUTH.

- Jill

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