Recently the winner of the reality TV show The Biggest Loser was soundly criticized for losing too much weight. She lost almost 60% of her starting body weight in her drive to win. It’s ironic that she looked no thinner than many of today’s movie stars who walked the red carpet at the Oscars just a few weeks later. Yet those women were the subject of rave reviews and thousands of photographs that were relentlessly published in magazines and on websites.

The hypocrisy behind the biggest loser uproar is a good clue as to the manipulations going on behind the scenes to keep women off balance and insecure about their body shape. Not surprisingly it all comes down to money , but the real cost is in lost self-esteem, anxiety and depression among the millions of women who don’t measure up to impossible standards.
healthy self worth

It wasn’t always this way

Back in the 1940’s women who were curvy and plump were considered mentally well-balanced, pleasant, stable, and more attractive than women who were thin. Thin was a sign of poverty or a fretful, anxious personality. The 1950’s and ‘60’s saw a rise in free time and disposable income. New magazines were fighting for space in the news racks because people had the time and money to read them. Women were moving away from being homemakers and into the work force. They were interested in finding and being something more. Magazines were quick to provide the answers. Supported and influenced by designers and advertising revenue, they sought to be the arbitrators of the “ideal” look.

Today, to keep their position as the go-to source for all things beautiful, hip, or sophisticated, magazines need to continually break new ground, to create new trends. The standard of beauty has to keep changing, has to be kept always slightly out of reach so women will keep buying – the next issue, the newest skin cream, the latest diet book.  Magazines and their advertisers want to keep you dissatisfied, unable to attain perfection so you’ll keep coming back to them. The standards are kept in flux, always out of reach. Thanks to Photoshop, the current standard of body perfection is guaranteed to be beyond the reach of any human being. Even movie stars don’t look like movie stars in real life:

phony beauty
Real life and Photoshop reality

Your beauty cannot seen in the mirror

It is no wonder millions of women spend so much time and energy obsessed about their weight, snapping up the latest diet books and plans, plotting each morsel of food and moment of exercise. If we are bombarded by images of unattainable beauty in magazines,on TV, in movies and on the internet, we will inevitably fall short.

It is time we stop letting the media tell us if we are good enough, skinny enough, pretty enough, valuable enough. Their standard has absolutely nothing to do with true beauty and everything to do with making money.

Your value as a person is found in who you are, not in how you look.  Outward beauty is fleeting but a gracious soul is beautiful forever. No one, not ever, was lauded at their funeral for their flawless skin and perfect sized waist line. The lasting beauty in your life is found in being the person you were created to be and sharing the gifts which only you possess. Your real beauty is in releasing the beauty inside you, not in taking on someone else’s outward version of beauty.

What is your real beauty? What is inside of you just crying to come out? Tell me in the comments below.