Friday, January 27, 2012

Media and Body Images

I have always recognized that the media portrayed beauty in such a way that it can damage and corrupt a lot of young women and men. On the cover of every magazine in the grocery store line talks about tips on how to make your skin clearer, 15 ways to get thin quick, "new" diet that will help you drop 15 lbs., and the new spring fashion that will make you look more gorgeous than last years spring trend. Honestly, I think its all ridiculous. Don't get me wrong, I think that people should take care of their bodies and look presentable, but I believe the media goes to the extreme.

Recently I have been taking an English class focused on arguments and how to create a good argument and so on. One of the essays that our teacher had us read and analyze was one written about how Utah had an incorrect view on nude art. At the end of the essay the writer brought up that classic nude art portrays beauty in a different way than the media does now and if girls were to be educated on classic nude art then they would have a healthier view of what beauty truly is. Now, I'm not saying that I agree with this writer entirely, but she had a good point, a lot of young girls are going to extremes to look "beautiful" in the eyes of the media. This paper got me thinking though on what I personally thought beauty or what a beautiful woman looked like. The first thing I thought of was a quote I read by Audrey Hepburn the other day, "happy girls are the prettiest." (Now I'm honestly embarrassed that something Gospel related didn't first pop in my head, but we're getting there.) So now I thought, what makes a girl, or anyone, happy? My answer was clear, having a close relationship with our Father in Heaven. This of course requires us to do a number of things like attending church, praying, continually repenting, etc but another thing I thought of was the Word of Wisdom.

In past centuries beauty was seen in curves and sometimes fat was better than being thin and now in the 21st century the world wants girls (and guys) to be thin and 6-pack abs. I'll confess, guys do look nicer in a swimsuit when they have some muscle, but that doesn't make them "beautiful". I believe beauty goes beyond the physical. I've met and been friends with a lot of beautiful people of all different shapes and sizes but the one thing they all had in common was that they were happy because they were close to Heavenly Father and followed His commandments. One of the commandments we have been given is to take care of our bodies and I know that to be true. I have never been "heavy" but I can say that even if I am as thin as a pick if I'm not eating MOSTLY healthy and being active (that doesn't mean 10 minute ab workout, running 2 hours a day, and lifting weights for another hour) then I don't feel good about myself, my life, and I am certainly not as close to the Lord as I could be. So I guess what I'm saying is that no amount of exercise, diets, expensive clothes, and extensive makeup can make a woman (or anyone) beautiful because that is only on the surface, you have to be beautiful inside.

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