Beauty Redefined Blog

Is “Inner Beauty” Enough? This Guy Reminds Us It’s Not.

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Author’s Note (12/11/11): After posting this several hours ago and sharing it on Facebook, I’ve been bombarded with a couple hundred comments – some immensely supportive, constructive and productive, some intensely angry at me. It’s now 4 a.m. and I just got off the phone with Lexie talking about what to do here. I’m exhausted and honestly, very surprised, by the contention this piece has caused among our supporters. I hesitate to admit how I’ve shed a few tears over a few of the accusations and I’ve second-guessed my response to this man’s article over and over again, but each time I’ve re-read it, I feel entirely sure of my message. It’s true that the author wasn’t trying to be hurtful or inflammatory or condescending, but not all harmful messages about female worth sound outright wrong. Sometimes they seem innocent and harmless, but when taken in the context of the media saturated, body-shaming, beauty ideal-obsessed world we live in, these consistent messages reminding women of the importance of their appearances ARE harmful.

I wrote this piece with the intention of providing girls and women with a more empowering and uplifting alternative to the popular “you’re not married or dating because you’re not trying hard enough to be hot” sentiment expressed in this piece. When young, single women (the intended audience of his piece) read and hear well-intented messages like this man’s over and over again, reminding them that they need to try even harder to look even better, and reminding them THAT’S probably why they aren’t in a relationship – it stings. They already know how much their appearances matter. They already know how much men care about how they look, and how they won’t get asked out if they don’t fit those men’s ideals. They already know their health and well-being is important for themselves and for the men evaluating whether or not to ask them out or commit to them. They don’t need any more reminders that their inner beauty and never-quite-good-enough outer beauty are not enough. This rebuttal has absolutely nothing to do with advocating giving up on health goals or standards of appearance for ourselves. It has everything to do with questioning where those standards come from and if they’re really about health or if they’re about fitting a fleeting, ever-changing physical ideal to attract a mate.

We’ve all probably encountered this perspective on “inner beauty” vs. “outer beauty.” As proponents of all things beautiful, we have GOT to address this backlash against self-esteem-boosting and body-image-boosting campaigns like ours. In a prime example of this thinking (and one of many), a young, single, man in Utah has written this instructional opinion piece from a Christian viewpoint for girls and women everywhere. Here’s the bulk of it, titled “Inner Beauty is Not Enough.”  

“Inner beauty is vastly important, and I’m not saying every person needs to look like a model in order to find someone, but let’s not forget – outer beauty is important, too. 

Yes, these are flying stilettos. Mine.

I’ve noticed a disturbing trend among women. On Facebook and in conversations with girls, I’ve heard girls embrace supposed feminine liberation and tell us that they’re beautiful no matter how they look. Before I have to dodge a flurry of thrown stiletto heels, let me clarify: Yes, you are beautiful. You’re a daughter of God, and don’t let anyone try to convince you otherwise. But . . . you shouldn’t let the “beauty on the inside” argument hinder your quest to achieve your physical ideal. Some girls I know tell themselves it doesn’t matter how they look because they’re beautiful on the inside, and then they just . . . well, let themselves go.

I’m a single male and that reflects in the audience I write to, but regardless of our marital status or gender, we should all take care of our bodies. After all, aren’t they gifts from God? We’re instructed to abstain from tattoos and extra piercings in an attempt to show respect for our bodies, and shouldn’t that respect be extended to how we treat the body itself? We are stewards of our mortal shells, and as such should care for them like the prized possessions they are. 

For those who are still dating, failing to take care of yourself can easily delay association with potential mates. The right person will love you eventually, but it’s your physical aspect that often catches the eye. If you don’t take the time to care for yourself, that doesn’t exactly encourage anyone else to care for you, either. How many people who would love you once they got to know you have passed you over? Maybe you’ve even been the one who’s passed on someone because that person failed to care for his or her God-given body.

If you are truly happy with the body you have, I’m glad for you. We should recognize that none of us is going to have a perfect body, at least not at this stage in our existence. (Or maybe you already do have a near-perfect body. Congrats. You should still keep reading.) Women, we guys will accept that not all of you are swimwear models if you accept that few of us have managed the abs of a certain werewolf from Twilight. 

I’m sorry if I come across as harsh. There are also plenty of people who go the opposite direction and become Barbie dolls with personalities as bland as the plastic dolls they so resemble. In our journey to improve our inner and outer selves, we should seek balance. We should be satisfied with who we are, but we should strive for healthy improvement. This principle applies to men as well. So how do both genders reconcile this paradox? How do we attain the right body while neither being satisfied with the sub-par nor going too far?

I propose that we find a realistic perception of the person we can become on the inside and outside. Discovering our exact physical potential may take some time, but we can gain a reasonable expectation of the best we can be. Then we simply become content with the progress we’re making toward being our best selves.

Girls (and guys), a little regular exercise and some healthy eating habits will be a good start toward becoming that reasonable paragon. Go running. Take a racquetball class. I think you’re capable of filling in the rest of this list yourselves. I really believe that as we all set attainable physical goals and work to reach them, we can be satisfied both with ourselves and with what we’re becoming.

“What do you think? Am I off base? Do I have unreasonable expectations for girls?”

Well, he asked for our thoughts! My shamefully long and quickly composed response comment is this:

“But…you shouldn’t let the “beauty on the inside” argument hinder your quest to achieve your physical ideal.” This is a clear and blatant example of media beauty ideals being conflated with health and shockingly enough, morality. Has the author stopped to think about where these “physical ideals” came from or how who they benefit? They physical ideals that dominate media and public consciousness today are unlike any the world has ever seen before, thanks to the wonders of Photoshop, pornography, cosmetic surgery and the normalization of extremely, thin, tall white “idealized” bodies to sell any product you can think of – all based on creating an unachievable ideal to drive profit. No one will ever reach those “physical ideals,” and that’s their purpose.

The author is equating “taking care of your body” with achieving “physical ideals,” which is a dangerous message. The idea that one’s health and fitness can be perceived from their appearance is another of those profit-driven myths designed to sell $61 billion in weight-loss aids in 2010 alone, and a 446% increase in the nubmer of cosmetic surgeries performed in the last decade (with 92% on women). Countless medical studies prove that a person’s appearance, specifically their body weight and shape (including their BMI) are an extremely poor indicator of their health or physical fitness – unless they are at a dramatic extreme on either end of the weight spectrum.

Articles like this do NOT help SLC move away from its title as ‘Vainest in the Nation,’ as ranked by Forbes magazine based on studies showing we spend 10 times as much as other cities of comparable size on all beauty products, we have more plastic surgeons per capita than ANY city in the nation, including L.A. and NYC, and other shameful stats. For the attitude in this article to be perpetuated here, especially through the lens of Christian values, is ironic and shameful. This is literally the last place in the country that women need to worry any more about their appearances.

Sticky note or postcard available for purchase!

We have more than enough reminders at every turn that we aren’t hot enough, and that if we aren’t hot enough, we better run on the treadmill longer and buy more makeup and wear better clothes in order to get that way, and that we aren’t worthy of love until we drop another 30 lbs. to look a LITTLE more like the “physical ideals” you are invoking. We don’t need any more reminders. What we need a reminder of is that our perceptions of beauty and ideal bodies – even healthy bodies – are skewed by forces that no other generation has had to deal with. Taking care of your body is a wonderful responsibility that we all must take seriously. But if we do it in the name of looking hotter or to get more dates, we’re being motivated by external factors that don’t provide long-lasting motivation and only seek to propel more body hatred in this world that is being CRIPPLED by body hatred. You might scoff at messages telling women they’re beautiful and that there is more to be than eye candy, but you should also know that girls and women who feel OK about their bodies, regardless of what they look like, are proven to take better care of their bodies through physical activity and healthy eating choices. Those who are disgusted with their bodies (as you seem to be reminding women they should be) are much more likely to lead sedentary lifestyles and make poor eating choices.

We at BeautyRedefined.net will continue convincing girls and women that they are worth more than what their bodies look like. P.S. I realize my comment is shamefully long. Sorry. I also want to note that I don’t mean to direct anger toward the author, since he’s not at fault for this distorted way of thinking. But it takes effort to think critically about this stuff, and helping people to do that is a promising goal.”

Whew. We have to think harder about where our ideas about beauty and health are coming from. We have to talk back when people try to use shame and warnings about not finding love to remind women to “take care of themselves.” This is not constructive thinking, nor will it contribute to healthy lifestyles and satisfying relationships. Another useful follow-up to this type of backlash is our response to being interviewed for a story in Reuters, the international news organization, and then having the story killed because the editor claimed body image advocates like us were “promoting obesity.”

Beauty Redefined does not take those types of accusations lightly! Please join us in this fight to take back beauty for girls and women everywhere by promoting strategies to recognize and reject harmful messages about our bodies! Start by joining us on Facebook to continue this conversation regularly, join us by supporting our cause through purchasing sticky notes and postcards with true and uplifting reminders that “You are capable of more than being looked at” and “If beauty hurts, we’re doing it wrong.” These messages are true, and they will encourage health and “taking care of your body” better and for longer than any appearance-focused message ever will.

 

  1. Katie Davis Henderson
    Katie Davis Henderson12-10-2011

    Wow, this dude’s article filled my daily quota of online garbage and then some. Thanks for your articulate reply that addressed all that I found awful about it, and in a much nicer way than I would have been able to. It’s unfortunate that in conservative religious communities appearance is equated with morality. Besides, I know your organization, and feminism in general for that matter, doesn’t advocate becoming sloppy as an answer to society’s obsession with the thin ideal (although I’ll walk around in sweats and greasy hair if I darn well please – I’m in the middle of writing my thesis, so he can jump in a lake.) It’s time to take appearance out of the equation that people use to judge a woman’s character. Brava you guys, for what you’re doing!

    • Beauty Redefined
      Beauty Redefined12-10-2011

      Thank you, Katie! I’m glad you found my fast reply articulate. Confusing appearance with morality is a really sinister issue, and we can’t remain silent while anyone even remotely hints at it. And you’re darn right we don’t advocate rejecting all forms of physical beauty (and especially not physical health) as the remedy for thin ideal madness! But if that’s your choice – you work those sweats! I’m joining you wholeheartedly today as I sit makeupless in sweats, frantically switching between this conversation and the final paper of my doctoral classes on the ways health and fitness are conceptualized in scholarly research! Very complimentary indeed!

    • Stephanie Argyle
      Stephanie Argyle12-10-2011

      I don’t think what he said was so bad. He just says that we should care about our appearance and not totally “let ourselves go”, both men and women. He’s right. We should care what we are on the inside and outside. Don’t we make a fuss over how we look by the fact we wear dresses and suites to church? Or what we wear and how nice we look on our wedding day? Is that vain and wrong? It is all about balance and not obsessing over our imperfections and trying to make our selves fit into an ideal body type or look that is impossible. Looking nice and taking care of ourselves is healthy, as long as we have a balanced, realistic outlook about it. I am a very active member of the L.D.S. church, and I’m also a Y.W. leader and mother of 3 daughters. I teach my y.w. girls and also my young daughters that it is okay to make efforts to make ourselves attractive as long as we are not compromising our standards in any way. I tell them that they can choose modest, yet figure flattering clothes and still look fashionable w/out going to any extremes or making themselves appear as nothing but sex objects. My motto I teach them is “classy, not trashy”. Look, just because we can and should care about our appearance does not mean that we are soaking up the world’s view or extreme and harmful ways of achieving the impossible. God, (via L.D.S. church leaders) teaches that outer appearance is important, not all encompassing important , but still important. We act how we dress and care for our bodies. Missionaries are given very strict guidelines to their appearance and for very good reasons. When women care by making efforts to look healthy and nice, but not obsess and try to reach impossible ideals, they feel and appear to others as confident, sophisticated, and classy, There is nothing wrong with this . Beauty is not bad, but thinking it is more important than who we are on the inside is. I don’t think it is an accident that when we make efforts to care for our bodies to make them healthy and fit, we also enjoy the benefit of “looking” better. This makes us more attractive to men and there is nothing wrong w/ that. As long as men understand that our beauty is not what defines us. It is natural and we look for the same in men. I agree with what that guy said. Looking good on the outside is not “bad”. I don’t think God thinks we should let ourselves go physically, just to rebel against how opposite extreme the world’s view is. Look how beautiful he wants our temple buildings to be. Well, that young man is right. Our bodies are also temples and we should try to keep them beautiful on the inside as well as the outside, within the standards he has set for us. My husband appreciates the fact that I try to stay looking nice, even after having 4 children. I like when he and others compliment me by saying that I don’t look like I’ve had 4 children. Because I make efforts to stay physically healthy and attractive, for him and me. And I know he wouldn’t love me less if I was 15 lbs. over weight. He makes efforts to be attractive for me, w/out going to any extremes, and I like that. And I believe that’s healthy, normal, and perfectly acceptable by God, whose opinion is all that matters. Not the world’s.

      • Kim
        Kim12-10-2011

        Thank you for your comment, I agree!

        • Annale
          Annale12-12-2011

          Ditto here, too.

          Lindsey is bang on, but I don’t think that the poor author of that piece meant anything so deep. With “your ideal”, he chose a word far more loaded than he realized. As a whole, young adult guys are a fairly straightforward bunch, and I believe he was only asking (in as indirect and tactful way as possible) young ladies to not go around with greasy hair and unbrushed teeth; to go for walks and just try to be part of the cheerful, pleasant people that we’re all supposed to be aiming for. I feel sorry for him, as he sure stumbled into a hornet’s nest here . . .

          • Nora
            Nora01-18-2012

            Um, who walks around with greasy hair and unbrushed teeth? Where are all the women letting themselves go? I find his argument very unusual…I personally look for great and Godly character in a man before his looks, that is what is attractive to me..oh and intelligence

  2. Michelle V.
    Michelle V.12-10-2011

    Okay ladies. Usually I agree with you. But clearly, you’ve taken this a bit too far. I saw nothing wrong with the message of that post~ he’s exactly right. I believe you misunderstood what he meant by “physical ideal” and ran with it. We all should want to be healthy and well-groomed. That’s not oppressive thinking. Taking care of our bodies is very important, and as someone who needs to drop a few herself (not to achieve the photoshop Barbie goals you rightfully rail against, but just to be healthy and feel better about myself)~ I agree with what he said. There is a balance here, folks~ and yes, society has swung the pendulum WAY too far on the plastic, unrealistic side of things, but likewise, in fighting against that distorted thinking, we can swing WAY too far to the other side and adopt an entitlement mentality and believe people should think we’re attractive no matter what we do with out bodies. It’s not attractive to be obese. We all know this. More importantly, it’s not healthy to be obese. And people who walk around talking about how fabulous they feel when they weigh 300+ pounds sound ridiculous. They are trying to justify themselves and nothing more. It doesn’t work, and it shouldn’t work if we truly care about the well-being of women, and not just defeating the media machine. Extra weight on our bodies hurts our joints, makes us tired and causes all kinds of health problems. Let’s be real. Wearing make up and doing our hair a little isn’t some sign of female oppressive thinking. We look nicer that way. Just like men look nicer when they get a hair cut and keeps their bodies in shape, too. Fighting against impossible, unattainable, unhealthy standards is one thing, and a very commendable one. Getting upset because someone dares say we ought to take care of our bodies and set goals for ourselves is another, and is a very unhealthy message to be sending women as well.

    • Beauty Redefined
      Beauty Redefined12-10-2011

      Hi Michelle,
      The problem with this is the audience he’s speaking to – young, single women in Utah. As I said in the post, this audience is literally the last group in the world that needs to be reminded to focus on their appearances. We are entirely with you in being proponents of taking care of our bodies – not in promoting unhealthy lfestyles or entitlement to neglect our health! Believe me, promoting healthy body image has everything to do with promoting healthy behaviors. It’s the only promising step toward battling the dangerous health problems on both sides of the weight spectrum! Do you really think there is a problem in this country with women swinging “WAY too far to the other side and adopt an entitlement mentality and believe people should think we’re attractive no matter what we do with out bodies?” We don’t see that happening on any recognizable scale. On the other hand, we do see 90% of women being dissatisfied with their bodies, 66% of women “disgusted” with their bodies and a 112% increase in eating disorders among children under age 12 in the last few years. When women are taught, through reminders like this over and over again, that achieving physical ideals for the sake of attracting men should be their priority, then REAL health is lost. Girls and women don’t stick to exercise plans or healthy eating choices when they’re doing it for extrinsic motivation – like looking hotter or attracting men. They DO when it’s based on intrinsic motivation – like feeling great after a 1-mile run or getting strong enough to swim 500 yards.

    • Jules
      Jules12-10-2011

      Michelle,
      Again, I understand this need for balance and caring for ourselves. But 300-pound women absolutely SHOULD be able to feel fabulous. At what weight is it okay to begin feeling happy and fabulous? From experience with obesity then losing a ton of weight, I can tell you: feeling great doesn’t magically happen with a number on a scale. In fact, because I still didn’t find the happiness I was looking for, I stopped eating to continue weight loss, thinking “it’s because I don’t weigh X amount of pounds.”

      If that isn’t pure deception, I don’t know what is.

      Women deserve to love themselves and feel worth while regardless of their physical appearance.
      I think of People who have lost limbs or been severely burned. Left never to attain “physical ideals” again. How should THEY feel about themselves?

    • Stephanie Argyle
      Stephanie Argyle12-10-2011

      Amen to what Michelle said!!!!!! She is much more eloquent than I. I totally agree with her. Way to go Michelle!

    • Angelisa
      Angelisa01-11-2012

      Actually it’s attractive in some countries in Africa.

  3. Jules
    Jules12-10-2011

    One of the most unique traits about Beauty Redefined is questioning WHERE our “physical ideals” come from. I don’t know many women or girls who have their own “physical ideals”. Mine included. They come from a media-driven world. As much as I understand where his desire for balance comes from, I think people are Ignorant to the amount of self deprecation or more accurately- self loathing that goes on to attain an intractable ideal. Loving ourselves and finding worth OUTSIDE our bodies is key to attaining mental health then eventually physical health. Very interesting. Thank you, as always :)

  4. Kendal
    Kendal12-10-2011

    Thank you for this post! It is extremely powerful for several reasons, the first being that I often think in a similar way to the author of this article. It is difficult for me, as a young, single woman, to differentiate between what is damaging and what is healthy in terms of body ideals and weight. Of course I want to look nice and feel good about my body, but I don’t want that to be the focus of my life; and I certainly don’t want what I look like and when/if I feel good and fulfilled to be determined by outside sources, specifically media and advertising which have never had my best interests in mind when creating this “ideal.” Certainly it is important to be healthy, but I think the author (and many of us including myself) have started to equate being healthy (and yes even good, moral or worthy) with being extremely slender and beautiful. And that is just completely untrue. There are many healthy body shapes and sizes. And in all honesty it is a true pity that we have so narrowly defined beauty that we cannot fully appreciate the full array of healthy, beautiful people. We have been taught to think, of ourselves and others, that if we do not fit into this unrealistic and often unhealthy mold, that we are failing– we fail to be pretty enough, healthy enough, hard working enough, dedicated enough to this arbitrary standard that has somehow become so deeply embedded in our society and in our own minds that even though I do my best to recognize it and fight against it I see myself playing into the same traps all the time. It has to stop! And while I do not think this young man author is trying to perpetuate extremely dangerous and unhealthy stereotypes, what he doesn’t realize is how much he is affected by these messages the media sends about women; nor how deeply hurtful they are to both the male and female psyche. My goodness! This has got to stop! Thank you for taking a stand! I am so impressed by your organization and your constant work to make change! Thank you!!!!

  5. Michelle V.
    Michelle V.12-10-2011

    (I’ll post this here too for the sake of continuity ;) ) BR: Yes, I get all that. But what you failed to address is what I was actually disagreeing with you about. And that was that this man’s article, young, single, whatever~ was not “distorted thinking”~ he was very reasonable and did not deserve the response he received, IMO. Society’s take on the “ideal” woman skewed and disgusting? Yes, absolutely. Is it important to realize that we need to take care of our bodies and work to obtain *some* ideal (aka: standard) for ourselves in terms of a healthy body and, most often by default, a healthier attitude about ourselves? Yes, absolutely. Society’s take on men is pretty distorted and disgusting as well. They’re not all panting out of control animals who want us to look like pin-ups. They do (the good ones, any way ;) want us to FEEL like *their* pin-up~ and in order to feel good about ourselves physically, it does take a bit of work on our part. That’s just reality and not at all unreasonable.

    And yes, there is a problem, (albeit on a smaller scale, but it is on the rise) with obese women taking on the attitude of “I’m big and beautiful~ looka me!”~ they’ve had tv shows revolving around these women. It worries me every bit as much as the twisted “perfection” attitude model that has taken hold. And let’s not assume that all “90%” of those women who are dissatisfied with their bodies don’t have a valid reason for feeling that way. I feel that way, and my reasons are perfectly valid. It’s just a fact that I need to lose weight and am dissatisfied with the way I look and feel. That doesn’t automatically suggest that I’ve been roped into distorted thinking and have been looking at too many glamor magazines and want to look like a twig. I had an eating disorder as a teen. Some of it had to do with media imagery, but most of it had to do with self-loathing and the chaos my life was in at the time. Too many assumptions are being made with those statistics, so it’s important to be careful in how they are presented. (and the fact that Utah is in the mess its in…there are many factors contributing to that.) Yes, there is a HUGE problem with the way women are portrayed in the media~ my husband and I are the ones up at the check out counter turning the “saucy” magazines around so children can’t see them, and asking to speak to the manager about where those magazines are placed etc etc…this is a topic I feel very strongly about as well. But again, balance. The young man who wrote the article in question had balanced and reasonable thinking, and too much is being read into his intentions. We can’t latch onto one word or phrase, make assumptions about intent and then get all riled up about it as if he did something wrong. I took the article as a whole, and I say he was pretty much right on. A healthy body image is directly relateable to a healthy body and of course is helpful in relationships, not just from a visual standpoint, but overall.

  6. Michelle V.
    Michelle V.12-10-2011

    Jules~ I agree with everything you said, with one exception. When you say a 300 + pound woman “should” be able to feel fabulous~ that is exactly my point. She may feel good about her abilities and other wonderful traits etc~ BUT she’s not going to feel great about her body and really shouldn’t because it isn’t *healthy* for her~ being overweight puts a lot of stress on your body. This has nothing to do with cosmetic issues~ it has everything to do with being healthy and by extension, feeling great about yourself as a WHOLE. I don’t want any women out there scraping the bottom of the barrel trying to find all her good qualities because she’s trying to take attention off of her weight issues~ they go hand in hand and all need to be addressed. Does that make sense? I understand all too well that feeling good isn’t attached to a number on the scale~ believe me ;) But isn’t that the whole issue really? Not just how the media perceives us, but how we perceive ourselves? And don’t we think more highly of ourselves when we’ve worked to achieve something that is good for us? Whether that be working on our talents, serving others, finding strength we didn’t know we had~ all the internal stuff as WELL as the outward stuff too? It’s not a throw-away merely because society sees us as objects.

    • Fran
      Fran12-11-2011

      Michelle, I realize why the article resonated with you. You’re also judging based on mere numbers/appearances.

      You conclude that a 300-lbs woman automatically IS unhealthy, without any concern as to why she may be so heavy.

      I’m 5,9 tall and weigh 187 lbs right now. I swear you’d never guess it looking at me. Nobody who knows me thinks I’m as much as chubby. I’ve got a lot of muscle. I could easily see a taller girl (let’s say 6 feet) weigh close to 300 lbs, and be perfectly healthy (like me…I work out all the time, just ran a marathon, too).

      Yet, we make all these conclusions about people based on appearances and/or numbers.

      Why should a 300 lbs lady NOT feel good about her weight, even if she is, in fact, obese. Maybe she weighed 400 lbs and now is excited about the weight she’s lost. Maybe she is simply happy to have a body, and one that still includes complete legs/arms and every other body part. Why is it impossible or objectionable to feel happy about who you are, and how you look, while still striving for improvements????

      It’s really weird that in regards to weight we’re so merciless when in fact in every other aspect of life, we usually recognize that guilt-tripping and nagging rarely motivates people to change while love and support and optimism go a long way.

      What makes you so comfortable casting judgment on others without knowing their full story?

      • Risa
        Risa12-11-2011

        Word Fran. Word.

      • Crystal
        Crystal01-28-2012

        Fran, I don’t believe that Michelle is judging anyone or saying that they shouldn’t love themselves…she is simply pointing out that being morbidly obese is unhealthy, just as it is unhealthy to be emaciated.

        No, we should never judge anyone without knowing the whole story but it is unhealthy to promote obesity as being OK.

      • Reeshie
        Reeshie06-06-2012

        Completely agree :)

  7. Ashley
    Ashley12-10-2011

    I know what his train of thought is, and his view point IS off base. He seems to think that if women focus on inner beauty, that we are all just going to let ourselves go by rolling out of bed without a shower, eating a left over Mickey D’s burger, slap on some sweatpants and head off to work/school. We aren’t stupid! Okay okay, I know of women who DO do that, but come on.

    [Also I don't understand what his religious belief has to do with this. I don't appreciate when people of any religion make some speech on a certain subject like this on behalf of their belief and make it seem like (in this case) a "Christian belief." I know lots of Christians who would disagree with this guy. I really don't care if he is Christian. I'm not nor will I ever be, and I wish he would have left that subtle promo out of it because his religion in no one else's business.]

    Sorry, I just had to get that out. Back to the topic. I know a lot of women who realize that inner beauty is more important, but they still take care of their health, bodies, do their hair and makeup…but they don’t make their looks their identity, if that makes sense.

    He needs to realize that women aren’t stupid and that he didn’t say anything that we don’t already know.

  8. Kristie
    Kristie12-10-2011

    @ Michelle, I think you’re putting wayyy to much emphasis on women’s appearances in relation to feeling good about themselves. If a woman is working out and eating healthy, and still is “overweight” according to the BMI, she has no reason to feel bad about herself and I think it’s downright offensive to say that an overweight woman is “scraping the bottom of the barrel trying to find all her good qualities because she’s trying to take attention off of her weight issue.” Honestly, a woman can be overweight and have “weight issues”-most of us do- without having to “scrape the bottom of the barrel” to love herself. I don’t think it’s wrong for Lindsay and Lexie to make an argument on the societal “ideal” of perfection. If we never question where are beliefs and standards are coming from, especially relating to body image, we will stay ignorant forever. The best solution is to educate yourself and make that decision on your own, not judging others choices if they chose to reject the societal standard.

    • Crystal
      Crystal01-28-2012

      Kristie, I think that what Michelle was trying to say is that while inner beauty is VERY important, the truth is that society focuses mostly on the external.

      There are many overweight women who are beautiful inside and out…I’m one of them. But the reality is that some people delude themselves about certain things. Yes, it is wonderful to be kind and smart and caring and funny. That is beautiful. But in the real world, sad as it may be, physical beauty will often trump those other qualities. People in general are shallow. Very few will actually take the time to acknowledge inner beauty. That’s just the way it is.

      Some women are content with who they are. That is fine and that is the way it should be. But they can’t complain when men overlook them for somebody more conventionally attractive. Life isn’t fair. And the media, in my opinion, is not to blame for self-esteem issues.

      I don’t see anything wrong with a woman trying to look her best, no matter what size she is.

      • Fran
        Fran02-08-2012

        Crystal,

        your comments make very little sense. You say you don’t see why a woman shouldn’t look her best no matter her size. Ok. No one disagrees with that.

        But who is going to be the judge of “looking her best”. Who decides that someone actually is looking their best? Those things are very difficult to decide without knowing a person extremely well. Yet, we all feel comfortable making judgments about other people simply based on their looks and what the media tells us is socially acceptable/attractive.

        What are you trying to imply by discussing that some women delude themselves? Of course there are shallow people who will not love someone else for their inner beauty alone. Unfortunately though we’re experiencing a trend where a majority of women will not be accepted for who they are because they are not living up to an unrealistic media standard. If you then try to simply focus on the things you can control most, and that actually matter the most anyway (your inner beauty) – you’re deluded? You’re not in the real world? What’s your point? That we should join the circus of our shallow society?

        So, basically, you’re saying we should feel good about ourselves no matter how we look. But those women who do, when they’re actually not perfect beauties (“more conventionally attractive”), are deluding themselves, and shouldn’t blame anyone for not getting a date?

        What should these women do? And who IS responsible for self-esteem issues? If it’s not the media who suggests that we be someone we cannot be (or pursue people who basically don’t exist), who then?

        Certainly, we carry some responsibility for buying into the ideas that are fed to us, but the media image is such a pervasive one, it’s almost impossible to avoid.

        Your opinion appears rather ignorant and self-righteous.

  9. Glen
    Glen12-10-2011

    Honestly, I understand where both sides are coming from. I agree he could have worded things a bit more tactfully, but I think the point of his article was summed up when he said, “In our journey to improve our inner and outer selves, we should seek balance. We should be satisfied with who we are, but we should strive for healthy improvement.” At the least, I don’t feel he was using “shame [and] body hatred” to promote his message.

    I also agree that the greater battle is in saving those whose self-image is warped by worldly conceptions of what makes a person valuable, not in saving those who use “self-acceptance no matter what” as an excuse to be obese or disheveled.

    I’d say more, but Michelle pretty much sums up my opinion exactly.

    • Michelle V.
      Michelle V.12-10-2011

      “I think the point of his article was summed up when he said, “In our journey to improve our inner and outer selves, we should seek balance. We should be satisfied with who we are, but we should strive for healthy improvement.” At the least, I don’t feel he was using “shame [and] body hatred” to promote his message.

      I also agree that the greater battle is in saving those whose self-image is warped by worldly conceptions of what makes a person valuable, not in saving those who use “self-acceptance no matter what” as an excuse to be obese or disheveled. ”

      Amen :)

    • Amanda L
      Amanda L12-11-2011

      I disagree about the point of his message. The point you state is his attempt not to get skewered by people who find his message offensive. The point I got from the article was “Some girls I know tell themselves it doesn’t matter how they look because they’re beautiful on the inside, and then they just . . . well, let themselves go,” and “failing to take care of yourself can easily delay association with potential mates.” Well, guess what? No “girl” needs a man to tell her to think about her appearance more. It’s already being blasted at them from all sides.

  10. Brianne
    Brianne12-10-2011

    I understand what this single adult male is trying to suggest, and partially agree with him. We do need to take care of our bodies. However, everyone is different. For some people, living sedentary lives and eating whatever they want will do nothing to their bodies as far as other people can tell from the outside (they won’t be healthy, but they will appear “as they should” according to the media). For others, exercising regularly, living active lives, and eating healthy foods will create an outward appearance that fits with the “physical ideal”. For a great many and often ignored other people, like me, we can exercise all we want, cut whatever works out of our diet and try to eat as healthy as we can while still living our busy lives for weeks, months, and years, and we will never lose much weight at all. Then if we ever stop doing even one of those healthy habits, we will gain everything back and then some whereas many others can sit around and never pick up exercise or a healthy diet while still being thin. There are those of us who are trying to be healthy and do what we can, but we can’t make our bodies fit a completely unreasonable body type that only a very few can manage to fit. What then? Are we supposed to spend our whole lives being unhappy because we’re technically “overweight” or “obese” according to the harsh BMI scale and the even harsher media scale? What about those of us who have been passed up for dating opportunities because we don’t fit the “physical ideal” no matter how hard we try to? Are we supposed to just figure, oh well, maybe some random guy who’s never met me will eventually decide he doesn’t care what I look like because I might be beautiful on the inside, and then I should jump at that chance because I’ll never get another one? Or should we try to change how people see and value each other so that EVERYONE cares more about what’s inside rather than what’s outside?

    I do the best I can to be physically attractive; I haven’t “let myself go”, but I do not fit the thin ideal. However I have something to offer this world that has nothing to do with my physical appearance. I have an inner beauty that I have come to love and accept, and while sometimes I am unhappy with the way I look, I’ve realized that what really matters is that I am happy with who I am and try to improve myself–inside and outside–where I can. I hope the rest of you women (and men!) will learn to accept yourselves for who you are and realize that your outward appearance, no matter what it looks like, is a beautiful gift from God that is housing a far more beautiful and far more important spirit inside it.

    • Crystal
      Crystal01-28-2012

      Brianne, this is an excellent post. It comes from the heart.

      But I disagree with this statement: “Or should we try to change how people see and value each other so that EVERYONE cares more about what’s inside rather than what’s outside?”

      This seems to be very idealistic. In a perfect world, no one would judge others harshly on the basis of race or gender or physical appearance. We would all treat one another fairly, kindly, and respectfully.

      But the truth is that we don’t live in a perfect world. We live in a society where beauty has been narrowly defined. We cannot change other people’s attitudes. We can only work to define beauty on our own terms, which you’ve clearly done for yourself…I wish I had your confidence!

      Some people will only see a certain “type” of woman as beautiful. Is it unfair? Yes, but that’s the way it is. As a Black woman, I’ve learned to accept that I am not what most people see as beautiful. I have kinky hair, brown eyes, big hips and big thighs. I was once very thin and now I wear a size 10. My self-esteem has suffered most of my life because I don’t fit into a certain standard of beauty. But now I’m trying to be more comfortable in my own skin.

      We can’t change what other people find beautiful. There will always be shallow people who value certain attributes above inner beauty. But we can appreciate different kinds of beauty in our own ways, including in ourselves.

  11. Michelle V.
    Michelle V.12-10-2011

    I am officially giving up trying to get anyone to actually *hear* what I said, instead of putting their own spin on it. Oy.

    • Macey
      Macey12-12-2011

      Michelle V, everybody hears you. Stop chastising everyone into believing they don’t understand. It’s just that we don’t agree with you! Heavy women can feel great about themselves and DO! Emotionally AND physically. It was a rude comment, accept it.

  12. Michelle
    Michelle12-10-2011

    I agree with those who have said that this isn’t as bad as it’s made out to be. I think there is a definite tension in all of this, and I think he was trying to address that — that inner beauty is important, but we can and should also have enough self-respect to care for our bodies in reasonable ways (eating right, exercising) and caring about looking presentable, in a self-respect kind of way. He made it clear that he was trying to address this reality for ALL people, not just single young adult women. “[R]egardless of our marital status or gender, we should all take care of our bodies.” I think that is true, and I think it’s important to be able to talk about that reality while still also being aware of false ideals.

    But here’s the thing — I don’t hear him talking about artificial ideals (which we all ought to be wary of), but rather encouraging us all to know what is our own *personal* ideal. I think there is a difference, and an important one at that. That doesn’t mean achieving some set look or size, or doing things to win over someone else, but doing reasonable things to care for one’s body and figuring out what one’s body’s ‘healthy’ is and having enough self-respect to be honest with ourselves as we figure out how we might be able to do better in taking care of our bodies. It’s no more healthy to be in denial about unhealthy habits than it is to be obsessed with appearance, weight, etc…and personally, that is more what I think he was addressing.

    In fact, I think what he is driving at is more in line with Beauty Redefined’s core message than not. I realize that coming from a single young man, that makes it feel all more charged, but in reality, I think it’s important for young men and young women to be able to talk openly with each other about the good elements of self-care and self-respect that are important for both sexes to seek for.

    Imagine if a young woman wrote in and said something like, “I know that what’s inside really does count, but guys, it’s worth also caring for and respecting your body. All that junk food and TV-watching and the sloppy clothes some of you wear don’t really communicate that you know who you really are and what you are really worth.”

    If such patterns of behavior may be true for young women and for young men, shouldn’t that be something that can be talked about?

    This comment is already too long, but I have quote that came to mind when I read his submission….Will share in a separate comment.

  13. Michelle
    Michelle12-10-2011

    For those who know the name Julie Beck, this quote came to mind:

    “Men, [I will] now speak plainly to you, I hope you understand that there is no worthy woman who will be charmed by dirty laundry, unpleasant habits, or a sloppy appearance. Yes, a righteous woman will love you for what is in your mind and heart, but she would very much appreciate your sincere efforts to display good manners and thoughtfulness to her….

    “Women, speaking as [one] who loves you, there is no magical prince who will gladly appreciate unclean or unpleasant habits or a careless appearance in you. Yes, a righteous man will love you for what is in your mind and heart, but he will be even more grateful for a woman who values cleanliness and loveliness in herself and in her surroundings….”

    “Please understand what I just said. I want you to know that your imperfections and weaknesses will go with you into your marriage and will be magnified in that setting. Unless you are getting married today, you still have time to eliminate bad habits and develop good habits and qualities that will bless your marriage and family.”

    Ultimately, of course, we should all be motivated by our own self-respect to make choices that are healthy. But I think we also have to be honest about how our choices do affect others. I think the man who submitted this comment has ultimately hit on some basic ideas that are good for both men and women — to have enough self-respect to care for one’s body. One can be overweight and be doing that — the point is not the end result, imo, but the *process* of reasonably caring for one’s self. There is a difference in doing it to get love and doing it to show self-love, and the way I read the submission is more about the latter, not the former.

    But the latter could influence the former. The more at peace one is with one’s self, the more that radiates outward. If we take reasonable care of ourselves, we can better challenge the voices that insist on unhealthy ideals, because we can know we are making healthy choices. And then let the unhealthy ideals go. But that will be harder to do if those healthy habits are not in place, imo.

    • Michelle V.
      Michelle V.12-11-2011

      May I just give you a round of applause, Michelle? To both of your comments~ and I LOVE the quote from Sis. Beck~ she says so much more eloquently than I could have ever hoped to say it! Thank you for sharing that :)

    • Amanda L
      Amanda L12-11-2011

      Regardless of what i think about the original quote by Julie Beck, that situation is completely different from this one, in which a single man is telling single women to take better care of themselves. To me, that is half of what’s wrong with it.

      • Michelle
        Michelle12-14-2011

        I know that that is part of the challenge, but I think there is a flip side to this. There are extremes on either end, and I think this guy touched on some of them that I think do exist.

        I guess I just think we have to get to the point where men and women can talk about healthy principles without swinging too far one way or the other. I totally agree with the idea that we can’t use false ideals to determine what beauty is, but I still am not sure that this guy was using them.

        Maybe part of why I am willing to give this guy the benefit of the doubt is because I know how easy it is to ‘let myself go’ — not in a weight way, but not caring enough to take a few minutes to get dressed and brush my hair. I struggle with health issues and some resulting depression, and sometimes it’s hard to want to get dressed. So to me, it’s not outside of the realm of reason that some women may not be caring for themselves as they should, for whatever reason. I think it is possible for women to use the ‘inner beauty’ idea as a defense against genuinely caring for their bodies. That to me is different than buying into false media ideals.

        Still, I get that it may just be too sensitive coming from a single guy. But as a married woman, I still think it’s good for me to be open to my husband’s thoughts and concerns about whether or not I’m caring for myself. We as women have to both be so so aware of false notions of beauty, but also be willing to receive legitimate feedback (and that can be really, really hard). So while I understand the concern for dating-aged women, I don’t know that the need to be able to talk about this as men and women, together, ends when someone gets married. (Not that I’m justifying shallow criticism from husbands, either. But talking about appearance isnt always shallow, is it?) I’m genuinely conflicted about some of this.

        BR ladies — you know I love ya. Your research is so important, and you know I love what you are doing. I know that there are too many young women who feel like they have to look a certain way to earn worth, love, etc. I was one of those young women once. I know. (Oh, how I know!) I just think it’s important to not throw the baby out with the bathwater and consider that this guy may actually have some valid points. Maybe it’s not all superficial judgment. Maybe he has seen women use ‘inner beauty’ as an excuse not to care for their bodies and health.

        Just maybe. I want to give him the benefit of the doubt because I do think we have to be careful of either extreme.

  14. kari
    kari12-11-2011

    I just don’t understand the need for his article. Is there really an epidemic of sloppy women? No.

    • Crystal
      Crystal01-28-2012

      I wouldn’t call it an “epidemic” but I would say that a lot of women don’t seem to care about looking their best.

      This isn’t about trying to look like a supermodel…it seems to be specifically aimed at women who don’t take care of the beauty they were blessed with. All women have the potential to be beautiful in different ways, both inside and out.

      I don’t believe that women should try to be eye candy or fit some unrealistic ideal, but there should be some attention to one’s appearance.

      Some people (this includes men) don’t practice basic hygiene and grooming. I see people who are often unkempt and walking around in flip-flops constantly. It’s just not a good look. I’m all for being comfortable, but I also think that being presentable is part of respecting oneself.

      Inner beauty is wonderful and it is definitely an important key to being beautiful, but I also agree with some of the article. It is only the author’s opinion and nothing more. Women don’t need to be offended by it because they still have the choice to take his words to heart or ignore what he said.

  15. Fran
    Fran12-11-2011

    The guy’s article was complete TRASH! And here’s why. Maybe he had no bad intentions. I’d be happy to believe that. I’m sure he meant well.

    I even agree with the notion that our bodies are special gifts that we should treat with respect, and take good care off.

    The problem with the whole article is that the guy thought he can judge and assess how well someone is taking care of themselves by MERE LOOKS. He has looked at his female friends and decided that they let themselves go based on just their outside appearance.

    He hasn’t taken into consideration whether they’re maybe doing all the things he’s asking for to the best of their ability but are taking medication that makes them gain weight, or if they’re fighting depression, or have no money for fancier clothes, or had skin reactions to make-up or whatever else could prevent a person from looking the way WE think a healthy person who takes care of her/himself should look like.

    THAT is the problem with the article. The guy is completely judgmental. He lacks compassion and understanding that we all come from a million different places and that “ideal” and “healthy” could be a REALLY different look for everyone depending on their circumstances. Yet, he is suggesting, based on his observations, that there IS an ideal that can be assessed by merely looking at someone. It’s ridiculous, annoying, and ultimately very harmful and hurtful.

    The BeautyRedefined ladies are right on target with how they perceived that article.

    It had nothing to do with the actual importance of taking care of ourselves (which anyone will agree on is important). It was just another proof of how heartless our society is, and how obsessed we are with judging peoples’ health, actions, intentions, fitness by mere outside factors. Ridiculous. Simply ridiculous.

    • Crystal
      Crystal01-28-2012

      But you’re also judging him harshly for his opinion. His words do have some merit, even if you disagree.

      But I agree with you on your point about how some people have issues that prevent them from taking care of themselves. Not everyone can afford certain things and some people have depression (I can relate to this one).

      Maybe he just didn’t consider that when he wrote the article, but I hardly think he intended to be malicious or hurtful.

      • Really?
        Really?05-01-2012

        His intentions don’t matter: The impact and the message do, and those are horrible.

  16. Fran
    Fran12-11-2011

    Oh, and lastly, that article totally ignored the fact that beauty isn’t permanent anyway. Suggesting that our looks can keep us from finding suitors only perpetuates the idea that looks are an important component of a happy marriage. I guess in that case, anyone who gets married, and then has a horrible accident (like Stephanie Nilson – Nienie Dialogues girl) has to just give up on a happy life and marriage, because she’ll never regain her physical ideal.

    So, in the end, I think outer beauty DOESN’T matter. What’s it matter for? What matters is learning to love yourself, and your Heavenly Father, and living in tune with his spirit. Then, as we’re close to someone who loves us unconditionally, we will strive to live in a manner that honors him and ourselves – healthy living habits will probably be a natural result of that. No need to try to live a certain way, just so society doesn’t judge you, and you can attract more guys.

    The article may have had one valid point. But one valid point cannot make up for the many poor and harmful points made in the process of making that one good point.

  17. Christina
    Christina12-11-2011

    Props to you, Lindsay, for standing up to the subtle destructive messages, as well as the blatant ones. I’m sorry that not everyone who is against the big, obvious things recognizes the real depth of your message and how important it is in the “little” things, too. Thank you for everything that you and Lexie are doing to spread the truth about God’s daughters. I know you’re making a difference in women’s lives. So keep trekking :) It’s worth it.

  18. Rewrite Beautiful
    Rewrite Beautiful12-12-2011

    Wow. Thank you for such an honest and beautiful rebuke to this author. Well done. Keep up the beautiful work!

  19. Briana
    Briana12-12-2011

    This is exactly why I hate living in Utah sometimes, its the guys like this that are everywhere and believe that they are so correct in their thinking because the media has brainwashed them.
    I’m sorry, but I can be bigger but way healthier than a girl half my size. Hey, i may have lost 80 pounds, but if I’m not a stick I’m still not good enough. ugh. Stop making me want to hate myself because I’m not what the media wants me to be!
    You are 100% right about this guys article. I love this site because it brings to light SO MANY things women and girls need to realize. You gals are awesome and thank you so much for your insightful posts and giving the world a perspective it so desperately needs!

  20. Keighty
    Keighty12-13-2011

    I didn’t read all the comments. I’m super pregnant, and therefore super lazy.

    But not so long ago, I was much less pregnant, and worked with the eating disordered population in Utah. I walked around the campuses in Utah. And while I am a total advocate for physical fitness and health promotion, I also recognize that there is an intense amount of pressure for individuals of the female demographic to abandon basic principles of health and well being to achieve a certain physical ideal.

    I have not interpreted a single thing Beauty Redefined has said to mean that part of this movement consists of sitting on our bums, eating all the candy we can see and proclaiming our gloriousness because we just are, gosh darnit! What they are discussing is the nature of the climate we live in. Should we take care of our bodies and make healthy decisions? Absolutely! But we should do it because we love ourselves and taking care of ourselves makes us feel good. When those decisions are motivated by achieving a specific standard of beauty, the choices are no longer driven by logic and understanding of health, and dangerous choices are made. The girl who jumps on the treadmill because she feels like she needs to in order to get more dates has taken a very dangerous step on a road to misery filled with such immense self loathing that no amount of attention or love from a potential suitor can rescue her. I’ve worked with girls and women with eating disorders. I’ve been a girl with an eating disorder. And a large part of my motivation was because I was told by various sources that I could not be loved unless I changed the way I looked. As I shrank and became more like the physical ideal through this dangerous method, I also lost the ability to see myself as anything of value. When I got better and overcame those demons, I developed a healthy attitude about nutrition and exercise, and what a difference the emotional climate makes when I choose to get on a treadmill (or hiking trail, or bike path, or…). When I am done, I feel accomplished and can enjoy the adrenaline rush that comes with doing something for myself, whereas before, I felt like a failure for not going longer and agonized over when I could start again.

    In short, the difference here is not between exercising and not exercising/eating well and eating garbage. The difference is between what the motivation is behind these decisions. That difference will play a significant role in your emotional health, as well as your success in achieving/shaping your physical goals.

    • Michelle
      Michelle12-14-2011

      “The girl who jumps on the treadmill because she feels like she needs to in order to get more dates has taken a very dangerous step on a road to misery filled with such immense self loathing that no amount of attention or love from a potential suitor can rescue her. ”

      This is a very valid point, and I can see how what he wrote could easily be interpreted as reinforcing that false notion.

      Do you see anything in his article that could support some of the positive things you are saying? I guess I did. I felt like he was trying to address the tension that really is there for all of us — how much should we care about our physical appearance? Granted, it shouldn’t be primarily to ‘earn’ dates/attention/etc. (which is probably where he lost most people), but doesn’t he bring up some valid points?

      I thought he did. Or at least he tried.

      • Fran
        Fran12-15-2011

        Yes. He did bring one valid point (maybe two) – mainly that balance is important, and that our bodies are important and we should take care of them.

        But the way he portrayed taking care of them, and the way he assessed who wasn’t taking care of their bodies was very superficial. That’s where he lost everyone. There was no genuine understanding that the world is sending some very mixed and messed up messages about what IS healthy and how much our bodies really ARE worth.

        In essence, his article just sounded like a complaint that too many women don’t care sufficiently about their bodies anymore. Really? I mean, REALLY???? Admittedly there are some women who probably honestly don’t care. But they’ve got to be few and far between. I personally don’t know a single (no pun intended) woman who doesn’t care about her looks, her weight, looking fashionable, and being healthy.

        What was Ryan really hoping to achieve??? Why mention the importance of balance in beauty when the current balance is still weighing heavily on the side of outer beauty???? If he feels it’s important to address this issue, I would assume he feels it’s important because not caring about our bodies/outer beauty is becoming a trend/problem with lots of people.

        And that, I think, is where he is seriously on the wrong track. Most women are constantly worried about their looks. Why does he feel he needs to talk about this, like it’s something no one is aware off???? What planet does Ryan live on???? Probably the one where he thinks that if a woman doesn’t look a certain way, she probably doesn’t care about her body. Like, if she’s chubby by common societal standards, she must not be exercising or eating healthy.

        It’s nice that you want to give Ryan some credit, Michelle. But he’s really off base. And I’m sooo tired of guys like him.

  21. Prathama
    Prathama12-14-2011

    I am quite irritated by the article, though the calm tone helped me not to throw a hysterical fit. But that’s about it! All that the guy says are messages behind which you can hide your quest for skinny. He is not telling you, you don’t have to be skinny to attract attention, he is telling you how you should try to be skinny without saying you are trying to be skinny. “I am health conscious, I eat only salad and no desserts and exercise 4 hours a day.”
    I know this because I have changed my message in my head from “I want to get rid of my muffin tops to I just want to be healthy” to explain by sporadic dieting bouts! I am perfectly healthy, I don’t need to not eat desserts or be on a diet! I am working on this and this article is most certainly not helping me on my path to having a better body image!
    And what the hell does “We should recognize that none of us is going to have a perfect body, at least not at this stage in our existence. (Or maybe you already do have a near-perfect body. Congrats. You should still keep reading)” mean???? Who defines a perfect body? and how can one perfect body fit all cultures and societies?

    Love your responses. Totally with you on this and so admire and respect the efforts you put into analysing these messages. THANK YOU!

  22. Andrea
    Andrea12-16-2011

    I know there have been tons of comments on this article and I may be beating a dead horse so to speak, but I wanted to share my thoughts about this subject. I almost get the feeling that this guy had some good thoughts about balance and bettering ourselves and put it in a bad context. I think the points he makes at the end of his article starting with “We should be satisfied with who we are” are mostly valid. I just don’t like the context for making these points, i.e., this so called “disturbing trend” he mentions in his second paragraph. My first thought was, is there really a trend happening where women are telling themselves they are beautiful no matter what? And secondly, if that were the case, why is that so disturbing? My gut feeling (and I may be wrong about this) is that these girls he’s thinking of that are supposedly “letting themselves go” (who decides what that means, anyway??) or using the “beauty on the inside argument” as an “excuse” to do so are more likely just trying to find some sliver of hope that their worth is not entirely dependent on their physical appearance. I mean, I really think that women who truly believe they are beautiful on the inside and that their worth is not entirely linked with their outer appearance are not using it to justify any unhealthy habits. I don’t think that accepting and loving yourself as you are means you won’t keep improving or bettering yourself. This brings me to my next point, the idea that “being healthy” and “taking care of our bodies” is strictly a physical endeavor. That is a piece of it, yes, but our society would have us believe that is the only (or at least the most important) piece, and that’s the sense I get from this article as well. It’s almost contradictory, as the author’s first words are that “inner beauty is vastly important”, but then it’s like the rest of the article is almost saying, “but not THAT important! Don’t forget about what you look like on the outside!”. In my opinion, this is the exact opposite of what most women need to hear. I think the majority of women could do with a reversal: Outer beauty and physical health are vastly important…but not THAT important! Don’t forget about who you are on the inside! Don’t forget about your mind and your heart and your spirit and all the things that make you unique and lovable! Instead of telling women once more that they need to pay attention to their outer appearance, let’s take a “whole person” approach to beauty and encourage women to find joy and fulfillment in who they are and in working towards the person they want to be.

  23. Angelisa
    Angelisa12-19-2011

    The man meant well but how he said it was kind of not good. I agree that women should groom and be fit but the way he said it was not cool. And that made women mad. And he didn’t have to mention dating. I had never met or seen a woman who doesn’t look presentable when she goes out. So I don’t understand where he is coming from. I mean some girls go out in sweats but they don’t look gross. Beauty is in the eye of its beholder.

  24. Eileen
    Eileen12-28-2011

    Hi–you are right on target. That guy’s article is sexist, objectifying drivel cloaked in the pseud-friendly guise of paternalism. If he really cares about women’s health, we’ll see him working toward universal healthcare, speaking out against sexism in media, demanding access to birth control, working to end violence against women and girls, etc. We’ll be just fine without his advice to “put some effort into our appearance.”

  25. Angelisa
    Angelisa01-11-2012

    Of course you should look presentable but he doesn’t have to tell us how to do it. We know good hygeine or hygene.

  26. Diana
    Diana04-05-2012

    In my life I have met many men who could care less how “done up” a woman is and my husband is one of those men. Of course I would always dress appropriately for the occasion but if he comes home and I am wearing sweatpants, a pony tail and no make up, he could care less and actually finds that attractive. It has been this way our whole relationship. Sometimes I wonder if there is a big difference between what men find attractive and what the media tells us men find attractive. When I was younger I used to eat and exercise to look a certain way, now I do to feel a certain way. I like feeling healthy, I like having the energy to play with my children. I think this is where the balance comes in. You take care of yourself for you, so you can enjoy your life, not to fit into a mold. Of course I love putting on a cute outfit and putting on makeup but that is for me, not for society. I just wish it hadn’t taken me over 30 years to realize this. As a mother of two daughters I appreciate all the work that Beauty Redefined does! Thank you!

  27. Dee
    Dee05-17-2012

    Not sure if anyone mentioned this yet, but TRUE natural beauty goes against all aspects of civilization. Think about it…we speak of doing our hair, adding a little makeup, wearing a cute shoe….but those heels harm our feet. The shampoo and makeup all contain chemicals!!! Eating today’s “healthy food” means ingesting pesticides! This is what so many men (and women) don’t understand. Natural beauty doesn’t look the way we want it to. Natural means no help outside of what nature gave us. NO fast food! NO chemicals! NO gym clothes! NO makeup! NO bottled water!!! To be truly healthy is to denounce and avoid most aspects of today’s society. Sorry, but this guy got it all wrong regarding “taking care of your body”.

  28. Whit
    Whit05-18-2012

    You guys are fabulous! Your articles are so inspiring! I’m going to ask my Young Womens Leaders to do a lesson on your wonderful store of information. Thank you1

  29. Kelli
    Kelli05-06-2013

    Goodness, you people are tearing this up. Did this man not say that he doesn’t expect any woman to be a swim wear model? Did he not say that both men and women need to stay healthy. This is the longer version of the very common, “I want a woman/man who takes care of themselves” comment that almost, everyone, Yes, I said everyone says. Have you ever heard anyone say, “Man, I just hope someday I can find a guy who is very out of shape and unhealthy, but has a someone okay personality?” No. No you haven’t.You’ve misconstrued what this poor honest man has said. He starts out saying that everyone is beautiful and it’s important to have beauty on both the inside and out. I’d also like to point out to the people saying that he shouldn’t have brought dating into it- that was what the article was about. It was supposed to be a single man, giving his perspectives on what a lot of single women say. It’s an opinion article. Also, this comment isn’t sexist. I know the high standards men put on women, how often “healthy” is a mislabel for skinny or unhealthy, how girls think they’re fat when they’re actually at a very healthy bmi. This article was just take a bit out of context by a lot of readers, and there are a lot of logical fallacies within the response to it as well. Just because someone gives an honest opinion/ FACT that many single men AND women are attracted first to the person, and then get to know them, doesn’t mean we have to claim him as sexist or wrong. Most people will agree that it’s what’s on the inside that counts, however, there is no possible way to know (when on the dating scene) from a first look who is a good person by just looking. Furthermore, part of a relationship is the physical attraction and passion. Look at any dating web site that gives tips on flattering profile pictures, any bar where men and women dress up, hell, even prom. All these things have a physical aspect to them, and there is nothing wrong with acknowledging the truth, that we as humans are not perfect. In a perfect world maybe people’s personalities would match the outside, but that’s not how things work. Back to the article though- basically he’s saying, find the balance, be healthy, love yourself for who you are but also strive for improvement and celebrate being a good person. These are mottos I think most people would agree with.

  30. Abby
    Abby10-28-2013

    Some women try their absolute best to look good but because of the unfairness of life, it simply is noy possible. Those women often say inner beauty matters more, because you can easily modify inner beauty, its a choice. Outer beauty is not. There are some people who are bless, and wake up beautiful, then there are others who try to be but cannot. Being healthy and being good looking are not the same thing. Some people don’t realize that many women DO strive to look better. They are too busy comparing apples to oranges, prettier women who don’t need to put much effort in looking well to the ones who try their best. Inner beauty matters because the people who don’t have outer beauty have to rely on it. Also, when you find love and have children, you’re not going to care how they appear because you love them for who they are..not for how they look. You also love your spouse as you grow older for inner beauty, because that’s all they may have the older they get. Unless you marry a superwoman, beauty fades with age. Inner beauty is one thing that may not fade and always remains-something you can help. The point is, wanting someone because they are pretty is not the same as wanting someone who keeps themself fit and healthy. Inner beauty always matters more because eventually looks will fade.

  31. Abby
    Abby10-28-2013

    And honestly, how are you supposed to love someone who loves you because you’re nice to look at?How are you supposed to be happy if you’re spending hours trying to look good for someone. Would you not rather be spending time with someone who appreciates you for who you are.? There is a major difference between wanting a person of a healthy weight who takes care of themself for themself only-not anyone else, and liking someone because they spend hours on tgeir hair, makeup, e.t.c for a man. I would rather choose a man who isn’t “perfect” who treats me like a queen over a man who looks good but treats me like his bitch. I try to look good. I try too hard actually. And I will NEVER be perfect, or even beautiful. Its just how life works. It sucks. But I don’t dwell on it, I try to look decent for myself alone, I am healthy for myself alone, and I am caring for others as well as myself. Health may matter to someone who is also healthy. Health and beauty are not the same thing. I would like someone who can keep up with me on runs and workouts as well as someone who is kind and caring. I don’t care if he isn’t a supermodel. People should stop looking for perfect people. Life would be so much easier.

  32. Rose
    Rose11-14-2013

    Wow! Much as I hate to reignite an old issue, I have to make a comment. I think the author of the original article needed to be informed about what he was doing. Once you stop reading into what he said, and accusing others of misinterpreting him, his take home message is this – how you feel about yourself doesn’t matter as much as how you look.

    He is basically reinforcing that age old practice of convincing women they should look great most of the time in case a man they haven’t met yet not find them attractive. Or how they should be attractive adornments in men’s lives. Never mind that the world is full of men who all like different things and types of women. We are supposed to walk around, physically prepared to arouse and stimulate any and all comers but adopting a set of rules set out for us by men.

    I also have to say that the relentless shaming over how some women just aren’t ‘enough’ unless they are doing what others say they should wouldn’t be so powerful unless some women were using it to shame and abuse others. If a 300lb woman is happy, who the heck is anyone else to say she shouldn’t be?

  33. Concerned about your brain
    Concerned about your brain02-08-2014

    So basically, inner beauty is what counts, but not really. Worry about your looks, and do it a whole lot. Because if you do not wear makeup and stay thin you are doing something wrong.

  34. Scott
    Scott07-17-2014

    As I guy I’m most attracted to healthy slenderish-medium modestly fit women of decent character, compatible personality. That description describes me too. I see real live in-person women/girls/ladies like that everyday in my daily life. I do my reasonably best to take care of my body per what my indicates to be healthy and perform well in life. Inner beauty and intelligence are equally important as outer beauty and personal practices.
    Life isn’t fair, we can’t always get what we want,.. so do your reasonable best in enjoying a good balanced life. Go hard, and, relax,… balance,… make things happen,… live with an abundance perspective, prudently.
    We are sexual beings,… attraction is typically motivated by the innate desire to replicate with a mate. Who do you want to make children with as a matter of both admirable physical aesthetics and admirable mental character. We are all attracted to beauty both physically and mentally, and typically not just one or the other, but both together in sufficient degree,… though since physical intimacy/sex/replication is mostly about the appreciation of ones physicality(of course along with mental sensations), physicality is generally of higher importance, or practically equal importance in selecting a partner for physical intimacy.

  35. Scott
    Scott07-17-2014

    Just noticed I needed to edit: missed typing a word or two, or letter or two to switch out.

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