Why I’m Ditching our Culture’s Flaky Standards for Beauty

Today we’re thrilled to welcome Bethany Baird of GirlDefined Ministries to The Masterpiece Mom. Bethany and her sister Kristen are passionate about God’s beautiful design for womanhood and have written the book, Girl Defined: God’s Radical Design for Beauty, Femininity, and Identity. Welcome, Bethany!

girl-926569_1280

It was Monday morning and I was catching a quick breakfast before heading into work. I walked up to the checkout counter in my local bakery waiting to pay the bill. The waitress walked up to the counter and stopped dead in her tracks. She looked me up and down, and said in a shocked tone, “you are freakishly tall!”

I stood there absolutely stunned.

I had no idea how to respond to that. I know that at 6’ 1” I’m on the taller side, but I’ve never been called “freakishly tall.”

I decided to just smile nicely and say, “Yeah . . . I am really tall . . .haha.”

Awkward.

What Does Perfect Look Like?

When someone calls a woman freakish, it kind of makes her stop and think. And that’s exactly what it did to me.

In the minutes that followed, I began wondering what the ideal standard for beauty is. Do women want to be tall, short, or average height? Do men like blondes, brunettes, or redheads? What’s the best body type? These questions bounced around in my head.

Later that night, I decided to search the internet for fun…just to see what kind of results would come up. I found that some people prefer tall women like me, while others think I’m “freakish.” Some people love my blonde hair and fair skin, while others prefer darker complexions. Some people prefer being toothpick thin, while others like being more curvy.

The results weren’t surprising. Clearly, beauty truly is in the eyes of the beholder.

No woman will appear physically beautiful to every single person she comes in contact with. Everyone has different preferences, opinions, likes and dislikes.

100 Years of Change

After doing some more in-depth research on beauty, I came across information that shocked me. I had no idea just how flakey the culture’s standards for beauty truly are.

Get this. Over the past 100 years, the ideal body for a woman has changed drastically at least ten times. Check it out:

1910: The Gibson Girl

The ideal body shape during this time period was known as the Gibson Girl. This “perfect” woman was tall with a large bust, large hips and a tiny waist. This body type was the most desired and women did whatever they could to fit the mold.

1920: The Flapper

Only ten years later the perfect shape had drastically changed. Corsets were no longer in. Small chests and minimal curves were. The new ideal was a short bob hairstyle, downplayed waist, and a boyish figure.

1930: May West

May West was the idol for womanhood at this time, and she looked nothing like a flapper. She emphasized her curves and dressed to show them off.

1940: Rita Hayworth

Rita Hayworth was very similar to an average American girl. The ideal standard was a woman with healthy skin, a slender body frame, and a carefree spirit.

1950: Marilyn Monroe

Long legs and a busty hourglass figure was the new rage. Skinny women even took weight gain supplements during this era to fill in their curves.

1960: Twiggy

Long legs and small frame was the ideal for the 60s. Twiggy’s name was a perfect description of the shape that was in style. A willowy woman with an adolescent physique was the new standard of beauty.

1970: Farrah Fawcett

Ten years brought a major shift in the new standard for beauty. Tan skin, flowing hair, and a toned body was the new look. The athletic body and natural makeup was the ideal for a beautiful woman.

1980: Jane Fonda

The athletic body type gained speed and strong women were all the rage. Being thin was very popular, but being thin and strong was the ultimate.

1990: Kate Moss

Thin, thin, thin. That was everything. Unhealthily skinny was the new standard for beauty.

2000: The Victoria’s Secret Model

Tall girls with long legs and big busts were back in style. Tanned skin and flowing hair was a must as well, and rock hard abs were the new goal for women to aspire to.

100 Years of Insecurity

The standard for beauty over the past 100 years has changed drastically. That was strictly an overview of popular body types. That list didn’t even include the makeup styles, hair trends, or fashion preferences.

When I look over that list and see the drastic changes, I can’t help but get a little upset. Instead of women embracing their unique God-given shapes, sizes, and features, we have a long history of picking a mold and try to conform.

That is not how God created us, and it’s not how He intended for us to live. He created us completely unique from one another on purpose.

“For you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well” (Ps. 139:13–14).

Imagine how content and secure we as women would feel if we embraced our God-given designs. Instead of comparing ourselves, we would be free to thank God for the shape and features He chose for us to have.

It Doesn’t Have to Be This Way

Instead of trying to conform our bodies to the “perfect woman,” let’s instead embrace our God-given differences. God is so creative and made each one us to look special and unique.

As I encouraged women in my new book, Girl Defined, “The moment you take your eyes off yourself and put them on Christ, your heart will be content with your physical appearance because you’re living to please him.”

It’s time we ditched the culture’s “beauty ideals” and instead accepted God’s creativity.

To discover more about God’s amazing design for true beauty, I encourage you to check out my newly released book, Girl Defined: God’s Radical Design for Beauty, Femininity, and Identity.

God designed us. He loves us. He defines our beauty. He is our Maker.

 

Bethany Baird is the author of Girl Defined: God’s Radical Design for Beauty, Femininity, and Identity, and co-founder of GirlDefined Ministries. She is passionate about spreading the truth of biblical womanhood through blogging, speaking and mentoring young women. To her family and close friends, she is simply a tall blonde girl who loves any form of competition, drinks way too much coffee, and can’t get enough of her little fluffy dog.

 

** You know we love a good GIVEAWAY around here, so if you’d like to enter to win a copy of Bethany and Kristen’s book, comment and tell us one way God has made you beautifully unique! We’ll announce the winner right here on Thursday, July 21st! Scroll back to the top of the post and click Leave a Comment to leave yours.**

**Congratulations to TARA VASQUEZ! You’ve won your very own copy of Girl Defined! We’ll be in touch.**

The Masterpiece Mom

The Masterpiece Mom

Bringing hope and encouragement to moms everywhere.
The Masterpiece Mom

Comments

  1. I am enough, just the way he created me! I don’t have to have approval of man, even though that can be hard at times & at times I want man’s approval, but His approval is more than enough cuz he has created me, loves me, cares out me. He thought about me when created this world & that is truly amazing!! So outside I might not be “beautiful” in the world’s eyes, but I am learning I don’t want that beauty anyway. I want my beauty to come from within & what he is dong in my heart & from God who PErFECTLY designed me!!! Thanks for sharing this article it was so good!

  2. This is so, so good. I was very tiny growing up. I wore a size 0 or a size 1 all the way until I was in my late 20’s. I am now 33 and just in the last year have gone up to a size 6 or 8. I have become very hard on myself because I know I could eat better and exercise more, but I have been so focused on how I USED to look that I am completely dissatisfied with how I currently look. I was always known as the small, petite girl and now people look at me and say, “Wow, Katie gained weight!” I was at a family event recently and my younger cousin (who has had 2 kids and is smaller than me) said, “Wow, there is no way you can fit into an X-small anymore!” Gee, thanks. I am trying so hard to be thankful for how God has made me. I understand my weight gain is partly my fault, but I also need to make sure I don’t want to lose weight JUST to be “adorable” again. I need to do it for my health, and so I can be active for the Kingdom. Not so I can wear a size 2 again. Our culture tells us a certain thing is beautiful so it’s hard to see those images knowing I don’t look a thing like it. I am praying for God’s hand to be on this area of my life, because it’s certainly not something I want to focus on any longer 🙂 Thanks so much for this wonderful post!

    • Thank you for your honesty in this, Katie! I can totally identify as a girl that grew up being called Skinny Minny and being told I ate like a bird. Can you imagine how our support of one another would change if we viewed each other as fearfully and wonderfully made? To love one another as a glorious reflection of our Father rather than looking to the world to define what we deem beautiful. Praying with you that you will be able to focus on true beauty. For YOU, Katie, are His masterpiece. A unique, one-of-a-kind work of art. Cheering for you, Anne-Renee 🙂

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *